Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Preston, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Valcartier Camp, Quebec, Canada
 —  Canadian Infantry, 15th Bn. (48th Highlanders)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Beck House, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Henry was born in 1895 at Preston, Lancashire, England. He was one of innumerable British immigrants who volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force right at the start of the War. The young farmer was a reservist and he joined the ranks of the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders).

In April 1915 the Canadians were deployed for the first time at Ypres. In the early hours of 24 April, a gas cloud blew across the Canadian lines, between Keerselaere and Gravenstafel. The 15th Battalion got the full brunt. The troops could protect themselves only by tying wet cloths over their mouths and noses. But wet handkerchiefs were of no use against concentrated poison gas.

The Canadian positions were impossible to hold. Chaos prevailed. There was not enough artillery support. Practically all lines of communication had been severed and to make matters worse the Canadian Ross Rifles proved unreliable. British ammunition, where it was available at all, jammed the Canadian-made rifles. Panic broke out and the battalion fled. This was no orderly retreat; it was every man for himself. The losses suffered by the Highlanders were astronomical: 671 casualties, 223 of them fatal.

Henry Brown, just 20-years-old, died at a dressing station of 2nd Canadian Artillery Brigade, between St. Julien and Zonnebeke, from the effects of poison gas. There was no time to bury the young man. The Germans were approaching at a great pace and the dressing station fell into German hands that same day.

Henry's younger brother, Robert, enlisted in the army on the day Henry was killed. Robert himself died almost exactly three years later, on 23 April 1918, while serving with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Files 4

Sources 7

"Private R. Brown (Killed)” (Blackburn, Telegraph, 04/05/1918).
Sources used
"The Late Private Harry Brown” (Blackburn, The Blackburn Times, 15/05/1915).
Sources used
Cotton town, Community History, Blackburn Central Library
Sources used
Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC) RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 1150 - 2).
Sources used
War diaries: Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4911, Microfilm reel number: T-10703, File number: 346).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 158).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 50).
Sources used