838895 Pte. Willis Clarke Brown was born in Owen Sound on June 4th, 1893, to Percy and Maggie Brown.

Coming from a family of three children, he attended Owen Sound Collegiate Institute. Willis was living at home in Owen Sound, a thriving fresh water port on the shores of Georgian Bay, working as a sailor when hostilities broke out.

With the raising of the 147th (Grey) Battalion, Willis joined the cause, attesting to it in Owen Sound on February 24th, 1916.

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. Willis was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on January 21st, 1917 and would have seen action at Vimy. He was wounded on September 8th, 1917, while the Battalion was manning the front lines in front of Mericourt. Returning to the unit he would be wounded a second time on August 20th, 1918, during the Battle of Amiens.

Willis remained on strength of the 4th C.M.R. for the remainder of the war and was struck off strength of the unit on April 1st, 1919. Although the Battalion history does not list Willis as a war casualty, the twice wounded, twenty-seven year old passed away on February 27th, 1921, of unknown causes.

As Willis's death was considered to have occurred whilst in service, his sacrifice is remembered in the Book of Remembrance, located in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

Private Willis Clarke Brown lies at rest in Greenwood Cemetery, Owen Sound.

Biography details and image credit: George Auer