No.2805 Private George Arthur Brown
George Brown was born at Port Melbourne in 1885, to William Henry Brown and Mary Ann Howell. They had married in 1883, and had the following children:
- William Henry Brown - born1884 at Melbourne
- George Arthur Brown - born 1885 at Port Melbourne
- Albert Victor Brown - born 1887 at Melbourne
- Harold James brown - born 1888 at Port Melbourne
Before enlisting in July 1915, George had volunteered with the 51st Infantry. This Militia unit was part of the 13th Infantry Brigade, and was based at Albert Park in the south of Melbourne.
George Arthur Brown married Olive Lucyetta Moth at South Melbourne on 1 October 1912. (Reg 2006/1911). Their first child, Amy Mary Brown had been born at Footscray in 1911.
The Electoral Roll of 1912 shows George Arthur Brown and his wife living at 15 Edward Street in Footscray. He was working in the area as a furnace man. The family relocated to West Footscray (then part of the Shire of Werribee) in 1914, and lived in Clarendon Parade. George was then working as a Moulder, and his wife was home duties. She remained there while George was away at the war.
At the age of 29 years, George Brown swore his oath at Melbourne on 2 July 1915, and officially enlisted on 7 July 1915. He completed his initial training quickly, and on 19 July 1915 he was appointed to the 9th Reinforcements for the 8th Battalion, at Seymour.
Private George Arthur Brown embarked from Melbourne per S.S. Makarini on 15 September 1915 with the 8th and 9th Reinforcements for the 8th Infantry Battalion, and sailed to Egypt. After a period of training in the desert, he was admitted to hospital at Helouen on 8 October 1915, with a "bad ankle". This trouble would lead to his eventual early return to Australia on medical grounds.
During his treatment at the 1st Australian General Hospital (Luna Park extension) his foot was x-rayed and the report stated that the lower end of his fibula was cracked through. It was then "Put in position".
On 16 October 1915, Private Brown was discharged from hospital and admitted to the Helouan Convalescent Hospital outside Cairo, to recuperate from his "...compound fracture of his left ankle."
He was able to be discharged to duty on 3 November 1915, and he immediately embarked from Alexandria to the Advanced Anzac Base at Mudros on Lemnos Island, to join the reinforcements. From there they embarked on 6 December 1915, and arrived at ANZAC on the following day.
The 8th Battalion’s Unit's War Diary for 7 December 1915 recorded that "... Lt Robertson with the 8th and 9th Reinforcements, comprising of 245 new men, had arrived at ANZAC and were taken on strength. Water was very scarce, and half of the Battalion was employed all day carrying fresh water up from the beach."
On 11 December 1915, the 8th Battalion was still in reserve, and attached to the 1st Brigade. On the following day, the Battalion Headquarters and "A" and "B" Company moved into the trenches. "C" and "D" Companies remained in their Bivouac. There were rumours circulating, about a possible evacuation from ANZAC.
Three days after landing at ANZAC, on 13 December 1915, Private Brown reported sick. He was admitted to No 3 Field Ambulance, and then transferred to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Anzac.
He was transferred to a hospital ship on 14 December 1915, which took him back to Mudros. This was just six days before the Australians evacuated from the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The Hospital ship Lanfranc took him from the Port of Lemnos back to Egypt on 24 December 1915, where he was admitted to the No.2 Auxiliary Hospital at the Abbassia Depot near Cairo, with a sprained ankle. After treatment, he was transferred to the Helouan Convalescent Hospital to recover.
On 9 January 1916, he was discharged to duty, but he hadn’t fully recovered. The authorities made the decision that he was to return to Australia for a discharge.
Private Brown embarked from Suez for Australia per H.M.T. Kanowna for discharge, and disembarked at Melbourne on 10 March 1916. He was discharged from the 3rd Military District on 14 May 1916.
George Brown returned home to Clarendon Parade in West Footscray, and his former job as a metal moulder. In 1918 their second child, George William Brown was born at Footscray in 1918.
(Reg No. 11365/1918)
George was having problems in returning to home life, and in 1920 George Arthur Brown was charged, on warrant, with deserting his wife, Olive Lucyetta Brown, at Melbourne on 9 June 1920.
Victoria Police Gazette, 17 June 1920 (Ancestry.com)
Olive Lucyetta Brown moved to Lorne around 1921, and began working there as a waitress. In the same year she sued her husband George for a divorce on the grounds of his infidelity with Rosa Bella Grant [nee Perazzo]. The divorce was granted, and Olive was awarded custody of the children.
The Age, 1 October 1921, p.15.
[Olive would late marry Henry Love, in 1922. (Ancestry.com)]
In an article published in The Argus newspaper, Bella Perazzo was named as the third party in the case. The Argus, 1 October 1921, p.9.
[It is interesting to note that Mr James Grant of Moonee Ponds, married Miss Bella Perazzo of Albert Street Port Melbourne, in the Holy Trinity Church at Port Melbourne on 27 February 1915.
Port Melbourne Standard, 3 April 1915, p.3.]
The Victorian Electoral Roll for 1931 records that George Arthur Brown was then living at 11 Heath Street, Port Melbourne, and working in sales. Also living at the same address was Rosabella Brown (home duties), who had been named in his earlier divorce case.
George Arthur Brown died on the 5 September 1937 at his home in Port Melbourne. (Reg. 8164/1937).
His death notice appeared in The Argus, 6 September 1937, p.1. BROWN – On the 5th September at his residence, 11 Heath Street Port Melbourne. George Arthur, the dearly loved husband of Rosabella, and loving father of George and Amy, aged 50 years. R.I.P.
George was honoured at a large service held in the Anzac Memorial Hall in Port Melbourne, (on 7 September 1937, before being interred in the Melbourne General Cemetery.
The Record (Emerald Hill), 11 September 1937, p.7.
It is interesting to note that during the service, his coffin was draped with the same Union Jack flag that had been used as a pall during the funeral of the late Sir John Monash, the Commander of the Australian troops in France at the end of WWI.
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914-15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Service record - http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/
Embarkation - https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/
Unit War Diary - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection
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