A First War Group to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion; Wounded on Vimy
British War Medal (437551 PTE. A. BROWN. 2-CAN.INF.); and Victory Medal (437551 PTE. A. BROWN. 2-CAN.INF.). Naming is officially impressed. Un-mounted, dark patina on the BWM, surface wear on the VM, edge nicks, better than very fine. Accompanied by a 2nd Infantry Battalion Cap Badge (browning copper with a silvered overlay, maker marked "TIPTAFT" on the reverse, 43.5 mm x 44.8 mm, intact lugs and pin); three 2nd Infantry Battalion Collar Tabs (bronze, one is maker marked "GAUNT LONDON" on the reverse, the other two are unmarked, 10.3 mm x 29.5 mm and 11.2 mm x 32.2 mm respectively, intact lugs and pins); a 51st Infantry Battalion Collar Tab (browning copper, unmarked, 29.5 mm x 31.5 mm, one of two lugs intact but bent over); two Canada Shoulder Titles (bronze, maker marked "R.J. INGLIS" on their reverses, 13.8 mm x 51.5 mm each, intact lugs and pin); a Wound Stripe (bronze, 4.7 mm x 51.5 mm, intact lugs and pin, with a 13 mm x 60 mm support plate); his Identification Tag (aluminum, stamped "C.E.F BROWN 2.BN 437551 PRES", 38 mm); his Trench Wrist Watch (non-functional, metal casing, yellowed glass, soiled face, without strap, 35 mm); and his Great War Veterans Pin (sterling silver with red, blue and white enamels, hallmarked, marked "STERLING" and numbered "21433" on the reverse, 16.3 mm x 21.8 mm, screwback). Footnote: Alexander Brown was born on December 17, 1887 in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of Edward Brown and Jessie Brown. He signed his Attestation Paper as a Private (437551) with "D" Company, 51st Infantry Battalion "Edmonton Regiment", on August 14, 1915, in Edmonton, Alberta, at the age of 28, naming his next-of-kin as his father, Edward Brown of Glasgow, Scotland (later Annbank, Scotland), stating that he had no previous military service, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Farmer. The Battalion was raised and mobilized in Edmonton, Alberta under the authority of G.O. 86, July 1, 1915. The Battalion sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on April 18, 1916 aboard the S.S. Missanabie with a strength of 37 officers and 1,055 other ranks under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel R. De L. Harwood, arriving in Liverpool England on the 28th. Brown was insured but he didn't know the name of the insuring company, as his father had taken out the policy and was paying for it. Six weeks later, Brown was transferred to the 2nd Infantry Battalion, arriving in France on June 9, 1916 and taken on strength at the Canadian Base Depot. He left for his new unit on the 10th, arriving on the 11th. Six months after arriving in France, Brown was admitted to No. 3 Canadian Field Ambulance on December 3, 1916, suffering from a barbed wire wound to his left foot. He was subsequently treated and released to duty with the 2nd Infantry Battalion the same day. Early in the new year, he was briefly attached to the Field Company Canadian Engineers, from January 25 to February 10, 1917. Brown sought medical treatment a second time, as he was admitted to No. 6 Casualty Clearing Station on March 5, 1917, then transferred to No. 7 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples on March 10th with a sprained right ankle. Nine days later he was transferred to No. 6 Canadian Convalescent Depot at Etaples on March 19th, then placed with No. 5 Convalescent Depot at Cayeux on March 22nd, where he was to convalesce for the next three weeks, before his discharge to Base Depot on April 12th and return to the 2nd Infantry Battalion. He had only served with the 2nd Infantry Battalion for three weeks after being treated for his sprained ankle, when he suffered a gun shot (shrapnel) wound to the face at Vimy, France on May 3, 1917. He was transferred the next day to No. 30 General Hospital at Calais, then invalided wounded to the United Kingdom, where he was posted to the Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot at Seaford on May 7th. He was transferred to the Scottish National Red Cross Hospital at Glasgow Bellahouston on May 8th, where he was treated for his gun shot wound. It was here that the doctors discovered that he also suffered from Nephritis (inflammation of the neuphrons in the kidneys, often caused by infections, toxins, and auto-immune diseases. It can be caused by infection, but is most commonly caused by autoimmune disorders that affect the major organs). After fifteen weeks at Bellahouston, Brown was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Bear Wood, Wokingham, Berkshire for the next four weeks, on August 22nd. By this time, his facial wounds had healed but he was unable to "masticate" (chew) solid food, his general condition was declared to be "fair", however, his Nephritis was still a very serious concern. He was transferred to King's Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital at Bushy Park on September 19th, where a full medical examination was conducted. In his Proceedings of a Medical Board, dated October 18, 1917, it documented his "Debility" following his Nephritis: "Gun shot wound (to his) right jaw (in) France, May 3rd. No disability now. In May, albumin and blood found in urine and diagnosis made of Nephritis. In December had a swelling in the face, and dark coloured urine. No treatment. General condition now is fair. Color slightly pale. No swelling. Weight ten pounds below normal." It was stated that he had no sugar appearing in his urine but that "He complains of some pain in the back." Brown was posted to the Canadian Discharge Depot at Buxton, pending discharge to Canada on November 12, 1917. He was struck off strength of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, embarking Liverpool aboard the S.S. Saxonia on November 17th, arriving in Halifax on the 30th. A week after arriving in Canada, his condition was assessed again at the Discharge Depot in Quebec City, Quebec. In his Proceedings of a Medical Board, dated December 7, 1917, it was noted that "This man was 11 months in France. Was wounded in the right jaw on May 3rd, 1917. No permanent disability. In December of 1916 (he) had some swelling of his face and dark colored urine, but no treatment. While in the Hospital with his wound, albumin & blood was found in the urine and a diagnosis made of nephritis. At present he complains of shortness of breath, weakness & pain in the back. Has lost 10 lbs., is pale, but no swelling at present. His heart's action is rapid, but no adventitious sounds. Lungs & Nervous systems normal. The last report of his urine in October reports no casts and no albumin." The doctors determined that Brown's incapacity would extend for six more months but that his condition would did not render him permanently unfit for military service. One month later, he returned to Alberta and was taken on strength of the Edmonton Section, "I" Unit, Military Hospitals Commission of Canada. He was briefly posted to the Strathearn Military Hospital, Edmonton Station, from January 3 to 5, 1918, but was transferred for convalescing for the following month at the Edmonton Military Convalescent Home, Edmonton Station, from January 5th to February 6th. It was here that he was furnished with a special diet and received the rest that his body required. The doctor noted that he "Should not pass under his own control. (and that he was) To be reboarded in three months." In his Medical History of an Invalid, dated May 5, 1918 at Edmonton Military Convalescent Hospital, it was noted that Brown had "Moderate debility. This man is 5 lbs. below his normal weight. Is thin-looking and chronic. Has shortness of breath on moderate exertion. Can climb 2 flights of stairs without much difficulty although he has some shortness of breath at the top. Can walk 2 miles at his own pace, but is short of breath. Appetite poor. Sleeps fairly well. Does not have top get up at night to pass water. Urine examination shows: no albumin; no sugar; hyaline, waxy green caste. On examination heart dilated to the nipple line; no abnormal sounds but accelerated. Pulse 84 sitting; under slight exertion 100. Some bronchial breathing heard over the right apex, no vales; no cough. Expansion 1 1/4". Has course tremors of the hands, exaggerated knee-jerks. He is of a very nervous temperament. Other viscera normal." As a result of the gun shot wound to his face, he lost some teeth and fractured his jaw, leaving him with a small scar at the outer corner of his mouth on the right side. He was slated to have the necessary dental treatment to correct the situation. It was also noted that his "Trench Nephritis" had improved slowly while in England before he was returned to Canada. The doctors decided that Brown be declared "Category E" (unfit for service in Categories A (general service), B (service abroad, not general service) and C (home service (Canada only). Brown was discharged in consequence of "Being medically unfit for further service on account of Wounds received in Action.", on May 31, 1918, at Military District No. 13 in Calgary, Alberta, at the age of 30, his conduct noted as "Very Good". For his First World War service, he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, entitled to wear the War Service Badge, Class "A". He later applied for a War Service Gratuity. In his Military Will, dated June 7, 1916, he wrote that "In the event of my death I give the whole of my property and effects to my father Edward Brown of Glasgow Scotland." but his will was, of course, never executed. Although severely wounded in the face and suffering from Nephritis, he survived the war.