BROWN, Albert William

63087, Private, Albert William BROWN
Aged 25

3rd Battalion (Toronto Regiment) Canadian Infantry
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 26th May 1915

Albert William BROWN was born in Balsham on 19th August 1889 (Linton Q4-1889 3B:507) son of Albert Charles and Mary BROWN (née PURKISS). Baptised in Balsham on 29th September 1889. Educated in Balsham and emigrated to Canada on 22nd March 1912.

1891 census...Aged 1, he was at Nine Chimneys Lane, Balsham with his father Albert C BROWN [22] farm labourer; his mother Mary [20] born West Wratting and brother William C [3 days]. All except his mother were born in Balsham.

1901 census...Aged 12, he was at High Street, Balsham with his grandfather James PURKIS [76] retired born West Wratting, and grandmother Ann PURKIS [76] born West Wratting

1911 census...Aged 21, a hay cutter, he was at Nine Chimneys Lane, Balsham with his parents (father now hay cutter); brothers William (hay cutter), Sidney (farm labourer) and Alec [5]; sisters Violet (domestic servant) and Elsie.

Canadian Archives:RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 1119 - 37 Item 67143:-
He attested in Montreal on 24th October 1914, giving his date of birth as 19thj August 1889, a labourer, born Balsham, next of kin his sister Violet Brown of Heath Bank, 29 Lewisham Park, London, previously in Militia (1st Reg Grenadier Guards of Canada).He was 5 feet 9.5 inches (176.5 cm) tall, chest 32.5 to 35.5 inches (82.6 to 90.2 cm), grey eyed and brown hair, Church of England.

Initially in the 23rd Reserve Battalion (1st Grenadier Guards). Shipped to UK 23rd February 1915, he underwent further training at Shornecliffe before going to France where he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion on 3rd May 1915. He was reported missing, presumed killed on 25th May 1915 and has no known grave.

Du Ruvigny's Roll of Honour has the following entry:-
Albert William BROWN,-Private, No.63087, 3rd Battn.(Canadian Grenadier Guards) Canadian Expeditionary Force, s.of Albert Charles Brown, of Balsham, co.Cambs.,by his wife, Mary, dau. of James Purkiss; b.Balsham. 19 Aug.1889; educ .County Council school there, and went to Canada, 22 March, 1912. He had joined the Canadian Grenadiers in June 1913, and on the outbreak of war volunteered for foreign service, came over with the 2nd contingent, and after a period of training at Shorncliffe went to the Western Front. He had only been in France a month when he was killed in action, 26 May, 1915; unm.

There is some confusion, even in his digitised Army records ( not as comprehensive as some) as to which unit, the 3rd Bn (Toronto Regiment) Canadian Infantry, or the 3rd Bn Canadian Grenadier Guards. His badge here, albeit indistinct, does appear to be the maple leaf rather than the grenade and dates tend to rule out the Guards.

Seven men of his unit died that day, none have an identified grave, all are named on the Vimy Memorial.

Albert Brown is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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