Lullaby bath soap box : Lieutenant M A Brown, 12 Light Horse Regiment, AIF

Accession Number REL34519.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cardboard, Paper
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Decorative green cardboard soap box originally made for Lullaby bath soap. The front of the box has a small piece of paper glued over the 'LULLABY BATH SOAP' folding lid. On this piece of paper is hand written : 'Miss Muriel Brown / Beachgrove / Yallah / South Coast / N.S.W. / Australia' Below this is written '-Souvenir Only - / From / Lieut. M.A. Brown / 12 TH L.H / 4 TH Bde'. The original cover has leached through this piece of paper leaving a ghost like effect. The bottom of the box also has a piece of paper glued over the original box face. Hand written in faint lead pencil is 'To Miss Muriel Brown / Beachgrove / Yallah / Illawarra Line / N.S.W. / Australia'. On the left hand side of this writing at ninety degrees is also hand written in pencil 'From / Lieut M.A.Brown / 12th L.H. / 4th Bde / Egypt'. The inside of the folding cover is printed in blue, green and gold the logo for Lullaby Bath Soap, 'LULLABY / TRADE MARK / BATH SOAP / BLONDEAU ET Cie / PARIS-LONDON.' Within the bottom left margin of this design is printed in small text 'V 1319' possibly indicating a batch number.

History / Summary

This soap box relates to the service of Montague Ambrose 'Monte' Brown. Brown was born near Bega, NSW in 1899 and was educated at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill. On leaving school he returned to the New South Wales south coast where he was active in the pre-war Australian Army militia, serving with 1 Light Horse as a trooper from 31 December 1909. On 1 April 1910 he was promoted to corporal and three months later to sergeant. In July 1912 he transferred to 28 Light Horse where he promoted to regimental sergeant major on 1 January 1913. Brown was offered a commission to 2nd lieutenant on 1 August 1913.

With the declaration of war in 1914 he was an early volunteer in the AIF. However, upon joining he reverted to the rank of trooper. He left Sydney in 1915 with the 12th Light Horse, bound for Egypt. The AIF eventually recognised his experience with the militia and on 4 May 1915 Brown was promoted to 2nd lieutenant. He was then dispatched to Gallipoli with his regiment where he was promoted to full lieutenant on 19 August 1915. With the end of the Gallipoli campaign, Brown returned to Egypt with his unit.

Brown served in Egypt and Palestine and on 9 September 1916 was promoted to the rank of captain. In 1917 he was transferred to the Indian Army for a five year engagement with the Imperial Government. During his time in India he served as a captain with 9 Hodson's Horse Cavalry Regiment and saw active service during the third Anglo-Afghan war between May and August 1919. On 8 November 1922 Brown's period of service with the Indian Army ended and he returned to Australia.

During the 1930s he lived in western NSW, and also spent time in the Hunter Valley. Brown served as a major with 16 Light Horse between December 1926 and August 1935. While with this regiment he was a Commanding Officer of 16 'Hunter River Lancers' Light Horse Regiment, with its Headquarters in East Maitland. After service with this unit he transferred to the 16 Machine Gun Battalion.

Considered too old for active service upon the declaration of the Second World War in September 1939,his first posting saw him first serve at the Prisoner of War and internment camp at Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW. After this posting he became the Group Commandant of the 22nd Garrison Battalion at the newly built Prisoner of War Camp No.12 at Cowra NSW. During his time at Cowra, the infamous 'Cowra breakout' occurred on the night of 5 August 1944. Brown left the military in 1947 and passed away in 1975.

Brown used this Lullaby brand soap box to send a cream coloured shawl to his sister, Muriel Brown, in Australia. This shawl is held within the collection of the Australian War Memorial (REL34519.003 ).