Soldier's pay book : Sergeant W E Brown, 20 Battalion AIF

Place Europe: Western Front
Accession Number REL24300.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Linen, Paper
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London
Date made c 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Soldier's pay book, serial number 29169, with darl brown glazed linen cover. Additional number 79817 written in blue on first page. Period covers 23 October 1915 - 6 November 1918. Owner's pay details printed on front cover: 'Pay-Book No. 85022; Surname, Brown; Christian Names, Walter Ernest; Regimental No. 1689; Unit, 20 Battalion'. Last page notes Calais leave in lieu of English leave. Comment relates to Brown's actions in ordering a cross to mark the name of a friend killed near Passchendaele in October 1917.

History / Summary

This pay book was the property of 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.