The 1891 Census on Ancestry.co.uk shows us that Robert Brown was living with his family at 6, Wallace St. Dumbarton, Scotland. Head of the family was shown as Robert Brown. He was 30 years of age and had been born in 1861 in Motherwell, Lanarkshire. His trade was listed as Plumber on ship yard. The rest of the household consisted of Eliza Brown, his wife, aged 24 years of age. She had been born in St. Monans, Fifeshire. Their listed children were Robert age 2 and Agnes M. age 1 month.
Ten years on in 1901 we find the family living at 6, Victoria St. Dumbarton. Robert Brown (Snr) was 40 years of age and his trade was Ships Plumber. Eliza Brown his wife, was 35. There had been a further addition to the family, Thomas was 7 years old. . Robert was 12 and Agnes 10. All three children were scholars.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate the family on the 1911 census. At some point after 1901, Robert had presumably emigrated to Canada. He enlisted into the 37th Reserve Battalion on 15th June 1915 at Niagra, Ontario. His regimental number was 408566. The records tell us that he was was born in Renton, Scotland. His date of birth was shown as 20th October 1889 and his trade was Clerk – Accountant.
After training in Canada, Robert sailed from Halifax on 27th November 1915 on board S.S. Lapland arriving in England on 11th December 1915. He was promoted to Corporal at Bramshott Camp on 13th December 1915. He was promoted again to Acting Sergeant at Shorecliffe Camp on the 7th June 1916 . His final promotion was to to Temporary Lieutenant at Dibgate Camp on the 25th August 1916, after which he was transferred to 23rd Battalion.
He was overseas from August 1916 until May 1917.
Robert Brown was transferred to the 3rd Division Signal Company on 17th March 1917 but unfortunately had to be admitted to the 14th General Hospital in Bologne on the 5th May1917 suffering from Stomatitus Pyorrhoea or Trench Mouth, which is a severe infection of the mouth. He was transferred to Yorkhill War Hospital three days later. He was discharged from Yorkhill War Hospital, Glasgow on the 31st May 1917 but was given 1 month’s home service.
Robert was transferred on the 2nd June 1919 from the 3rd Division Signal Company, Canadian Engineers to No. 6 Salvage Corps Rhyl while stationed at Kinmel Camp preparing for repatriation.
Tragically, he took his own life on 5th September 1919 and was buried at St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan. (This is clearly stated in his Army records)
(ref Library and Archives Canada. Soldiers of the Great War 1914 – 1918).
It would appear that tragically Robert was suffering from the effects of Gas Poisoning and Shell Shock when he took his own life.
May he Rest in Peace.
Robert is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.