Originally served with the 18th Battalion and then transferred to the 4th Company, Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Died on the first day of the Vimy Ridge attack.
Sad news was received today on Sunday last by Mrs. Brown, that her son, John, had been killed in action somewhere in France on April 9th after being in the front for two and a half years. Deceased was among the first of the Canadian boys to answer the call. He was a fine type of young manhood, a good soldier and had been promoted some time ago from the ranks as a result of his valor. He was well-known in this community, and highly respected. Mrs. Brown is a widow and have two other sons in the war. Robt. [Robert] who enlisted in the North West, is slowly recovering from the effects of a gas attack and Leonard is in the Middlesex boys who were recently reported in the thick of the fighting.
Source: The Age; May 3, 1917
Corporal John Brown was among the first from this neighborhood to hear the call to arms. To him it was no open road to pleasure and a good time. He felt that duty demanded that he offer his life to his country as an aid to stem the tide of Prussianism that would overwhelm, if it could, the liberties of our country and the world. He crossed the sea with the 18th Battalion in the fall of 1915 and sine that time, has been almost continuously in the trenches. In the attack on Vimy Ridge, April 9th, he fell. On Sunday May 13th, an appropriate memorial service was held in the Mt. Carmel Methodist church. The service was conducted by the pastor, Rev. Mr. Reycraft who chose as his text, the words: “And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brothers’ blood crieth unto me in the ground.” No sacrifice, said Mr. Reycraft, ever went unnoticed either for the one who made it or for those who suffer with them. He commended highly those who so freely sacrificed all their prospects in the order to defend their country. Those who talk so glibly about the necessity of increased food production, demanding that we give up the sanctity of our Sabbath, came in for a scathing denunciation. The speaker characterized them as “Sham patriots who were afraid to soil their hands,” The large attendance testified to the high esteem in which Corp. Brown was held in his home neighborhood. The sympathy of all his friends goes out to his mother, who in the midst of her great sorrow stall has the assurance that he passed beyond nobly “doing his bit.”
Source: The Age; May 17, 1917
Remembering John Brown
The Brown brothers, Walter, John and Leonard — were members of Mount Carmel Methodist Church who served in the First World War. Of these three Caradoc natives, only Walter and Leonard would return home.
John was born on December 18, 1895 in Mount Brydges to Elizabeth and Robert Brown. His enlistment forms, signed in January 1915, state he was a farmer with no previous military experience.
By April 18, 1915 he was sailing from Halifax on the S.S. Grampian, on his way to England. He had only been in England for one month when he came down with the measles and had to stay at Moore Barracks Shorncliffe Kent to recuperate. By September of the same year he was en route to France to serve in the Machine Gun Corp 4th Company. After fighting for more than a year he was admitted to # 18 General Hospital in Camiers France in November 1916, where he stayed until January of the following year with P.U.O. (pyrexia or fever).
He re-joined his unit January 17, 1917 and was promptly promoted to Corporal. He continued fighting until that fateful day on April 9, 1917 when he was killed at the age of 21.
He is listed on the Vimy Memorial in France. His mother received a copper ‘death penny’ and scroll from King George in honour of John’s service. These pennies were a standard token of appreciation given to family members of those who perished in the war. His mother also received a Memorial Cross and a C.E.F. Mothers in Sacrifice Medal. He is honoured in the community on the Mount Brydges Honour Roll, and both the Strathroy and Mount Brydges Cenotaph.