838774 Pte. Alfred Elias Brown was born on February 9th, 1897, in Toronto, Ontario. Moving to Sullivan Township he was living with the his relatives, the McNab's and working on their farm near the hamlet of Marmion, Grey County, when hostilities began.


With the raising of the 147th (Grey) Battalion Alfred joined the cause, attesting to it in Owen Sound on February 4th, 1916 and was assigned to "A" Company.


Billeted locally over the winter, the 147th Battalion mobilized in Owen Sound in the spring of 1916 and left for training at Camp Niagara. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June.


In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain on November 14th, 1916, on the S.S. Olympic, a sister ship to the Titanic.


On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. Alfred was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on March 7th, 1917 and would have seen action at the Battle of Arras, that saw the Canadian Corps storm Vimy Ridge.


Later that same year Alfred was killed, on October 26th, 1917, during the opening day of the Canadian Corps assault at the Third Battle of Ypres, in a battle known simply as Passchendaele.


Like so many victims of that battle Private Alfred Elias Brown has no known grave and his sacrifice is remembered on Panel 32 of the Menin Gate Memorial, in Ieper, Belgium (please click on the image, right, to see a larger version of Alfred's entry on Panel 32).






Biography details credit: George Auer


Menin Gate, Panel 32 image courtesy of 4cmr.com