Cpl Hosie Donald Peter Brown

  • Date of birth: 23/03/1895
  • Place of birth: Naseby, Otago, New Zealand
  • Date of death: 12/10/1917
  • Place of death: Marsh Bottom, Belgium
  • Cause of death: Killed in action (K.I.A.)
  • Age: 22
  • Profession: Architect
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Rank: Corporal
  • Service number: 40951
  • Enlistment date: 28/09/1916
  • Enlistment place: Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
  • Last known unit: Otago Regiment, 2nd Bn.
  • Force: New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Cemetery

Additional information

Donald Peter Brown, a 22-year-old architect of Roslyn in Dunedin, Otago, was killed during the First Battle of Passchendaele. He enlisted in September 1916. Before he left for Europe in 1917, Donald completed his drawings as the architect of the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui. In the summer of 1917 Donald was promoted to corporal and was posted to the 2nd Battalion Otago Regiment, part of the 2nd New Zealand Brigade, of the New Zealand Division.

On the 11th of October 1917, the 2nd New Zealand Brigade relieved the 148th British Brigade in the frontline. The New-Zealanders were to attack on the following day. There were three objectives : the first being the Red Line (approximately Friesland Farm – Source Wood), the second being the Blue Line (approximately Graf Farm – Goudberg Copse) and the final being the Green Line (approximately Exert Copse - Vocation Farm). The main goal was to reach to northern outskirts of the Passchendaele village.

The 2nd Brigade attacked with the 2nd Otagos, the 1st Otagos and the 1st Battalion Canterbury Regiment. The 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment was in reserve. The three objectives were allotted in this order.

The attack began at 5.25 a.m. with the 2nd Otagos positioned at the front and thus leading the assault. On their right was the Ravebeek stream, that could be used as a guideline to reach Passchendaele.

Shortly after the men advanced through Marsh Bottom towards Bellevue, they got into difficulties because of uncut wire entanglements that lay in front of the jumping off line. The opening barrage had failed to destroy the wires. The only gap in the wire was at a single point on the sunken Gravenstafel Road. While some soldiers tried to cut some paths through the wires, many soldier went to that single open point, which turned out to be a death trap. The area of the Bellevue Spur was overloaded with German defences and pillboxes. And the German machine-guns mowed the New Zealanders down, who massed at the road.

The other Battalions faced the similar problems, so they also couldn’t get any further and failed to reach the Red Line. The 12th of October 1917 will be remembered as one of the most darkest days in the history of the New Zealand.

Corporal Donald Hosie, 22, was killed during the attack on Bellevue. The young architect was buried in the Marsh Bottom area, near the Gravenstafel road. His remains were exhumed after the War and reinterred in Passchendaele New British Cemetery.