British Brodie steel helmet : Sergeant W E Brown VC DCM, 20 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Passchendaele
Accession Number REL/00985.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Helmet
Physical description Steel
Location Main Bld: Hall of Valour: Main Hall: Defence to Offensive
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

British Brodie steel helmet. Remnants of grit textured finish visible. Faint red triangles painted on front and rear . Small red 'X' on right hand side. Dent on front of dome and rim.

History / Summary

This helmet was worn by 1689 Sergeant Walter Ernest 'Wally' Brown during the action for which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal during fighting near Passchendaele, Belgium between 5-10 October 1917. The helmet is damaged on the rear where he received a blow to the head during the fighting, which temporarily stunned him. He wore the helmet throughout the rest of his First world War service.

The following year Brown was awarded the Victoria Cross for capturing 13 German troops, including an officer, single handedly, near Accroche 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 capitulation disappearing toward the enemy lines saying 'No surrender for me.' He was posted as missing on 16 February 1942 and presumed dead on the 28th. His body was never recovered.

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