Walter Brunton BROWNLEE


BROWNLEE, Walter Brunton

Service Number: 7442
Enlisted: 3 May 1917, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Edinburgh, Scotland, 10 December 1896
Home Town: Armidale, Armidale Dumaresq, New South Wales
Schooling: Liberton School, Scotland
Occupation: Dairyman
Died: Died of wounds, France, 20 June 1918, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Borre British Cemetery
Plot II, Row A, Grave 24
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

3 May 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 7442, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
31 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 7442, 3rd Infantry Battalion
31 Oct 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, SN 7442, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney

From Mid North Coast stories see Links

Among the names inscribed on the Nabiac War Memorial, most of which have connections to local families, one may be unfamiliar – Walter Brunton Brownlee.

Walter was born in Liberton, Scotland in December 1896.1 He reputedly migrated to Australia in 1914,2 arriving, I believe, shortly after the commencement of WW1. The passenger manifest of the SS Indrapura which arrived in Sydney in late 1914 includes a 17-year-old W Brownlee described as a “farm student”.3 Perhaps he came as a “Dreadnought Boy”?4 (See note below)

He spent a relatively short time in the Nabiac district working for Mr John Affleck, who is said to have come from the same region of Scotland, and later with Mr W H Abbott and Mr Allard.5

His real ambition seems to have been to enlist and fight for the Empire. Being very short in stature (barely 5 feet tall) he suffered many rejections but was finally accepted in May 1917. Like so many others he sustained wounds on the battlefield, which led to his death on 20 June 1918.6

Walter was not forgotten by the Wallamba community, his name is inscribed on the Nabiac War Memorial,7 neither was he forgotten by his widowed mother and community in Scotland as his name is also inscribed on the Liberton War Memorial, located near Edinburgh.8

Author: Penny Teerman

(Note: Many British teenagers were assisted to migrate to Australia between 1911 and 1939 under the Dreadnought Scheme which provided training in farming skills to fit them for work on rural properties in NSW.

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Walter Brunton BROWNLEE was born on 10th December, 1896 in Edinburgh, Scotland

His name is memorialised on the Australian War Memorial and Edinburghs Great War Roll of Honour in Liberton, Scotland


3 Battalion

Rank - Private

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Son of Mary Ann Brownlee, Northfield, Liberton, Edinburgh, Scotland