Gunner Walter Ernest 'Wally' Brown

Service number 1689A, 1689, NX35492
Ranks Held Corporal, Lance Corporal, Private, Gunner
Birth Date 03 July 1885
Birth Place Australia: Tasmania, New Norfolk
Death Date 28 February 1942
Death Place Malaya
Final Rank Gunner
Service Australian Army
Units
Places
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-11-07
Published in London Gazette in 1918-06-03
Published in London Gazette in 1918-08-17
Published in London Gazette in 1918-10-21
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-03-04
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-12-12
Description

Born in Tasmania, Wally Brown was a grocer in Sydney when he enlisted in 1915. He was in the light horse and the camel corps before transferring to the infantry. A brave soldier, he gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1917.

On 6 July 1918, at Villers-Bretonneux, Brown's party had taken over some newly captured trenches. When told that an enemy sniper was causing trouble, Brown discarded his rifle and picked up two Mills bombs. Running towards the post, he threw one bomb, which fell short, but on reaching the position he attacked a German with his fists and threatened the others with his remaining grenade. They all promptly surrendered.

During the war Brown was twice wounded, and promoted to sergeant. Although married and over-age, he served again in the Second World War. He went missing after the fall of Singapore in February 1942; he was last sighted declaring, "no surrender for me".

Brown was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, service medals for the First and Second World Wars, and the King George VI Coronation Medal.

Rolls

Timeline

Date of birth 03 July 1885
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 26 July 1915
Other units 1915-10 !st Light Horse Regiment.
Date of embarkation 23 October 1915
Other units 1916-07 Hoping to be transferred to the infantry in France, he invented a story of having lost his false teeth so he could be sent to Cairo, where he obtained a transfer to the 20th Battalion.
Other units 30 September 1916 55 Battalion.
Other units 1916-10 Australian field butchery.
Date of honour or award 1917-07 Awarded the Victoria Cross after he captured a German officer and 12 other ranks from a sniper post.
Other units 1917-08 20th Battalion.
Date of honour or award 1917-09 Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for attending to the wounded under heavy fire and taking charge of the section after his sergeant was wounded at Passchendaele.
Date of recommendation honour or award 05 March 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 09 March 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 10 July 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 10 July 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 11 July 1918
Date wounded 11 August 1918 Wounded twice.
Other units 26 August 1918 Rejoined the 20th Battalion.
Date of discharge 1920-02
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 21 June 1940 Lied about his age on enlistment, claiming he was 39 instead of 54, however his real age and military records were soon discovered and he was promoted to lance sergeant and posted to the 2/15th Field Regiment. He asked to be returned to the rank of gunner and this was agreed.
Date of death 28/02/1942 Last seen a few hours before the surrender to the Japanese in Singapore, where he picked up some grenades and walked towards enemy lines with the parting comment 'No surrender for me'. It is likely that he was killed a few hours later. His body was never recovered.