PTE JOHN G BROWN 2ND A.&.S.H.
S/19526 Private John Gardner Brown
2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
died 17th April 1918
Tyne Cot Memorial
St Machar's Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir
Son of Gardner Brown and Margaret McLoughlin
Ladebank Terrace, Bridge of Weir
John Gardner Brown was born on 17th April 1898 in Haskell Street, Beverly, Massachusetts, USA, the second of seven surviving children of at least ten born to Gardner Brown, originally from Ardrossan, Ayrshire and Margaret McLoughlin, from Greenock, who had married in Boston, USA on 19th November 1891. Gardner (24) was then working as a gardener, and Margaret (24) a parlourmaid. John Brown was a first cousin of Walter Ian Brown, sharing paternal grandparents, Robert Brown and Helen Wallace Arnot who had married in Saltcoats in 1854. Both families were to follow an unusually peripatetic life for the time.
Gardner and Margaret spent the early part of their married life in Boston and Gardner later found work as a waiter. They had four children in the USA, including John, but two died in infancy. The family returned to Scotland after John was born.
In 1901 Gardner (32), Margaret (33), and three of their children Helen, John and Alick, were living in 3 Bryson Street, Falkirk, Stirlingshire. Gardner was a shop assistant.
In 1911, the Brown family, now nine in total, had moved to Bridge of Weir and occupied a 2-roomed house in Kilmacolm Road. Gardner was a jobbing gardener and eldest daughter Helen was a bobbin carrier at a cotton thread mill. The other children, including John G (13) were at school except for young George who was below school age.
Sometime later, the family moved to Ladebank Terrace, Bridge of Weir.
Private Brown's Medal Index Card does not record when he first joined the theatre of war but he was not awarded the 1914-15 Star. He was enlisted into the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders which from November 1915 formed part of 98th Brigade in the 33rd Division.
In 1918 the Division was holding part of the front line in the Ypres Salient when the Germans launched the second wave of their Spring Offensive in Flanders, codenamed "Georgette", with the objective of capturing Ypres. This resulted in the Battle of the Lys. As part of that, the 33rd Division resisted the German Fourth Army's attack on Kemmel Ridge between 17th and 19th April. The Germans were repulsed but John Brown was killed on the first day of the battle, and his body was never recovered. He was killed on his 20th birthday.
His name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial which commemorates nearly 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom and New Zealand who died in the Ypres Salient after 16 August 1917 and whose graves are not known.
|Births/Deaths USA||1901 Census||1911 Census||Birthplace|
|Annie Wallace 17.8.1892-10.8.1895||Boston, USA|
|Helen b 12.2.1894||Helen||7||Helen||17||Boston, USA|
|Robert J 5.6.1896-21.2.1897||Boston, USA|
|Alick||8 mo||Alexr J||10||Falkirk, Stirlingshire|
|Francis W||9||Falkirk, Stirlingshire|
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Scottish National War Memorial
- Personal communication from John Gardner Brown's great nephew. 30th December 2014.
- Gardner Brown birth certificate. 29 May 1869, Arran Lane, Ardrossan. Regd 14 June 1869, New Ardrossan, Ayr
- Passenger List for ..... .... 1897
- Gardner Brown and Margaret McLoughlin marriage registration. 19 Nov 1891; Boston, USA
- Gardner Brown and Margaret McLoughlin marriage certificate. 19 Nov 1891; Boston, USA
- Annie Wallace Brown birth registration. 17 Aug 1892; 7 Delle Street, Boston, USA
- Helen Brown birth registration. 12 Feb 1894; 56 Northfield Street, Boston, USA
- Annie W Brown death registration. 10 Aug 1895; Acute Meningitis; 16 Cottage Street, Boston, USA
- Robert J Brown birth registration. 5 Jun 1896; 7 Scottis Street, Boston, USA
- Robert J Brown death registration. 21 Feb 1897; Bronchitis; 7 Scottis Street, Boston, USA
- [John Gardner] Brown birth registration. 17 Apr 1898; Hackell Street, Beverly, Massachusetts, USA
- 1901 UK Census: Parish: Falkirk; ED:14; Page:18; Line: 19; Roll: CSSCT1901_156
- 1911 UK Census: Parish: Houston and Killellan. Ward: Houston West; Page 21; lines 9-17. 559/0B 001/00 021.
- War Diaries. 2nd Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. WO-95-2426-2. National Archives
April 1918. Appendix. An account of the operations of 2/Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders during the period 16-20th April 1918.
Reference Map - Sheet 27 S.E. 1/20,000.
On the morning of the 16th inst., the Battalion was located in Divisional Reserve in billets in the neighbourhood of ST.JANS CAPPEL.
At 11 a.m. it was reported that the enemy had captured METEREN and were pushing northwards up the METEREN - FONTAINE HOUCK Road, and one Company ("A" Coy.) were sent up to occupy the red line which crossed this road south of LES QUATRE FILS AYMON, running due east and west.
AT 1 p.m. the remainder of the Battalion was ordered to move to the neighbourhood of FONTAINE HOUCK in order to be ready to cope with the situation, should anything further occur.
By 3.30 p.m. the battalion had taken up these positions and the men were digging in.
The situation which had hitherto been obscure appeared now to be as follows:-
The enemy were holding METEREN village itself, but his onrush had been stemmed by elements of the 2nd. New Zealand Entrenching Battalion, assisted by the 1st. Middlesex Regiment who were holding the high ground in the neighbourhood of METEREN WIND MILL. On their left, the METEREN SWITCH was still intact and garrisoned by the 5th Tank Battalion and the 18th. Middlesex Regiment (Pioneer).
At 10 p.m. orders were received to move up and take over the METEREN SWITCH from the WIND MILL to SLAUVENMANDT. This was done by 2 a.m. on the 17th inst., the dispositions being as follows: -
Right Company - "B" Coy.
Right Centre - "D" Coy.
Left Centre - "A" Coy.
Left Company - "C" Coy.
(On the 19th. inst. "C" Coy. moved forward about 800 yards and took over the portion of the front line from a Battalion under the orders of the 49th. Division and linked up with "A" Coy's left in this new area).
25 Lewis Guns of the 5th. Tank Battalion remained in the line to strengthen it. 2 Coys. less 2 Platoons of the 2nd. New Zealand Entrenching Battalion held the WIND MILL and the ground in its immediate vicinity. Battalion H.Q. were lcoated at X.10.b.4.9.
The 33rd. Divisional Composite Battalion and the 9th. Corp Cyclists were in reserve in somewhat indefinite positions termed the Red Line north of LES QUATRE FILS AYMON and FONTAINE HOUCK.
At about 9 a.m. the enemy placed a fairly heavy barrage along our front line which was especially intense in the neighbourhood of the WIND MILL and on "A" Company's front which formed a somewhat acute salient in the centre of the line.
At about 9.30 a.m. the enemy attacked "A" Company, advancing until forced to deploy in 2 lines, in column, from the neighbourhood of certain hedges in X.17.a. A strong volume of Lewis Gun and well directed rifle fire was immediately brought to bear upon them, and they were forced to extend and lie down.
2 Machine Guns were at once pushed out to support the attack, but were effectively dealt with and driven in by our Lewis Gun fire.
The enemy attempted once or twice more to advance but was firmly held and suuffered heavy casualties.
Eventually at about 10.30 a.m. he abandoned the attack and the survivors withdrew.
Our casualties during the attack were 1 O.R. wounded. The remainder of the day passed quietly but enemy snipers and machine guns were very active.
On the 19th. after numerous contradictory orders the Battalion was eventually relieved - "B" "D" & "A" Coys. by 2 Coys, 11th. Battalion 1st. Australian Division, and "C Coy. by 1 Coy. 5th. Scottish Rifles, and on relief withdrew for the night to billets in BOESCHEPE.
The casualties during these 4 days were 1 Officer (2/Lt. J.H.Carmichael) slightly wounded, 10 O.Rs. killed, and 40 O.Rs. wounded.
It is to be noted that throughout the afternoon of the 17th. and the whole day of the 18th. our artillery persistently fired into our own front line in spite of continual and repeated requests to cease, and this was not rectified until the morning of the 19th. No casualties were incurred in the Battalion as a result of this but a number of men in the 5th Tank Battalion were wounded.
(Sgd.) G. W. MUIR. LIEUTENANT-COLONEL, COMMANDING, 2nd BATTALION ARGYLL & SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS. 22.4.18.
- Medals: Victory, British War.
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