The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Maurice Lester
- Regimental #:
- 'D' Company, No 14 Platoon (previously No. 16 Platoon)
- Place of Birth:
- Ballarat, Victoria
- Father's Name:
- John Browne
- Mothers's Name:
- Isabella Browne (nee Ratcliffe)
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Truck Driver
- Kranji War Cemetery, Collective Grave, Plot 6, Row C, Grave 12-14, Age 38.
- Cause of Death:
- Killed in Action
- Place of Death:
- 14 Mile Peg Lim Chu Kang Road
- Date of Death:
Maurice Lester Browne was the son of John Browne and Isabella Ratcliffe who were both born in Victoria and married at Ballarat 1900. The couple had two sons, Richard John and Maurice.
The family moved to Western Australia. In 1912 Isabella Browne remarried William S.L. Purchase, who died Maylands in October 1949. She died 21 August 1949 at Wooroloo.
It is believed Maurice’s father died about 1935 and his brother Richard died in 1970.
Maurice married 1925 to Ethel Daisy Mercer at Kellerberrin, WA. It is believed the marriage broke down in the early 1930’s. The couple had two children born in Bruce Rock. Arthur Noel was born in 1926, Betty born in 1927. Ethel remarried and had more children. She died in 1985.
Prior to enlisting, Maurice was recorded by Electoral Rolls as living at Meekathara, employed as a road worker.
Above: Maurice’s fob watch which he left safely with his wife – it has been passed down to Maurice’s descendants.
Right: Maurice in his younger days. He appears to be dressed for a day out.
Maurice was not very tall and during his younger days whilst living in Kalgoorlie he was able to work as a jockey.
Below: Maurice Browne’s descendants visit Kranji.
They are three grandchildren L-R standing at rear: Brian, Karen and Lynette Browne, with great granddaughter Lisa Brown in front.
Above: Maurice would be so proud to see his descendants present on 17th November 2018, at Kings Park to have a plaque at the Avenue of Honour recognising his commitment to WW2, and honouring Maurice’s life.
Dedicated by Family on 17 November 2018
Biography presented during plaque dedication:
Private Maurice Lester Browne was born in Ballarat East, Victoria in 1903, the son of John and Isabella Browne. He had one brother.
The family moved to Western Australia about 1910, and Maurice married Ethel Mercer in 1925. The couple lived at Bruce Rock and had a son and two daughters.
Later, Maurice moved to Meekatharra and was employed as a truck driver. He was also a keen jockey and trained horses for many years.
Maurice enlisted in the AIF in August 1940 and was posted to 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion when the unit was raised in November 1940.
The battalion initially trained at Northam military camp, then in South Australia and in October 1941 moved to Darwin.
In December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbour and the Japanese landing in Malaya, the unit was ordered to Singapore, where they arrived on 25 January 1942.
By then, the Japanese had taken Malaya and were preparing to invade Singapore.
Maurice’s company, D company, was deployed to support 2/19 Battalion on the north-west coast of the island.
When the japanese attack commenced on the 8 February, this position came under heavy shelling and aerial bombardment.
Private Maurice Lester Browne, service number WX7148 of 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion, was killed in action in Singapore on 9 February 1942.
He was 38 years of age and is buried in Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.
His plaque is placed alongside Private John MacDonald, who was in the same 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion and died on the same day.