Major Robert Geoffrey Browne - DSO

Date of Birth 23 June 1881
Age at Death 37
Date of Death 1/11/1918
Service Number
Military Service 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment
Merton Address Aylesford House, 5 Copse Hill
Local Memorial Wimbledon Parish Church

Additional Information

Robert Geoffrey Browne was born to parents Robert and Alice Mary (Nee Trollope). They had married on the 27th July 1880 at Kingston Vale, St. John the Baptist Church.

Robert Geoffrey was born on 23rd June 1881 and baptised on 25th July 1881 at the same church his parents had married in. At the time of his birth his parents were living in Arterberry Road Wimbledon and his father Robert (snr) worked as a Colonial Broker. The family had two servants, a Housemaid and cook.

By 1891 Robert and his parents were still living in Arterberry Road at a house called Netherby. Robert aged 9, now had two siblings, Kathleen 6 and Margaret aged one. The family had three servants, Nurse, Cook and Housemaid. Robert (snr) was still working as a Colonial Broker.

From 1895 Robert was educated at Radley College in Abingdon. He was a keen sportsman playing cricket and football. Radley College Archives have photo’s showing members of their football and Cricket teams’ c. 1899 which include Robert.

By 1901 Robert’s parents and youngest sister Margaret were still residing in Arterberry Road with three servants, whilst Kathleen aged 16 was a boarder at Lyndale College in Worthing, west Sussex. Robert (Snr) was listed as an employer, East India & Colonial Produce Broker.

Robert Geoffrey almost 20 was listed as a boarder, living with a family called Harris in Birmingham. Robert's occupation was listed as a Soldier. I assume that after leaving Radley College Robert was now training for a career in the military. He joined the Manchester Regiment 1st Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 19 October 1901 and was promoted to Lieutenant on 5 February 1903.

That same year Robert’s parents moved from Arterberry Road in Wimbledon where they had lived for many years and were now listed living at “Aylesford House” in Copse Hill, Wimbledon.

Robert’s sister Kathleen married Ian MacDonald Henderson a local man employed as a Chartered Accountant, at St Marys Church Wimbledon on 11th April 1907.

Two months later Robert himself married Gladys Charlotte Maria Hopwood at Stalybridge Church in New St. George in Lancashire on 27th June 1907. Gladys was born in Stalybridge and was the daughter of Wilfred a surgeon and Clara Hopwood.

Records show that Robert and Gladys’s first child named Alison Betty Browne was born on 27th July 1908 and her birth was registered in Lancashire.

By 1911 Roberts parents were still residing at Aylesford House, 5 Copse Hill Wimbledon, a house with 15 rooms. They now employed four servants. His parents had been married for 30 years and their three children were all still alive.

Meanwhile, Robert (jnr) and his wife and daughter were listed under a military census in Barracks in India for the night of Sunday 2nd April.

Records indicate that in April 1911 Robert’s battalion was stationed in Kamptee in India. They had been stationed there since 1908. Between October and December 1911 the battalion moved to Jalandhar (known as Jullundur at the time). In December 1911 they were involved with the Imperial Durbar in Delhi and paraded before King George V. They remained in Jalandhar until the outbreak of WWI.

On 15th June 1914 Robert’s sister Margaret married Robert Joseph Brandon at St Mary in Wimbledon. Like her sister Kathleen she also married a Chartered Accountant.

Robert was promoted to the temporary rank of Captain on 31st August 1914; he was still with the Manchester Regiment 1st Battalion. When war broke out Robert was aged 33 and had been in the Army for thirteen years. His battalion based in India embarked for the Western Front via Suez, Cairo and Marseille.

Robert was promoted to Major Robert Geoffrey Browne on 24 October 1916 and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO), whilst still serving. A Newspaper article in East Sussex on 27th September 1918 mentions that he was awarded the DSO but it does not say why he was awarded it. (At this time his address in England appears to have been at a house called Scovells, in West Lewes in Sussex.)

Robert died on 1 November 1918 aged 37. Records from the Radley College Archives state that he died in Lyon in France of pneumonia whilst travelling home on leave from Mesopotamia/Iraq.

He is remembered at St. Germain-Au-Mont-D’or Communal Cemetery Extension and also on a memorial at Wimbledon Cemetery.

Roberts’s parents left the Wimbledon area and settled at 5 Palmeira Court in Hove Sussex. His father died in 1926 and Robert’s mother Alice Mary died in 1938.


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