Henry James (Harry) BROWNE MM

BROWNE, Henry James

Service Number: 576
Enlisted: 18 September 1914, D Company
Last Rank: Signaller
Last Unit: 15th Infantry Battalion
Born: Red Hill, Brisbane, Queensland, 8 June 1891
Home Town: Red Hill, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Effects of WWI gassing, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1950
Cemetery: Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

18 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 576, 15th Infantry Battalion, D Company
22 Dec 1914: Embarked Private, 576, 17th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
22 Dec 1914: Involvement Private, 576, 17th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '11' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Ceramic embarkation_ship_number: A40 public_note: ''
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 576, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic (A40) Embarked Melbourne Disembarked Alexandria Egypt on 3 Feb 1915
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 576, 15th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, Landed on 25 April Occupied Quinn’s post from 1-29 May Evacuated and tf to Malta with influenza in Aug 1915
16 Nov 1916: Honoured Military Medal, Battle for Pozières , Published Fifth Supplement No. 29827 to the London Gazette of 16th November 1916. “For bravery in the Field”
16 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Signaller, 576, 15th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, Mustard gas. Burns.
10 Oct 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Signaller, 576, 15th Infantry Battalion, Discharged on medical grounds due to the effects of the gassing received at Zonnebeke on 16 Oct 1916 during the 3rd battle of Ypres.

Help us honour Henry James Browne's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Private Henry James (Harry) Browne WW1 Service


Harry Browne was born in Red Hill, Brisbane on 8 June 1891 and he enlisted in the AIF on 18 September 1914 at the age of 23 years, Service No,576.  He travelled to Victoria where the Queensland and Tasmanian recruits formed the 15th Battalion and trained.


During this brief time training in Melbourne he met Margaret (Maggie) Conway to whom he wrote postcards to during WW1.  After the war ended Harry married Maggie after recuperating from various injuries sustained during including the conflict.


As a Signalman Harry was attached to the 15th Battalion, A Coy part of the 4th Infantry Brigade under the command of Colonel John Monash.



He departed from Port Melbourne on the T.S.S Ceramic on 22 December 1914 bound for Africa.   After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving in early February 1915.  When the 4th Brigade arrived in Egypt, it became part of the New Zealand and Australian Division.


 He served at Gallipoli and subsequently at the Western Front in France and was award the Military Medal for his actions in restoring communications under fire in the Somme.


Diary of Gallipoli Peninsula by Private Henry James Browne


Diary from 10 April 1915 to 8 August 1915

(Pages missing from 31 May onwards)



Saturday 10th April. Left Heliopolis on 10th April at 11pm on Saturday and arrived at Alexandria Sunday morning at 8am dio-entrained on wharf and embarked on the Seeang Bee[1] (#_ftn1) alongside wharf all day and at about 7pm we cleared the wharf and anchored in the harbour.


Monday 12th April. We left Alexandria at 8am for an unknown destination, sea very calm all day no idea where we are travelling. 


Sunday 13th April. Sea rough strong wind blowing am detailed for signalling on the bridge given an idea of the international code flags had some practice also sighted land heard we are going to the Dardanelles had concert and also dancing. 


Wednesday 14th April. Still amongst islands and about 7am we arrived at the island of Lemnos we were met by a patrol boat who gave us orders to another near west shore in outer harbour from this until the morning of 25th April I was doing signalling work on the bridge.  I did manage to get ashore one day after being in the outer harbour a few days we went into the inner harbour and held plenty of ships including Battleships, Cruisers, T.B.D and submarines including AE2.


Sunday 25th April. Great excitement prevailed on board we could hear the booming of the guns every body up early am and anxious for the ship to move, can see others moving out and at 9.30am we make a start for Gallipoli as we were getting nearer we could hear the big guns of the Navy bombarding the forts and also the enemy, what an amazing sight it was to see them we came to the place in which we were to go ashore and just as we had anchored the Destroyer HMS Beagle[2] (#_ftn2) came alongside and we got aboard to be taken closer to shore, then we got into lifeboats to be rowed ashore and during this time we were under shrapnel from the Turks which was very thick at last we got ashore and the excitement was intense after waiting on the beach for an hour we were given instructions that we were to go into the hottest part of the line (a place which was afterwards called Courtney’s Post) and after marching up and down hills and on the side of them we at last arrived to our position in which we were told to dig in I dug a little hole for myself and towards early morning I was  on sentry in front of our trenches watching for any movements of the enemy things were anything but comfortable as plenty of bullets were whizzing over my head and I had to lay still and if I looked at any object any length of time it would seem to move I was very pleased when morning was breaking as soon as it was daylight I doubled back to our trench and then the fun began.


Monday 26th April.  In same position very heavy fighting all day and many casualties nothing much to eat and during the evening we lost our Company Commander Captain Walsh[3] (#_ftn3) who was shot through the head.


Tuesday 27th April. Still in same position fighting very heavy all day snipers very troublesome made a drink of Oxo in the valley this being the first hot drink science we left the ship.


Wednesday 28th April.  Still in same position things just the same as previous in the morning some Turks rushed our machine gun position but went straight through our lines and were never seen again and that afternoon we had to stand bye and that night we made a charge on the enemy’s position but it turned out to be a hoax this attack was organised by Major Steele of the 14th Bn who was known as the mad major and was sometime after sent home.


Thursday 29th April.  We were relieved at 8am by the RMLI an English regiment and we were taken down the valley for a rest we were able to have a wash which we had not had science leaving the ships and able to make tea and have a hot meal I was continually making tea all day and that night we were out on outpost duty it was very cold all night

and when we came back to our dug outs the rest of the battalion were there.


Friday 30th April.  We rested there all day and about 5pm we were falling in to go into a new position when the order came to reinforce the firing line so we fixed bayonets and charged up the hill and just as I was getting into the trench a bullet from a sniper just grazed by my left eyebrow after being there about an hour we were given orders to join the Battalion only A Coy in this stupid charge so I lost no time when we had to relieve the 16th Battalion on Pope’s Hill so after struggling up this hill by the aid of a rope we eventually go into the trenches A Coy again in the front line things fairly quite all night.


Saturday 31st April.  Things very quite in our position all day and that night we were relieved by B Coy and went into support line.


Sunday 2nd May.  Things fairly quite all day and am able to have a good meal on Bully and Biscuits also good rest that evening the snipers very troublesome our Machine Gun Officer wounded Lieut Kessal and that night we were to attack the Turkish positions our Battalion 16th 13th Bn’s also New Zealander’s and some of the R.M.L.I there was to be quarter of an hours bombardment in which the artillery (New Zealand) bombarded our trenches instead so with the results of the attack was that we lost the trenches we had taken and they retired back on our own trenches the casualties in this stunt were frightful.


Monday 3 May.  So after the men had retired back things became quite our adjutant Captain Willis got killed during the early hours of the morn that night we were relieved and went down the valley for a rest 96 hours during which there were plenty of fatigues these four days being the 4th 5th 6th and 7th of May we were greatly hampered by snipers during this spell and had to shift our quarters to a place between Quinn’s Post and Pope’s Hill on the night of the 7th we went into the trenches again a position known as Quinn’s Post or otherwise the health trap we had a fairly quite night although there were some bombing going on in No 3 trench.


Sunday 9th May.  Still in the same position enemy rather lively and that night we made another charge for the enemy trenches which were gained and a considerable number of the enemy killed we took no prisoners we held these trenches until the morning when we were compelled to give them up owing to enfilade fire.


Monday 10th May.  We were relieved and went down to our dug-outs we rested all day.


Tuesday 11th May.  Things fairly quite on fatigue duties.


Wednesday 12th May. We were resting all day and that night we went up into the reserves trenches.


Thursday 13th May. We were relieved by the Light Horse all that day and we were resting and that night we were called to arms but was not wanted.


Friday 14th May.  Some of us went down to the beach and had a look around this being the first time down on the beach science we landed also had a swim which we greatly enjoyed then we went over to see some of the boys of the 9th Battalion after arriving back to our dug-outs we found that the Battalion had gone up into the firing line again and that night a party of the Light Horse and some of our men charged the Turkish trenches and after holding them all night we were compelled to retire in the morning this being one of the hottest positions in the line to hold it being enfiladed by Machine Gun fire from all the Turkish positions.


Saturday 15th May. We were relieved in the morning by the 16th Battalion we were enabled to have a rest during the day but that night I was on fatigue from 8pm to 12 o’clock digging trenches up Pope’s Hill.


Sunday 16th May. There was a party of 60 men to go into the firing line to relieve same number of the 16th Battalion this lot fell to A Coy and I was one of them it was very quite all day but that night we were ordered to keep up rapid fire all night for what reason I do not know there was a good deal of Bombing all night.


Monday 17th May.  We were relieved in the morning by our own Battalion it was quite until evening when the artillery became very active on both sides seen one of our aeroplanes on reconnaissance over the enemy lines it was fired at but the shooting was very bad.


Tuesday 18th May.  We had to go up into the trenches again and relieve some of the 13th Battalion all that morning and up till 2pm the enemy was firing shell’s of a big calibre on our positions but they were all going over he did not do any damage most of them falling into the valley he did put some into his own trenches these shells were coming from the forts inland and also the Goebon all night the enemy were very active.


Wednesday 19th May.  At about 4am the Turks attacked us all along the front the fight was a very heavy one and lasted until 11am on our right they got nowhere near our trenches being wiped out by rifle and machine gun fire they got very near our trenches in the centre of the line but they were beaten back.  Now all this time there was very desperate fighting going on at Quinn’s Post, Courtney’s Post. Steele’s Post and the extreme left at Quinn’s Post the fighting was severe the Turk’s changed again and again throwing bombs into our position only to be beaten off some of them did get into our trench but were killed others laying on and over the parapet dead.  Now at this position the trenches were very close only 30 yards away and previous to the attack it was not safe to show your head above the parapet but during the attack I was standing on an empty ammunition case in the trench firing at the advancing Turks from 30 yards to 800 yards I had fired numerous rounds and scored some hits but my rifle was red hot I was unable to hold it so we took it in shifts as soon as mine was cool I was up and at them again until I was unable to hold it, it was a fight between life and death during those hours and we had won.  The firing of the artillery over our position was magnificent and told me the enemy especially when he was advancing.  They had to bust the shrapenel at the back of our trenches so it would just skim over our trenches and into the Turkish trenches at 2pm we were relieved by the 16th Battalion and 2nd Light Horse Regiment but at 12 o’clock that night we had to stand to arms until morning.  The enemy’s casualties in this attack were very heavy our own Battalion’s casualties being 12 killed and 70 wounded.


Thursday 20th May. After getting settled down we had a good sleep, things were pretty quite until 5.30pm when a message came along the line to cease fire we were all wondering what had happened some thought the Turks had surrended now we can see our own men standing on the parapet and also the Turks who were taking observations of our positions rumours were flying around but after a lapse of half an hour we see a Turkish Officer being led down from Pope’s Hill blind folded and was taken to Brigade headquarters at Monash Valley everything now was clam and peaceful it did seem so strange after the clatter of machine  guns and rifle fire.  After sometime we see the Turkish Officer who was taken down to Brigade Headquarters being led back again of course we did not hear the results of this parley until next day but shortly after this an occasional shot was fired then all at once there opened heavy machine gun fire on both sides followed by the artillery we had to fall in and go up into the trenches as we were expecting the Turks to attack as their trenches were full of men but after a few hours the machine gun fire became less and we were held as supports all night.  The artillery kept up firing all night long after daylight we came down to our dug-outs and turned in.


Saturday 22nd May. Rather a quite day we did not go back to the beach but spent the day in our dug-outs our artillery was playing on the Turkish positions on our left flank and just before dark we were greeted with a couple of jack Johnson’s from the 8 inch guns in the Turkish Forts.  That night we had a good rest but stood to arms at 4am.


Sunday 23rd May.  We relieved the 13th Battalion in the morning I myself being Telephone Orderly seen some of our aeroplanes on patrol one of which was fired at but the shooting was very bad.  The night being very quite.


Monday 24th May.  Empire day.  Things very quite until 7.30am when the word was passed down the line to cease fire as an armistice of 9 hours was granted the Turks for the burial of the dead.  There was great excitement on both sides & did not have to go into the front line. Was on telephone duties all day in the evening I seen some of the Turkish stretcher-bearers and there doctors burying the dead and our chaps also doing the same.  There were several visitor’s come up to Quinn’s Post including Colonel Monash (Brigadier 4th Brigade) Lt-Col McGlynn, Brigade Major Gen Birwood, General Walter and several others there were also representatives from the Navy including the Captain of the Triumph and several officers.  Several of our boys exchanged cigarettes with the Turks during this period and also seen some of the German Officers who were walking about in gorgeous uniforms.  At 4.30pm both sides started again with just an occasional shot I was taken off telephone duty and sent into the front line things were very quite all night on both sides we were relieved next day by the 16th Batallion.


Tuesday 25th May.  We no sooner got done into our dug-outs when we had to stand to arms.  It seems that we were counter mining a Turkish drive in fact both sides were at the same game only we had got in first that settled the Turks little game eventually we were dismissed so we went back to our dug-outs for a spell.  That night things were quiet we stood at arms at 4am.


Wednesday 26th May.  We were troubled soon after daylight with a group of snipers who had made a good position at the top of the gully where our dug-outs were and where sniping all about our dug-outs I remained in my little home until 3.30pm, although bullets where hitting the sand bags around our dug-out one hit a pouch of ammunition on my equipment which exploded several rounds.  There were gangs that went out to exterminate these pests and found out where they were and we gave the artillery the position who soon put an end to there sniping at 3.30pm things were going in order again we had breakfast dinner and tea in one meal.  That night things were quiet we stood to arms at 4am.


Thursday 27 May.  Still spelling and things are very quiet after dinner we went down to the beach had a swim then we went for a walk towards “The Salt Lake” saw some prisoners coming in on there own they were fired on by there mates but they managed to get through quite safe I did not get a close glimpse of them as they where taken up to No, 1 Outpost (The New Zealanders position) I afterwards heard that they were Greeks who had given themselves up so after a while we started for our dug-outs on they way we saw one of our own aeroplanes over the Turkish lines which had dropped several bombs on gun positions then it went down toward Cape Hellis also heard the Triumph and the Majestic had been torpedoed by a German submarine which I heard was afterwards caught also the first issue of a paper printed in Gallipoli it was called The Peninsula Press  which gave an account  of the Turkish losses which been counted and buried on the day of the armistice as 4000.


Friday 28th May.  Still resting things fairly quiet our aeroplanes were over the Turkish positions all evening and just before dark we were greeted with a few shells from the enemy during the night things were very quiet.


Saturday 29th May. At about 3.30am the Turks mined our trench (No.3 Trench) and blew it up. The 13th Battalion where in the trenches at the time and as soon as this happened we had to stand to arms and go up and reinforce them.  It appears no sooner had the explosion occurred the Turks charged our position and bombed our men out of No. one, two and three trenches for each Turk carried several bombs and they simply rained them into the trenches so our men had to retire that gave them a chance to get into the trenches by now it turned into a big bomb fight, bombs were flying in all directions and the casualties were getting heavy our Battalion was lined up from the bottom of the hill to the top and by the Turks holding No. 3 trench they were throwing the bombs over so as they would roll down the hill before exploding it was here where we had so many casualties as one could not see where the bombs were so this went on for 2 hours during this the Turks charged all along the line and were driven back we also got a party together which was led by Major Quinn and they charged the Turks and drove them out of our trenches we lost some men in this charge including Major Quinn who was shot through the heart.


After this we were not getting as many bombs and about 11am things were well under our control again so we started to fix up the damaged trenches.  The Turks in retiring from No.3 Trench which was bomb proof shelter left some men and we made them pris 16 all told in fact they seem quite pleased to be taken each one came out of the trench he was laughing and bid us a good morning.  We also took a big quantity of war material including numerous rifles, bombs, sand-bags and several rounds of ammunition numbering about 20,000 then there was the dead bodies to remove and amongst these there were some awful sights as they were brought out some were terribly mangled others were carried out in bags a sight I shall never forget. About 12.30pm things where pretty quiet again, but during the evening our aeroplanes were out on patrol they fired on by the Turks the shooting was very bad.  One of the planes whilst over some of the Turkish positions dropped pieces of paper I somehow think they were giving our artillery an idea of different positions as soon after our artillery opened fire having an 3.0.0 at division post but after a few shots they gave it up as it was getting dark for observation and they were afraid they would hit our trenches at about 10.30pm we discovered another sap which the Turks were driving towards ours so we blew it up but they did not respond to it I think they had, had quite enough that day that night things were very quite at Quinn’s Post Turks were reinforced by a new division of men we expected them to attack us but they attacked the New Zealanders on our left flank and were beaten back with heavy losses.


Sunday 30th May.  Things were quite during the morning some New Zealanders came to relieve some of our men and at 1.30pm we attacked the Turks again ________ Light Horse and New Zealanders ______ was to _________ the Turkish positions so as they would have to retire _______     further down the hill but as I have previously stated this ___________ enfiladed by machine gun fire we were unable to do so so after sometime we had to retire again this gave (us) a chance to attack as they followed our men bomb(ing) ______ way over so we let them have plenty in exchange ((ours) being more effective than theirs) they soon go _______ things became quiet once again this being about ________ our chaps did not retire until late.  There was _________ wounded men laying out in non man’s land so ________________ and got them in things were quiet for the night


Monday 31st May.  Things very quite the Battalion was relieved from Quinn’s Post by the Canterbury Regiment to go for a spell to a place down near the beach called ____ Gully I myself being on telephone duties for 60 hours at  _____ I was detailed by Colonel Pope (Commander of the 16th Battalion) to go into No.4 Trench with a flag on a long stick this ………………………….


-Remaining diary entries missing-


Letter of Henry Browne to his father Robert Delamore Browne dated 29 April 1916 (whilst in Egypt)


My Dear Father

Just a few lines in answer to your ever welcomed letter of the 4th of March which I received some days ago and should have answered it before only I have been very busy lately so I do hope you will excuse my delay. I am so very pleased you have received my photos which I sent you whilst I was in Malta so I was wondering whether you had received or whether they had been _____ and not received you see they run a risk being sent from Malta as the ship is just as likely to be torpedoed going through the Mediterranean whereas here if they were sent from they would be much safer. I think they are splendid photo of myself for the likeness is so real, I may say they are the best I have had taken. My eyes are much improved and in time they will be quite well again the only thing that effects them is the Lithograph and I am wearing shaded glasses if I have much Lithograph reading to do as it is a great relief to the eyes. Yes Dad really do not know where our next destination is but the only place I see us likely to go is France.  Of course everything is in our favour and has been for some time.  My word that was nasty defeat  to the Germans at Verdun and I am satisfied that they will never get through there for the French have stood to their posts well my word one cannot realise what a battle in these days for they seem to grow more in ____ every day.  The Russians have been doing well as they have taken Armenia from Turkey now that will stop a lot of the awful atrocities Turkey has been doing in Armenia.  Of course we do not get much news nowadays and one has to follow his own opinions. I am very pleased to hear that my experiences on the peninsula which I wrote and hold your ________________ writing to you and if I ever get through this war quite safe I will be able to tell you more about them. I am glad to hear you have written an article on the Red Cross Gifts which I told you all about as they are worth the time to mention as they were very good gifts indeed and were very much appreciated I do not know if I told you about the English Tommy disguising himself as an Australian so as he could receive one of our gifts for no doubt what the English Tommy got was very plain indeed and you should have seen the appreciation he gave when we had got our gifts I really think they were treated very poor in anything like that for I have seen a lot of the English told us and learnt a lot while I was in Malta. I have not received your paper with the Red Cross Xmas Gifts in and perhaps it will come along one of these days.  I have not received Mrs Hewitt’s parcel I am afraid it has gone astray I have written to her and thanked her for what she has done for me.  I am so sorry to hear of your accident in the old house and I hope it will not effect you as you were very lucky you did not break your leg my word the place must have ___able and I am pleased to hear you have got another house.  We celebrated a great day here last Tuesday as the 25th of April Anzac Day it was ___ being the first Australians landing at Gallipoli. There was memorial service held for the fallen heroes in the morning at which I was present and also received holy communion for my safe deliverance and protection from all the dangers while I was on there and after the service was over the rest of the day was a holiday and we had sports to celebrate the day of course we could not have any on the sand as for wherever you look it is all sand so they decided to hold aquatic sports in the Suez Canal and they were very successful and exciting to watch as all the different units had men representing them and the barracking was exciting of course.  There were all sorts of events during the day and canoes and decorated boats were gliding through the water all the time and many a hearty laugh could be heard at times when one of them capsized more so especially if they contained officers there was some very nice prizes given and Major General ___ of our Division presented them the Prince of Wales was also present and he took many snapshots of different things during the sports and in the evening the band played some very nice selections so you see we made a day out of it as best we could of course you would have a better day at home.  The officers presented each man with a bottle of beer for tea which everyone enjoyed immensely of course and we also had plum pudding in fact we had a grand tea. It is not every day one gets plum pudding in the Army so you can imagine what a feast we had so you can see we did not have a bad time after all. Well dad getting news is scarce and you must excuse this scribble as one cannot write to well on his knee I am writing this while I am on the telephone and I will soon be relieved so with the ___ of love to you, mother and the children.


I remain your loving son