Private Nathaniel McCalla Brown


Nathaniel McCalla Brown was born on 8 December 1893 at 9 Cliftonpark Avenue, Belfast, the fifth of seven children of flax merchant (later iron agent) Nathaniel McCalla Brown and his wife Rachel Annie (née Hanna). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 23 Eia Street, Belfast, with his parents and four surviving siblings, and working as an apprentice linen tenter for the Whitehouse Spinning and Weaving Company.

Brown enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 2 November 1915 (No.1774 – later Corps of Hussars No.71550). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France on 26 March 1918, joining 1st North Irish Horse Regiment in the field on 6 June. This regiment had been dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit in February-March 1918, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Brown became a casualty on 26 August 1918 at the beginning of the Advance to Victory offensive:

Was in a dugout he does not know where. He went out and a shell exploded at his feet does not remember anything more until he came to in CCS.

Transported from No.38 Casualty Clearing Station to No.6 Stationary Hospital at Frevent, Brown was diagnosed as suffering from shell-shock – "Tremor. Complains of pain in the back and feeling nervous." By mid-September he had recovered sufficiently to be discharged – classed as BII – and was sent to the Base at Rouen for war work.

On 30 March 1919 Brown was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Brown lived at Bellevue, Holywood, County Down, where he worked in the iron merchant business of his recently deceased father. On 4 August 1920 he married Mary Jane Francis in the Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church, Bangor. By 1954 he was living at Holywood and working as a civil servant. He died on 16 August that year in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and was buried in the Holywood Cemetery.


Brown's younger brother, Robert Lionel Gordon Brown, also served in the war, in the Army Service Corps.