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Charles Raymond Brown, 1889 - 1918

Charles Brown was killed in action at Le Cateau in France on 1 October 1918, just over one month before the end of World War I. He was aged 28. He is buried at Anneux British Cemetery in France.

Charles was born in Auckland on 17 November 1889. His parents were Caroline Edith and Charles Joseph Brown. After early education at Devonport School, he attended Auckland Grammar School and won a number of academic prizes during his time there. He was also active in athletics while at school. He sat and passed the matriculation examination in December 1907 before going to Auckland University College in 1908. He completed the solicitors' general knowledge requirement in 1909 and continued to study law. While doing so he worked as a clerk with the law firm Buddle, Richmond and Buddle.

On 21 August 1915, Charles Brown was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court by Justice Cooper on the motion of CJ Tunks. After his admission he was employed by lawyer John Alexander who practised in Shortland Street, Auckland.

Brown was a keen tennis player, playing for the Eden and Epsom Club, and he also played golf at the Auckland Golf Club on its Middlemore Park links. On 8 November 1916 he married Jessie Audrey Bevin from Wellington, in St Paul's Pro-Cathedral, Wellington.

Brown enlisted in 1917 and as part of the 29th reinforcement draft went into camp on 6 February 1917. His medical record shows that on enlistment he was 5 foot 10 tall (1.78 metres), weighed 160 pounds (72.6 kg) and had brown eyes and brown hair.

He was promoted to Sergeant on 4 July 1917 and embarked from Wellington with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 29th reinforcements E Company on 13 August 1917 for Glasgow in Scotland. By 3 October 1917 he was based at Sling Camp and left for France with the 1st Battalion of the Auckland Regiment on 5 November. His military records shows that he reverted to the ranks "at own request" on 20 December 1917.

He was killed in action on 1 October 1918 during heavy fighting near Crevecoeur when enemy artillery shelled the Crucifix Road along which Brown's company was advancing.

Brown is commemorated on the Auckland Grammar School War Memorial and the Auckland District Law Society memorial plaque (unveiled in June 1923). His widow Jessie also erected a memorial plaque in Wellington's Old St Pauls. The plaque reads: "In proud and loving memory of my husband Charles Raymond Brown, killed in action, France, October 1, 1918, aged 28. With eternal love." 

Sources: New Zealand Herald, 9 November 1905, page 7; New Zealand Herald, 14 December 1905, page 3; Auckland Star, 23 January 1907, page 7; Auckland Star, 29 October 1907, page 2; Auckland Star, 18 December 1907, page 7; Auckland Star, 21 January 1908, page 3; Evening Post, 18 January 1910, page 4; Auckland Star, 9 March 1911, page 7; Auckland Star, 18 December 1913, page 7;New Zealand Herald, 23 August 1915, page 7; Auckland Star, 26 August 1915, page 6; Evening Post, 10 November 1916, page 9; New Zealand Herald, 6 February 1917, page 8; New Zealand Herald, 23 October 1918, page 9; Auckland Star, 17 March 1919, page 7; Evening Post, 1 October 1921, page 1; OE Burton, The Auckland Regiment (Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd, Auckland, 1922), page 255. 

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph soldier profile.

This obituary has been prepared by the New Zealand Law Society to preserve the memory of members of the legal profession who lost their lives while serving in World War I.

Lawyers Roll of Honour. 

By Geoff Adlam, New Zealand Law Society. Further information is welcomed: geoff.adlam@lawsociety.org.nz

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Last updated on the 21st April 2015