Witley, January 24, 1917

Wednesday        Weather the same as yesterday and also the work

Gordon Brown was another whose battery disappeared in the reorganization.  It was “disagreeable news” (1) to him that his battery, the 50th, would be divided to bring two other batteries to their six-gun strength. Before it happened, there was much discussion in the huts:

“At first, it looked as though we might be all mixed up and picked out indiscriminately, some to go to 52nd and other to 53rd, which would be very, very disagreeable as chums & friends would be separated altogether, but the way it will likely be done is for one section (half the battery, two subsections and as each subsection has been living in a separate hut, those in a subsection know one another real well) to go to one battery and the other, to the other battery. If they do that, it will not be too very bad, we will hardly know we have been changed.”(1)

gordon-brown-groupAs it turned out, in fact, it was not quite so tidy a reassignment: a score of 50th Battery men were deemed “surplus,” and were sent to different batteries or to trench mortar units. Gordon was one of five to go the the 54th Battery: “The men are mostly from Toronto, many college fellows – a very fine bunch so I may consider myself rather lucky in transfer after all.”(2)  Brown had been a student at Queen’s University in Kingston when he enlisted.

(1) Brown, Robert Gordon. Letter to his mother, January 20, 1917. Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.
(2) Brown. Letter to his mother, February 4, 1917.

The photograph, also from the Canadian Letters and Images Project, shows Gordon (indicated by an arrow) among others in the 54th Battery; it is accompanied by a copy of his will, dated March 5, 1917, leaving all his property and effects to his mother.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”



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