Fonds RC0395 - John Gilbert Browne fonds

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John Gilbert Browne fonds

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  • 1914 (Creation)

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Physical description

12.5 cm of textual records
3 maps

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Biographical history

John Gilbert Browne was born in 1878, educated at Wellington College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was commissioned in the 14th King’s Hussars in 1899. He saw action with his regiment during the South African War, 1900-1902, and was awarded the Queen’s South African Medal and the King’s South African Medal. Between 1906 and 1911 he was seconded for service with the West African Frontier Force in Northern Nigeria. By 1914 he had attained the rank of Major and that year attended a course at the Staff College, Camberley.

At the outbreak of war the College closed and in accordance with the British Army’s mobilization plans the majority of the officer students were immediately appointed to various Staff posts with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Browne was appointed Military Landing Officer (MLO) on the staff of the Commandant of No. 3 Base in France at the port of Boulogne. In collaboration with the Royal Navy’s Deputy Naval Transport Officer, Browne’s duties were to oversee the disembarkation of the BEF’s troops and the landing of their stores, equipment, horses, transport, and ammunition in accordance with detailed printed instructions and complex ship and railway timetables that had been prepared before the war.

Having completed his duties as MLO by early September 1914 Browne was assigned to the staff of General H.I.W. Hamilton, commanding the 3rd Division, “partly as an extra a.d.c., partly [for] G[eneral Staff] and party Q[uartermaster-General Staff] work”. On 10 October he was appointed as GSO2 [General Staff Officer, 2nd Grade] on the staff of the newly formed Cavalry Corps, commanded by Lt.-General E.H.H. Allenby, where he remained until the end of the month when he was recalled to England.

Browne did not serve in France or Flanders again, taking up various appointments and commands in England until 1916 and then serving overseas as an officer with the Middle East and Egyptian Expeditionary Forces until the end of the war. In peacetime he commanded his own regiment (by then amalgamated and renamed the 14/20th King’s Hussars) between 1921 and 1925 and from 1925 until he retired in 1933, he served in the Middle East commanding the Iraq Levies. His History of the Iraq Levies was published in 1932, as was the History of the 14th King’s Hussars, 1900-1922, of which he was co-author. During the Second World War he served in both the Home Guard and the Civil Defence. Brigadier-General Browne died on 12 February 1968.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of detailed first-hand personal records written by Browne at Boulogne as well as classified printed documents heavily annotated, by Browne’s hand, which had been produced in extremely limited numbers.

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Fonds (15-2006) was acquired from Bertram Rota Ltd. in February 2006.


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