The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Brown
First Name:
James
Nick Name:
Jim
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX17754
Classification:
(acted as Clerk, advanced Headquarters Orderly Room)
Company:
Battalion Headquarters
Enlisted:
8.10.1941
DOB:
22.04.1921
Place of Birth:
Brown Hill, Victoria
Father's Name:
James Reed Brown
Mothers's Name:
Mabel Wilson Brown
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Trainee Teacher
Memorial:
Epitaph, Singapore Memorial, Column 135, Age 20.
Cause of Death:
Executed by a Japanese firing squad
Place of Death:
Not Known
Date of Death:
19.02.1942

General Description

James Brown enlisted 8 October 1941.  As one of the reinforcements for 2/4th MGB he boarded ‘Aquitania’ anchored in Gauge Roads and sailed for Singapore with a convoy on 16 January 1942.   He joined Battalion Headquarters acting as Clerk with advanced Headquarters Orderly Room.

This would have been the reason Jim was with Raphael and Thompson and why he was taken with them by Japanese soldiers.

Taken by Imperial Japanese Army on 16.2.1942 from Raffles College Square along with Lieutenant Raphael and Captain Thompson. The Japanese stated that they required drivers. Neither of these two officers or this soldier were ever seen again.

There were 7 members of the 2/4th who were taken by the Japanese Imperial Army for execution. In all cases there does not seem to be any apparent motive except the fact that they were machine gunners. Considering the punishment dealt out by the 2/4th during the Battle of Singapore this was probably reason enough for the Japanese to take vendettas out on the men.
The following is from the diary of Captain Avon Smith-Ryan’s diary for 15 February 1942
‘We were ordered to join the rest of the battalion at the Chinese Cemetery off Holland Road at 1800 hours. I found the rest of ‘B’ Company there as well as Major Green, Anderson, Thomas, Raphael, Thompson and later Tom Bunning. About midday on the 16th we fell in and walked to the Raffles College padang remaining there for 2 days. Thompson, Raphael and one other were whisked away on a truck and haven’t been seen since. RSM Airey was also taken.”

Major Green’s report states
‘Captain Thompson, Lieutenant Raphael and Private Brown were with the unit at Buona Vista on 15th February 1942, the date of the capitulation of Singapore. On the 16th a portion of the unit was moved to Holland Village and thence to Raffles College Square. During the afternoon of the 16th whilst we were concentrated at Raffles Square a Japanese soldier entered the square and ordered Captain Thompson, Lieutenant Raphael and Private Brown (who were standing at the end of a column) to accompany him. They were marched to the roadside where they were placed on a truck’.

It is believed that these men were questioned on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and on Thursday 19th February, at 1715 hours were executed with their hands tied behind their backs.

*Capt. Avon Smith-Ryan Diary, AWM Canberra.
*Report by Major Charles Green on the disappearance of Capt. Thompson, Lt Raphael & Pte. Brown. Original copy loaned by Major Green’s daughter, Mrs. Barbara Brand.

Jim Brown’s father James Reed died 29 February 1940 at Mosman Park aged 66 years.  Before James enlisted.

Mabel Wilson Brown died 9 December 1953 at Cannington aged 66 years.  Both Mabel and James Reed Brown were buried at Karakatta Cemetery.

 

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Brown Jim 18 Feb 1942
Brown Jim

 

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