Sergeant-Mechanic Thomas Browne


Thomas Browne was born on 27 August 1897 at Corracalvey, Cootehill, County Cavan, the sixth of seven children of farmer Alexander Browne and his wife Margaret (nee Fanning). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Corracalvey with his parents and two siblings.

Browne enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 10 March 1914 (No.927) and was quickly promoted to the rank of shoeing-smith. He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. In late November, however, he fell ill with rheumatism (one record states malaria). Evacuated to England, he was admitted to a hospital in London.

Following his recovery Browne reported for duty at the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim, serving there until 11 January 1916, when he re-embarked for France, this time with E Squadron. In June 1916 he again fell ill, this time with 'DAH' (disorderly action of the heart) and was evacuated to England, where he was admitted to the Combe Lodge Auxiliary Hospital at Great Warley, Essex.

After recovering from his illness it appears that Browne remained at the Antrim reserve depot through 1916 and 1917, rising to the rank of farrier sergeant. On 19 January 1918 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.139693) with the rank of sergeant. On 1 April 1918 he was transferred to the newly-created Royal Air Force with the rank of sergeant-mechanic (reclassified as sergeant-blacksmith on 1 January 1919).

On 6 March 1919 Browne agreed to continue in the service for a further two years. He was discharged on 21 October 1921.