Frank Alfred Brown

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Valetta, Malta, Crown Colony of Malta

General information

Last known residence:
60 Epping Road, Double Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Roman Catholic

Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
 —  Australian Light Trench Mortar, 5th Bty.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Rijselstraat, Ypres, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Ypres Reservoir Cemetery
Plot: I
Row: D
Grave: 71

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Frank Alfred Brown, a former clerk, was born in November 1887 on Malta. On 16 October 1916 he enlisted at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Frank Alfred served as a Gunner in the X5A Medium Trench Mortar Battery, part of the 5th Australian Brigade, of the 2nd Australian Division.

On 24 august 1917 V5A Heavy Trench Mortar and X5A Medium Trench Mortar Batteries brought a heavy trench mortar in position near Grey Ruin on the Frezenberg Ridge (28.D.25.b.6.8). This gun was set up to engage the Borry Farm and Beck House strongholds, about 1 kilometre east of the gun position. In the following days both batteries were moving ammunition from Stanley Dump, east of Vlamertinge, to the mortar on the other side of Ypres.

On the night between the 4th and 5th of September 1917 disaster struck. A party was returning back to camp after carrying ammunition to the heavy trench mortar on the Frezenberg Ridge. They had reached the ruined Post Office in Ypres when suddenly, a German shell landed amid the party, killing and wounding multiple men.

Brown Frank Alfred, aged 31, was one of the men killed on September 5, 1917. Gunner William John Hart, a friend of Frank, described the scene to the Australian Red Cross in December 1918. Gunner Hart was just 30 yards from Frank when the shell exploded, killing him instantly. He helped to lift him into an ambulance and observed no physical marks on Franks body, concluding that he was killed by the concussion of the explosion. Gunner Brown is buried at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, plot I, row D, grave 71.

Sources 6

5th Australian Divisional Trench Mortar Officer (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 13/93/14).
Sources used
5th Infantry Brigade (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/5/27).
Sources used
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), RCDIG1064166).
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
Sources used
Unit embarkation nominal rolls, 1914-18 War (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM8).
Sources used
X5A Medium Trench Mortar Battery (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), 13/104/3).
Sources used

More information 3