Henry Joseph BROWN


BROWN, Henry Joseph

Service Number: 4753
Enlisted: 16 November 1915, Ross, Tasmania
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 12th Infantry Battalion
Born: Ringarooma, Tasmania, Australia, 28 January 1884
Home Town: Derby, Tasmania
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed In Action, Mouquet Farm, France, 19 August 1916, aged 32 years
Cemetery: London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval
London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Derby WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

16 Nov 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Ross, Tasmania
18 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4753, 12th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
18 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4753, 12th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 4753 Henry Joseph Brown,
12th Australian Infantry Battalion,
3rd Brigade, 1st Australian Division
In the fields of the Somme, stand in silence, in the eternal light of the sun, in the light of Remembrance, thousands of white graves on which, row after row, are inscribed the names of a whole generation of men who, on these sacred grounds, fought and fell and which, through the poppies, still stand proudly and walk in peace through the white cities in which they will always be remembered and honored with respect under the flame of Remembrance that we carry high and proud and under which they are united as they were in life, in the mateship that war and death could never break. Forever young, they rest in peace on the grounds of the Somme who will be forever grateful to them and who with love and the greatest respect, will keep their story strong and alive so that now and forever, they can live without ever being forgotten.
Today, it is with the greatest respect and with the deepest gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme.I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 4753 Henry Joseph Brown who fought in the 12th Australian Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Australian Division, and who was killed in action 105 years ago, on August 19, 1916 at the age of 32 on the Somme front.

Henry Joseph Brown was born on January 28, 1884 in Ringarooma, Tasmania, and was the son of Joseph Brown and Jemima Brown (née Dodd). Before the outbreak of the war, Henry worked as a farmer and met Harriet Maud with whom he married and had a son, Joseph Brown.They lived together in Derby, Tasmania.

Henry enlisted on November 16, 1915 at Ross, Tasmania, in the 12th Australian Infantry Battalion, 15th Reinforcement, and after a three month training period, he embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on February 18, 1916 and sailed for Egypt then on May 30, 1916, Henry and his battalion joined the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in Alexandria and embarked on board "Tunisian" then proceeded overseas for France.
After a one week journey at sea without inconvenience, Henry arrived in France on June 6, 1916 and was disembarked in the port of Marseilles and marched for Etaples where he joined the 1st Australian Divisional Base depot on June 7 and two months later, on August 4, 1916, was taken on strength in the Somme, at Pozieres, which was the first major engagement of the 12th Australian Infantry Battalion and the AIF on the Somme front.
Unfortunately, Henry's war was short and two weeks after joining the front lines he met his fate.

While at Mouquet farm where fierce fighting took place, on August 19 he was in a trench called "Wire Trench", and during the day,German artillery shelled this position heavily and Henry was killed in action,he was 32 years old.

The battle of Mouquet Farm formed part of the wider Allied attack known as the Somme Offensive in 1916. The battles around Mouquet Farm followed on from the Battle of Pozieres which had taken place to the south in July 1916.

The Battle of Mouquet Farm began on August 5, 1916 and also involved all the three divisions of the 1st ANZAC Corps,the Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions. By the time of the Australian assaults the German units defending this part of the line had been relieved by the 69th Regiment of the 16th "Eiserne" Division and the 133rd Regiment of the 24th Saxon Division.

The ANZAC Corps advanced to the north-west, on Mouquet Farm from their positions, based on Pozieres, to the south-east. The initial attacks were undertaken by the 4th Division but by the 15th of August they had been exhausted and were replaced by the 1st Division. The 1st Division continued the attacks towards the "Fabeckgraben" a defensive position which ran eastwards to the farm complex. However by August 22nd the 1st Division was also exhausted and was replaced by the 2nd Division which attacked the Mouquet Farm position on the 26th. This attack advanced beyond the farm complex but for a variety of reasons the position could not be held in strength. Over the course of the month the ANZAC Corps suffered over 11,000 casualties and was relieved by the Canadian Corps, who eventually took the Mouquet Farm position in late September, 1916.

At first, Henry's body was not found and his name was inscribed on the walls of the Australian National Memorial in Villers-bretonneux, Somme, but years later, in 1936, he was found north west of Pozieres, exhumed and buried with honor and respect alongside his brothers in arms.

Today, Henry Joseph Brown rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at the London Cemetery And Extension, Longueval, Somme.
Henry, sir, you who were young, it is with exceptional bravery that you served and fought alongside your comrades and your brothers in arms on the battlefields of the Somme, in the mud and the cold, in blood and steel, through fire and bullets, under a deluge of lead through which you gave your all and your life in the poppy fields and today it is with the deepest respect,with love and gratitude that I have for you and all your friends, your brothers who fell by your side and who rest in peace here, on these sacred grounds, that I would wish, with all my heart , to say thank you for all that you have done for my country at the cost of terrible losses, but with admirable courage for a country which you knew little but for which you gave and sacrificed so much in the trenches and the battlefields of the Somme who were among the deadliest of the great war. Young and courageous, these young men who lived in peace answered the call of duty to serve their country and because for them it was the right thing to do, they gathered and paraded through the streets and towns after left their fields and the heat, the love of their homes, not without tears in a last embrace with their loved ones and, with heavy hearts but full of pride, they joined their friends, their comrades and embarked for France and behind their officers, determined and confident, they marched to the rhythm of the drums, they moved forward with their heads held high and with the desire to do their duty and to fight for just causes, for peace and freedom, for their loved ones and their countries they joined the trenches of northern France, the Somme where they endured the darkest hours of history and the horrors of the war which changed them forever after seeing so many of their comrades who fell under machine gun fire.In this hell on earth, they gave their youth and lost their innocence in this outburst of brutality under which they lived, their heads bowed in the rain and under the mournful howl of the artillery and the shells which fell around them and which transformed formerly peaceful landscapes into visions of apocalypse, into a horrible quagmire that they called the No man's land which was nothing but fields of death on which nothing could survive and on which so many young men were mowed down and lay lifeless in the shell holes and barbed wire under the helpless eyes of their comrades and their best friends who, they knew, would also soon have to go over the top and face the bullets, the storms of fire and steel in which in which everything was pulverized.In this endless nightmare they never gave up, they stood strong and united in the face of the death that surrounded them and awaited them over the parapet, they fought bound to each other in comradeship and friendship, they served side by side with pride watching over each other and shared the sufferings, tears, sorrows and joys of four years of a horrific war that was supposed to end all wars and that is for what these young men fought with determination, gallantry and perseverance, so that future generations could live in a world without war and together, with these thoughts in their hearts, they went over the top despite their legs refusing to move but they followed their comrades and did their duty with honor and loyalty alongside the brave men for whom they fell and gave their lives and with whom they rest today in peace, united forever in the mateship that united them over a hundred years ago.Forever young, we will never forget who they were, we will never forget what they went through and we will always honor their memory with respect and eternal gratitude that we have for them, I will always watch over them so that they are never forgotten and so that their stories and their names live forever. Thank you so much Henry,for everything. At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.



"...4753 Private Henry Joseph Brown, 12th Battalion, of Derby, Tasmania (originally of Ringarooma). A farmer prior to enlistment, Pte Brown enlisted on 16 November 1915 and embarked on HMAT Ballarat (A79) on 18 February 1916. He was killed in action on 19 August 1916 at Mouquet Farm, and is buried at the London Cemetery and extension, Longueval." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)