b. 20/06/1875 Birkenhead, Cheshire. d. 25/06/1918 Tiree, Inner Hebrides.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 25/06/1918 Tiree, Inner Hebrides.
Hugh was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire on 20th June 1875, the son of Edward and Esther Brown. Little is known of his early life, until in 1899 he married Mary Ellen Ledder in Birkenhead. They went on to have two children, Edith Mona and Edward James. They lived at 105 Bentinck Street in Birkenhead. After Hugh died, Mary Ellen was presented with his AM by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 28th June 1919.
On the 25th June 1918, the ship (SS Orissa) was torpedoed and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, six lives being lost. The explosion took place about twenty feet from the store-room, where some members of the crew, including Brown and his son, who was the Steward’s Boy, were receiving their tobacco issue. The store-room was immediately flooded, but the Boatswain and his son were able to fight their way to the stairway leading to the weather deck, the bottom stairs of which were blown away. The boy managed to reach the weather deck but Brown then heard the Storekeeper, who was still in the flooded store-room, calling for help. As soon, therefore, as he had been assured of his son’s safety Brown wished the lad farewell, and, though he could probably have saved himself together with his son, turned back in the hope of assisting the Storekeeper. The water was continually rising, and Brown must have been aware that he had very little chance of being able to win his way to the deck a second time. The ship sank not long after, and neither the Boatswain nor the Storekeeper was seen again.
BURIAL LOCATION: LOST AT SEA. ON TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, LONDON.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
Carol Pollard – Image of Brown AM name on Tower Hill Memorial, London.