RCL Br. 92, Gananoque's Color Party marching from the International Square in Gananoque to Joel Stone Park 18 June 2015, leading is Murray Salter, then Peter Mills, John Petch and John Robertson, along with our past Sgt-At-Arms Glen Parker. Behind the Color Party is the Gananoque Town Crier.
Lieutenant (Medical Officer) William Elmer Brown
Died Of Wounds 18 May 1918, Age 24
William Elmer Brown was born in Mallorytown, just east of Gananoque,16 October 1893. He graduated from Queen’s medical school in early 1916 and worked at a clinic at Seeley’s Bay before enlisting as a captain in the Canadian army in September 1917. William was one of at least seven other doctors from Gananoque and surrounding area who enlisted. The Great War claimed the lives of 61 Canadian doctors, including Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae who wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields”. Doctors served in all fighting units at infantry battalion and artillery regiment level and often risked their lives to rescue wounded soldiers.
On arrival in England, Doctor Brown transferred to the British Army Medical Corps which had a severe shortage of doctors. Because British battalion medical officers had the rank of lieutenant, he agreed to revert in rank from captain to lieutenant. He served at the front with the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
“Death of a Hero Dr. “Billy” Brown Gives Up Life at Post of Duty” Gananoque Reporter
While on duty as Medical Officer of the 2nd Duke of Wellington’s Regiment at the advanced Regimental Aid Post, an enemy gas shell burst in the door of the Post and “Billy” sent away the other Medical officers, while he stuck to his post for two or three hours after the mishap and attended many wounded. Although gassed badly and in no fit condition for duty, he carried on alone. Finally he was taken to the Casualty Clearing Station and after a severe illness of eight days he died on May 18th.
Despite Captain Brown’s heroism, he was given no bravery decoration because only the Victoria Cross, which rarely is awarded, can be awarded posthumously. During the Great War only 70 Canadians were awarded this decoration.