The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Sydney Thomas
Regimental #:
'D' Company, 13 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Burracoppin, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Sydney George Brown
Mothers's Name:
Emma Brown (Nee Arnold)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Singapore Memorial, Column 136, Age 30.
Cause of Death:
Died of Wounds
Place of Death:
2/9th Field Ambulance
Date of Death:

General Description

Brown enlisted AIF 23 Oct 1940 and later joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘D’ Coy No. 13 Platoon as a Batman/Runner under Commanding Officer Lt Wankey.    Please read further about this Platoon.

Also read about ‘D’ Company

Brown was wounded in action at the 14 mile peg on Lim Chu Kong Road on 8.2.1942 – the first night of the Japanese invasion into Singapore. He was taken to 2/9th Field Ambulance in same truck that evacuated Lieutenant Wankey. It is believed Sydney Thomas Brown died of shock in hospital as a result of his wounds.


Please read about boys from Norseman



Sydney Thomas was the eldest of two sons born to Emma (nee Arnold) and Sydney George Brown at Burracoppin.  Emma was born in Essex England and Sydney George was born in Victoria.


Below is the story of Syd Brown’s father, his brothers and sisters Annie and Lillian (total of 6 siblings) who moved to WA from Victoria to try their luck, leaving only siblings Thomas and Nellie living in Victoria.


1874 – Charles Joseph Hince Brown first recorded 1903, 1906 Electoral Roll as Police Constable, Port Hedland.  In 1910 he is at Sandstone.   He appears to remain with the Police Force and during correspondence re the WW1 deaths of brothers Robert and Frederick is residing Boyup Brook as a Constable. In 1912 he married Marie Kaufman at Boyup Brook where they had several children.
1877 – Martha ‘Annie’  Hince Brown m. 1903 Victoria ‘John’ Gemmell.  Moved to WA.  1910 Electoral Roll, John and Annie are residing ‘Wellington bush’ his occupation is ‘hewer’.  In 1937 the Gemmells are farming at Donnybrook and have four grown children.  Annie died 1965 Busselton.
1881 – Sydney George Brown with younger brother Robert mining 1903, 1906 Boulder.  Sydney George dies of consumption Kalgoorlie 1913 aged 32 years leaving his wife widowed with two very young boys.
1888 – Lillian Victoria Brown In 1910 Electoral Roll Lillian is recorded working as a waitress at Wellington Landing, WA while brother Frederick John is working at Wellington Mills. She m. about 1913 to Andreas Hansen who arrived end of 1907 at Wellington Mills from Norway.
In WW1 Hansen enlists 8 Feb 1916 with 4th MG Coy, Service No. 329.  Although wounded several times Andreas survives and returns to WA in 1918.    Lillian Hansen (nee Brown) dies Aug 1920 after the birth of a son. Hansen remarries in 1921.

1892 – Frederick John Brown KIA Ypres, Belgium 12 Oct 1917. In 1910 Electoral Roll he is living and working Wellington Timber Mills while his sister Lillian is waitress at Wellington Landing.
He enlists at Bunbury on 30 Nov 1915 aged 23 years.  His service No. 3783 and initially joins the 28th Reinforcements however transferred to 51st Btn.  Frederick John is KIA 12 Oct 1917 at Ypres, Belgium.  
Frederick John records his eldest brother Charles Joseph as his NOK.
1894 – Robert Melbourne Brown – Service No. 142, 16th Btn, KIA Apr 1915 Gallipoli, Lone Pine Memorial, Panel 52.
It is not known where brother Robert moved to from Boulder, but within 12 months of his brother Sydney George’s death, he enlists 8 Sep 1914 at Helena Vale aged 19 years, Service No. 142 with 16th Battalion.  It is not until a Court of Enquiry held at Rouen, France held 3 Sep 1917 to 5 Sep 1917 that military declaration records Robert Melbourne Brown was KIA Gallipoli during April 1915.  Robert records his mother Catherine Brown, Leongartha, Victoria as his NOK.

Their father Thomas Hince Brown d. Victoria in 1917.

Their mother Catherine McPhee died Nov 1920 in Victoria


Syd’s father Sydney George was born Wangaratta, Victoria to Catherine McPhee and Thomas Hince Brown who married Tasmania in 1874 and had a large family. The Brown family moved to Victoria.
He is first recorded living in WA in the 1903 and 1906 Electoral Roll mining at Boulder, Lease 280 with his younger brother Robert.
At this time, the eldest brother of Sydney (Snr) and Robert Brown is also in WA –  Charles Joseph Hinch Brown is a police constable at Port Hedland in the 1903 and 1906 Electoral Roll and in the 1910 Roll he is at Sandstone.


Below:  Catherine Brown is informed of Robert’s death.

Below:  Robert Brown ‘s name is included at the Memorial at Lone Pine.


At about this time the authorities are having difficulty locating the Brown family to inform them of Robert and Frederick’s deaths.  Their father Thomas Hince Brown died in Victoria in Jul 1917 and their mother Catherine Brown (nee McPhee) was in hospital and unable to be found for several months.  The eldest brother Charles Joseph Brown is contacted re his brother Frederick and Robert.  Charles Joseph as a police officer working Boyup Brook.

Below:  Charles Joseph’s correspondence re his brothers.


Sydney George Brown is recorded farming at Burracoppin in 1912.  In 1913 and 1914 George and Emma are together at Burracoppin.
Sydney (Snr), farmer of Burracoppin, was admitted to hospital early afternoon of  15 May 1913 with Tuberculosis.  He remained in  hospital until his death, until early evening of 22 Oct 1913, 160 days later (Just over 5 months). He was buried at Kalgoorlie Cemetery.
During this time his wife Emma remained at Burracoppin with her two sons Syd Thomas Brown aged 2 years and Arnold George Brown who was born Burracoppin 16 Jan 1913.
Sydney George Brown lost two brothers in WW1 and two sons in WW2.
Below:  Emma remarries in 1915 and moves to reside in Kalgoorlie.  She applies for land for gardens.

Sydney Brown (Jnr’s) younger brother Arnold George born 1913 also enlisted.  He died 9 January 1942, El Alamein.  He had travelled to New Zealand to work and was living in there when he enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He did all his training in NZ then went to England in 1941. A letter written by Arnold to his Mother dated 20 April 1940 from New Zealand says that he will be going to the UK.

Above:  Notice of Louis Horn’s wife death in 1914.

Emma remarried 1915 at East Coolgardie to Louis Albert Horn.  Emma and Louis had two children.  Harold Louis Horn was born 1918 and Elizabeth Ellen Horn was born 1920.
In the 1936 and 1937 Electoral Rolls Sydney Brown was recorded residing at 412 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, occupation miner.  This was the home of his mother Emma and her second husband Louis Horn.

Below:  Emma Horn died in 1953

Emma Horn died 30 July 1953 at Kalgoorlie aged 71 years.  Her husband Louis Albert Horn died 18 October 1945.  They were both buried at Kalgoorlie cemetery.

Below:  death notice for Louis Horn in 1945

Below:  Syd’s Passport photo.  He took his mother and sister to England in 1937.

Below: The first two telegrams sent to mother of Syd Brown.

Below:  finally the telegram all families despair to receive – news Syd had died and will never return home.