Next of Kin: Edward Brown, brother, Ripley, Ontario
Personal Details: 5 ft. 3 1/2 in., 155 lbs., dark complexion, blue eyes, black hair, Methodist
Although he attested he was born on July 2, 1896 in Scotland, Bernard Brown was actually born on June 7, 1896 in Lurgan, County Armagh, Ireland. Following his father’s death in 1900, Bernard’s mother Lena struggled to support him and his three siblings. In September 1904, Bernard and his younger brother Edward were placed with Barnardo’s Home in Belfast, a charity home for children. After being sent to England, the boys were moved through a series of homes before being sent to a receiving home in Canada on August 3rd, 1906, along with over 300 other ‘home children.’ The young brothers were separated and sent to work as farm labourers - Edward to the Bell family in Ripley, and Bernard to the farm of William and Annie Leitch in Tuckersmith Township.
Private Brown enlisted with the 161st Huron Battalion and arrived in England on November 11th, 1916. He was quickly transferred to the 58th Battalion and proceeded to France on November 29th, 1916, joining his unit in the field on December 22nd.
On June 29th, 1917, Private Brown suffered wounds to his right leg and left thigh as well as a gunshot wound to the head. He was attended to at No. 22 Casualty Clearing Station, then moved to No. 11 Stationary Hospital at Rouen on July 26th. He was returned to England for further treatment, and admitted to 2nd West General Hospital in Manchester on July 31st. After his condition was stabilized he was moved on August 16th to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom, and discharged at the end of September.
In November, Private Brown was transferred to the 8th Reserve Battalion, and was promoted to the rank of Acting Corporal while working as a musketry instructor at Camp Witley in the first part of 1918. On June 19th Bernard reverted to the rank of Private. He was reunited with his brother Edward as they were both part of a draft sent to France on August 18th, 1918 to reinforce the 58th Battalion. Edward had enlisted with the 204th Battalion in December 1916, and arrived in England in April 1917.
In the early hours of September 12th, 1918, the 58th Battalion left the support trenches they had been occupying at Saudemont, France, and moved to Wancourt for a rest. It was during this movement that Bernard Brown was instantly killed by the explosion of an enemy high velocity shell. His brother Edward was wounded by shrapnel in both legs and taken to No. 42 Casualty Clearing Station for treatment. Bernard and Edward had been together for less than one month.