Wally Brown was born at New Norfolk, Tasmania on 3 July 1885. He attended school there and afterwards worked as a grocer before moving to Petersham New South Wales.

Brown enlisted in the First OICE (A.I.F.) Australian Imperial Force on 26 July 1915 and, after leaving for Egypt in October 1915, he joined the V' Light Horse Regiment on 14 January 1916.  He wanted to be sent to France and so he claimed to have lost his dentures. He was sent to Cairo where he obtained a transfer to the 20th Battalion reinforcements and, on 30 September 1916, he sailed for France. He joined the 20th  Battalion at Stammer on 8 August 1917.

His battalion fought at Passchendaele where he attended wounded under heavy fire and, after his Sergeant had been wounded, he took charge of the section. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

During this action Brown's friend was missing and Wally refused to leave the area until he located and buried the body.

He was promoted to Lance‑Corporal on 19 October 1917 and received minor wounds during an action in the following November. He was promoted to Corporal on 7 April 1918 and his unit, as part of the 2nd Division, moved south of the Somme.

He was with an advance group who captured trenches near Accroche Wood, where a sniper was causing casualties so Brown, with two Mills bombs, ran directly towards the enemy under a hail of bullets.

One bomb fell short of the target so Brown kept advancing until he arrived at the sniper's post where he punched one gunner to the ground and, after he had captured the German officer and his 12 men, he escorted them back to the Australian position. His conduct earned him the Victoria Cross.

In a later action on 11 August, he was twice wounded and, on September 13, 1918, he was promoted to Sergeant.

On his return to Australia he was discharged in February, 1920 and then worked for the next 10 years in Sydney as a brass worker.

He then moved to Leeton in the south‑west of New South Wales where he worked as an irrigation channel attendant.

After the beginning of the Second World War, Brown again enlisted by, giving his age as 39 instead of 54. His ruse was discovered and he was posted to the 2/15th Field Regiment. He then requested and obtained an appointment as a gunner. His regiment, part of the 8th Division, arrived in Malaya in August 1941.

Wally Brown's last words just before the fall of Singapore, were: "no surrender for me", and he was last seen walking towards the advancing  Japanese carrying some hand grenades. He probably died on 15 February 1942.

Walter Brown's name is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial and on a plaque erected in the Leeton Soldiers' Club.

Bro. Walter Ernest Brown was initiated into Freemasonry in Lodge Gogeldrie No. 558 on the register of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales on 7 April 1931. He was passed to the Second Degree on 7 July 1931 and raised a Master Mason on 3 November 1931. The lodge met in the Presbyterian Church in the small township of Whitton, some 25 km, west of Leeton. At the time he joined the lodge his address was given as 'Wamoon' via Leeton.


Information supplied from the book " Australian and New Zealand Freemasons and the Victoria Cros" by Grahame Cumminge PDGM UGL of NSW & ACT