Lieutenant Colonel Walter R. Brown, D.S.O.
26th (New Brunswick) Battalion
I see in my mind many bright, cheery figures, some of the best of our county’s stock, soldiers every inch of them—how sorry I am they are not returning with us today, and how I feel for their people. But though they are sleeping in some military graveyard in France or Belgium, I know they are not forgotten…
(Brown to People of N.B., St. John Telegraph, 1919)
A member of the 62nd Fusiliers and Boer War veteran, Walter Richard Brown enlisted with the 26th Battalion in February 1915. He was born on 3 June 1872 in London, England. After the removal of Lieutenant Colonel James L. McAvity in May 1916 and the departure of Lieutenant Colonel A. E. G. McKenzie to an officer’s course in summer 1917, Brown assumed command of the battalion.
He remained in command of the 26th through the Hill 70 offensive until the return of McKenzie shortly before the battle of Passchendaele. In October 1917, Brown received the Distinguished Service Order for his organization of the battalion during the action around Lens in August.
After the death of McKenzie during the battle of the Scarpe, Major C. G. Porter assumed temporary command until Brown officially took over the battalion on 5 September 1918. He received a D.S.O. bar for conspicuous gallantry and leadership during the action at Cambrai in October. He remained with the 26th until demobilization in 1919 and led the battalion on its homecoming. Of the original 1250 volunteers who had left New Brunswick in June 1915, less than forty came back together. Colonel Brown was one of only four original officers to return with the 26th Battalion.
Digitized Service File (LAC):
Further Reading: http://saintjohnlibrary.com/research/return.html