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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Harry W Brown

In memory of:

Private Harry W Brown

August 17, 1917
Béthune, France

Military Service

Service Number:







Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment)


10th Battalion


An extract from The London Gazette," No. 30338, dated October 16, 1917, records the following:
For most conspicuous bravery, courage and devotion to duty. After the capture of a position, the enemy massed in force and counter-attacked. The situation became very critical, all wires being cut. It was of the utmost importance to get word back to Headquarters. This soldier and one other were given the message with orders to deliver the same at all costs. The other messenger was killed. Private Brown had his arm shattered but continued on through an intense barrage until he arrived at the close support lines and found an officer. He was so spent that he fell down the dug-out steps, but retained consciousness long enough to hand over his message, saying "Important message!" He then became unconscious and died in the dressing station a few hours later. His devotion to duty was of the highest possible degree imaginable, and his successful delivery of the message undoubtedly saved the loss of the position for the time and prevented many casualties.

Honours and Awards:

Victoria Cross

Additional Information


May 11, 1898
Gananoque, Ontario


August 18, 1916
London, Ontario

Son of Mrs. Helen McAuliffe, East Emily, Ontario. He stated he was employed as a farmer and was single. The town of Gananoque and the Gananoque Legion will be displaying Brown's original Victoria Cross at the Legion in August 2007 to mark the 90th anniversary of the action which earned Brown the award. Also planned is a cairn to Pte. Brown.

Commemorated on the Private Harry Brown VC Memorial in Gananoque, the Private Harry Brown VC Memorial in Omemee and the Omemee District War Memorial.

Commemorated on Page 208 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Harry W Brown is a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Complete list of Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients

Burial Information


Pas de Calais, France

Grave Reference:

II. J. 29.


Noeux-les-Mines is a town 6 kilometres south of Bethune on the main road to Arras. The Communal Cemetery is on the northern side of the town, on the south-east side of the road to Labourse.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

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  • Certificate– Baptismal Certificate
which gives his name
John Henry Brown
  • Memorial– The Omemee District War Memorial is located at 46 King Street East, beside Coronation Hall. The memorial is flanked by a German trench mortar and a cannon with no markings. This memorial, a carved stele of grey marble, lists the names of the war dead of the World Wars and Korea. The War Memorial is in the Omemee memorial park. There is also a plaque dedicated to Victoria Cross award winner Pte Harry Brown.
  • Memorial Plaque– Honour Roll in First Baptist Church, 568 Richmond Street, London, Ontario. Interestingly Brown attested he was Roman Catholic. Image is used by permission from Professor Jonathon Vance of Western University
  • Circumstances of Death Registers– Source: Library and Archives Canada.  CIRCUMSTANCES OF DEATH REGISTERS FIRST WORLD WAR Surnames: Broad to Broyak. Mircoform Sequence 14; Volume Number 31829_B016723; Reference RG150, 1992-93/314, 158 Page 629 of 1128
  • Grave Marker
  • Newspaper clipping– From the London Free Press January 1918. Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– From the London Free Press January 1918. Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– From the London Free Press January 1918. Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Attestation Paper (front)
  • Attestation Paper (back)
  • Gananoque Remembers– Gananoque, Ontario is a small town situated on the St. Lawrence River in the heart of 1,000 Islands.  It is one of hundreds of communities throughout Canada with war memorials which commemorate more than 110,000 men and women who lost their lives during both world wars. Over a  thousand citizens from Gananoque and surounding areas served in the navy, army, or air force: 83 lost their lives in parts of Canada, and in the battlefields of Europe.  Among the dead of Gananoque include a 15 year old solider, a father of ten, four sets of brothers and a Victoria Cross winner. 

Today the town cenotaph lists the names of those who died and  few citizens are aware of their family backgrounds or their circumstances of their deaths. Geraldine Chase of Gannaoque and Bill Beswetherick of Kingston believed it was necessary to collect this information and perpetuate their sacrifices. 					

Gananoque Remembers book is a tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.
  • Memorial Page– John H. Brown is honoured on page 80 and 81 of the Gananoque Remembers booklet, published on January 31, 2005.
  • Memorial Page 2
  • Gananoque War Memorial - Gananoque, Ontario.
  • War Diary– Extract from 10th Battalion War Diary for August 1917
  • Biographical Information
  • Award Citation
  • Newspaper Clipping– 10678 Supplement to the London Gazette, 17 October 1917.
  • Baptismal certificate– Pte Browns' baptismal certificate from St. John's Church, Gananoque, Ontario;  showing his correct date of birth.
  • Memorial Cairn– In August 2007, A dedicated volunteer arranged to have the original VC posthumously awarded Harry Brown displayed at the Gananoque Legion. On 16 August 2007 the town dedicated a cairn to Private Brown near the town cenotaph.
  • Close up of the Cairn
  • Medals
  • Memorial– Mrs. Brown McAuliffe was known as Adelaide or Helen.  Addie/Adelaide  is on Harry's birth certificate and on census returns; Helen is on her grave marker at St. Martin's of Tours, Roman Catholic Church Cemetery, Ennis Road, Enismore, ON
Photo courtesy of Bob Braley, Omemee, ON.
at St. Martin's of Tours, Roman Catholic Church Cemetery, Ennis Road, Enismore, ON
Photo courtesy of Bob Braley, Omemee, ON.
  • War memorial– Harry Brown's name is engraved on the War Memorial in Peterborough, ON.
Photo courtesy of Bob Braley, Omemee, ON.
  • Memorial– Photo of Omemee Cenotaph on which Harry Brown's name is also engraved.
Courtesy of Bob Braley, Omemee, Ont.
  • Inscription– Panel on Peterborough Cenotaph with Harry Brown's name.
  • Inscription– Panel on Peterborough Cenotaph with Harry Brown's name.
  • Newspaper Clipping– Calgary Star clipping
  • Cenotaph– Barrie Military Park, Canadian Victorian Cross Recipient Cenotaph

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