Metal and compressed fibre identity discs : Corporal W E Brown VC, 20 Battalion AIF

Place Europe: Western Front
Accession Number REL/00792
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Aluminium, Compressed fibre, Leather
Location Main Bld: Hall of Valour: Main Hall: Defence to Offensive
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1915-1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Two identity discs on a leather neck thong. One is a pressed aluminium pre 1916 style disc privately engraved: Obverse: '1698 W. E. Brown Reg A.L.H. A.I.F. C of E.' ; Reverse: 'Next of kin S. F. Brown c/o Mrs E. Hill 48 Bathurst St Hobart Tasmania'. The other disc is octagonal compressed fibre officially impressed on both sides: ' W E BROWN 1689 20 BATT C E'.1698

History / Summary

These identity discs were worn by 1689 Sergeant Walter Ernest 'Wally' Brown while serving with 20 Battalion in France during the First World War.

Brown was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions during fighting near Passchendaele, Belgium between 5-10 October 1917.

The following year he was awarded the Victoria Cross for capturing 13 German troops, including an officer, single handedly, near Vaire Wood following the Battle of Hamel. He returned to Australia in December 1919 and was discharged on 15 February 1920.

On 21 June 1940 he re-enlisted (NX35492) in the Second AIF. With 2/15 Field Regiment he moved to Malaya in August 1941 and was in Singapore when it fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. Brown was last seen in the hours prior to the Allied capitulation disappearing toward the enemy lines saying 'No surrender for me.' His body was never recovered.

His name is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore.