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A puzzle - 2nd Lt. John Norman Brown at Whithorn **solved**

 
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 734

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject: A puzzle - 2nd Lt. John Norman Brown at Whithorn **solved** Reply with quote

I am about to post a gravestone at Whithorn, D&G but I wanted help from the wider "family" please.
The stone shows: John Norman Brown 2nd Lt. Border Regiment "lost at sea in the Great War" but I cannot find a listing at CWGC or SNWM.
I have found a medal card with, unusually, lots of detail - he was a Private in the HLI; commisioned 29/04/1915 and "Drowned at Sea 9/12/17". His brother James applied for his medals in 1923 with a return address of his father T Brown at Whithorn.
There is also a death registered in Edinburgh in 1917 for a John Norman Brown - but it is a completely different guy!
Any Ideas?
Kenneth


Last edited by kenmorrison on Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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spoons



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 1788
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very strange - I have spent nearly an hour on this now with all my tricks on SDGW, CWGC and the search engines, SNWM etc and found nothing. Only the gravestone and the MIC to prove that he ever existed.

It seems to me that there are only 2 possibilities; either he is uncommemorated by CWGC or he was discharged from the Army and his death by drowning was not attributable to military service (seems unlikely).

I think the best way forward with this is to post a query on GWF with a scan of the MIC to show the detail that we have.

\Paul
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Adam Brown



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 722
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This webpage seems to record ships lost through enemy action on 9.12.17

http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~treevecwll/partidge01.htm

There is no John Brown listed.

Adam
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spoons



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 1788
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But if he was just lost overboard during a storm for example or ship resupply then it wouldn't be listed.

I found him in the 1901 census living in Whithorn age 4 with parents Thomas (a draper) and Jane and siblings Ethel (9) and James (2) but strangely he is not listed on the Whithorn war memorial or any other local memorial that I have checked.

I have a hard copy of Officers who died in the great war and he is not listed under Border Regt.

No sign of John Norman Brown anywhere in London Gazette and no John Brown Border Regiment either.

I am trying to imagine a set of circumstances that fit the known records. Without a gazette entry, it is difficult to accept that he was actually commissioned and without an entry on a local memorial or in SDGW or CWGC difficult to accept that he died in the war. So perhaps never commissioned and just went missing never to turn up and 'lost at sea' was the explanation the father chose? Is it possible that the MIC was updated from information provided by the brother when he claimed the medals?

I don't mean to be disrespectful or suggest this as fact, but merely a line of enquiry that is about all I can think that seems to fit the known facts.

\Paul
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 734

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:17 pm    Post subject: 2nd Lt. J N Brown Reply with quote

I have received the following from the Border Regiment Museum

Dear Mr. Morrison,

Thank you for your email. After some extensive research I am no further forward with the mystery that is John Norman Brown. I will run through a few point I have covered: We only have one J. Brown commissioned into the 8th Battalion of the Border Regiment on the day your man was commissioned. In fact there is only one J.Brown commissioned throughout the war. Unfortunately the Army List only gives initials and not full christian names. The J. Brown in 8 Border was taken prisoner of war in May 1918 and repatriated after war. There are no merchant ships being sunk on the day he was supposed to be drowned. There are no hospital ships being sunk on the day in question. There is a possiblity that the J. Brown taken POW and your John Brown are different people but I feel that this needs more investigation and possibly a pamphlet put together on what is a quite intriging question, if only to get him the recognision he deserves if in fact he did drown on active service. I am intrigued to follow this up as soon as I can get more time.





Yours sincerely

Tony Goddard

Assistant Curator/Head of Research


Curiouser and curiouser Confused

Kenneth
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DerekR



Joined: 04 Oct 2007
Posts: 809
Location: Hawick

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone thought to check if his service record exists at the PRO as if he was a 2nd Lt. then it should still be there?
His surname may mean a lengthy search though.
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 734

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:28 pm    Post subject: Lt John Norman Brown - puzzle resolved Reply with quote

Well done Paul, you were right about Lt Brown drowning after his discharge.

The Galloway Gazette of 5 January 1918 reports that John Norman Brown had been lost at sea, travelling to a job in Burma, when his ship was torpedoed off Penzance.
He had been commisioned as a Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion of the Border Regiment and was severley wounded in May 1916 at Vimy Ridge.
After 15 months of treatment for his wounds and shell shock he was discharged as unfit for active service.

He was, I think, on board the P&O steamer Nyanza, sailing from London to Calcutta, when it was damaged by a torpedo from U53 10 miles off the Lizard. There were 49 casualties.

Kenneth
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spoons



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 1788
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one more puzzle solved, thanks for letting us know.

\Paul
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DerekR



Joined: 04 Oct 2007
Posts: 809
Location: Hawick

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey,
Well done on tracking this man down.
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David McNay
Site Admin


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 1556
Location: Lanarkshire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, a man not meeting the criteria for CWGC inclusion, but still remembered here.
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