Thursday, 4 June 2015

William Denis Browne 1888-1915

The roll-call of artists, poets and musicians lost to the world in the Great War is a long one and many of the names - Owen, Brooke, Butterworth, Thomas, Rosenberg - are as familiar as those of the Battles - Gallipoli, The Somme, Arras - in which many of them died.

But one name is seldom heard. William Denis Browne died on this day (although his service record also records June 7th as the day he was listed missing, presumed killed) in 1915. He was born in Leamington Spa in 1888 and showed early musical talent. He went up to Cambridge in 1907 (Clare College) where his tutor, Edward Dent, regarded him as 'by far the cleverest of the musicians' then at the University.

Browne was commissioned into the Royal Naval Division in September 1914 along with his schoolfriend, Rupert Brooke. Neither were to return from Gallipoli. Browne's body was never recovered. He is commemorated on the CWGC memorial on Cape Helles

Try listening to this - one of his finest songs - without shedding a tear...

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