Spr William Albert Brown - 2nd Fd Coy

Spr William Albert Brown
RCE Dieppe Memorial in Newhaven, England

Sapper William Albert Brown was born in Toronto in 1919, the son of Albert and Florence Brown. He had a brother and three sisters and was working in Toronto as a carpenter when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Engineers on 5 March 1940. He was immediately assigned to 2nd Field Company.

After training in Canada, Sapper Brown arrived in the UK in July 1941 and joined the remainder of 2nd Field Company that had arrived in April. The company was employed on camp construction at Aldershot in the County of Sussex. William continued his training in Sussex and qualified as Carpenter. In May the company moved to Coolham and settled down to a period of more construction and training. In short time, however, they started an extensive training and exercise period to prepare for the Dieppe Raid. William was appointed Acting Lance Corporal on 13 August 1942.

On the Dieppe Raid, Sapper Brown was a member of the Shack Party of 59 All Ranks that was organized into seven teams and whose targets were in the Dieppe rail yard. It had been estimated that there were 30 locomotives and 200 pieces of rolling stock in the area so this was to be a large operation. The targets included locomotives, the tunnel, a turntable, rolling stock, stores, oil tanks, engine sheds, machine shops, signal boxes, and miscellaneous buildings and switches.
Sapper Brown was a member of Lieutenant Shakleton’s 20-man team with the tasks to destroy the railway tunnel and the turntable. They were to cut the rail inside the tunnel and then crash locomotives and rolling stock inside the tunnel and set the wreckage afire.

These sappers were pinned down by heavy enemy fire on the beach, the Esplanade Wall and any approaches to the town of Dieppe. They could not advance into the town to demolish their assigned targets and Sapper Brown was Killed in Action. He is buried in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer, France.

{…with research assistance by the Canadian Military Engineer Museum…}

 

 

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