Topic: Frank Charles Brown (1883-1902)
Tauranga man Frank Charles Brown died of wounds received during the South African War (Boer War). A memorial tablet to Frank was placed in the Tauranga Methodist Church, however the whereabouts of this tablet are currently unknown.
Frank Charles Brown was born in Welcome Bay, Tauranga on 10 July 1883 (reg. 1883/10367). His parents were Jonathan and Eliza Brown (nee Brown) who married on 17 July 1866 in Tasmania, Australia. Jonathan died in an accident in 1895 (reg. 1895/536) aged 65.
Frank was in the Tauranga Mounted Rifles. During the South African War (Boer War) he served with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, 7 Contingent, 23 Company (Service No: 4266).
During his time in South Africa he served as a scout and had two horses shot out from beneath him. He also suffered a bought of measles, but recovered and went back to scouting. He was considered an excellent horseman.
Frank was wounded at Fonteinriet in Boksburg, South Africa, on 31 January 1902 and died the same day.
On 16 February 1902 a memorial service was held for Frank in Tauranga's Mission Cemetery.
He was buried in the Reitz Cemetery in South Africa. His death notices appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times:
BROWN The deepest regret was expressed in town this morning, when the news was circulated that Tpr Frank Brown, youngest son of Mrs E Brown of Welcome Bay and a member of the 7th Contingent had died of wounds received in South Africa…greatest sympathy will be felt throughout the district with Mrs Brown and the deceased’s brothers and sisters in their sad bereavement. [Bay of Plenty Times, Mon 10 Feb 1902, p2 + 12 Feb 1902 + 14 Feb 1902, + 17 Feb 1902 + 1 Sep 1902]
At the end of October 1902 a memorial tablet to Frank was unveiled in the Tauranga Methodist Church:
MEMORIAL TO THE LATE TROOPER FRANK BROWN. Yesterday the solemn ceremony of unveiling the tablet erected in the Methodist Church in memory of the late Trooper Frank Brown, of the Seventh Contingent, took place in the presence of a very large congregation and of the members of the Tauranga Mounted Rifles, to which deceased belonged. The Corps mustered at the Orderly Room at 10 30, four returned troopers, A. Matheson, R. Vercoe, E. Wrigley and Stewart being given the post of honour as the right section; there were present Capt. Collett, Lieuts. Bennett, Mumford and Ward and a good muster of non-commissioned officers and troopers. The Town \ Band fell in at the head of the column and played a couple of sacred marches on the way to the Church. The members of the Corps were accommodated with j seats immediately in front of the rostrum, and the Band on the left. The reading desk was draped with a Union Jack, and many floral emblems beautified the eastern end of the Church; the tablet, erected in the centre of the southern wall was veiled by a Union Jack.
The order of service, special hymns, etc., had been printed and were distributed to the congregation, which filled the building to over-flowing, many not being able to find even standing room.
The Rev. Hawes Dyer was the officiating minister, and the instrumental portion of the music was efficiently rendered by the Band.
At the conclusion of the First Lesson, the Minister called upon Mrs Collett to unveil the tabled, whereupon the congregation rose and Mrs Collett by means of a cowl, caused the Union Jack veiling the memorial to draw aside and disclosed a marble tablet mounted on a moulded panel of walnut wood, bearing the following inscription: - In memory of Frank Charles Brown of the Seventh Contingent for service in South Africa, who died of wounds on 31st January, 1902 at Fonteinreit. This tablet was erected by his comrades of the Tauranga Mounted Rifle Volunteers. At the moment of unveiling, the Band placed the Dead March, from 'Saul,' the congregation remaining standing to the conclusion. An appropriate and eloquent sermon was preached by the Rev. Hawes Dyer.
The tablet was much admired, as being a plain, simple but suitable memorial of the high-spirited but unfortunate lad in whose honour it is erected; it was executed by Mr J. Bouskill, monumental mason, Auckland (abridged).
Frank's mother, Eliza, died in Auckland on 11 June 1919:
BROWN - OBITUARY - MRS E. BROWN. The death occurred at Auckland on the 11th inst, of a former old and very highly respected resident of this district in the person of Mrs Eliza Brown, relict of the late Mr Jonathan Brown, of Welcome Bay. The deceased lady was a native of Canada, and arrived at Tauranga with her husband fifty-one years ago, where they settled on the property at Welcome Bay now owned by Mr H, T. Lysaght. Mr Brown died about twenty-four years ago but his widow continued to reside in the district until ten years since, when she moved to Auckland. The deceased lady was a zealous member of the Wesleyan Church, and was greatly esteemed for her charitable nature. She leaves a family of six sons and daughters Mr Ralph Brown, of Whakatane, Messrs G. W, Brown and J. Brown, of Te Puke, Mrs W. J. Cotter, of Fiji, Mrs R. G, Speight, of Onehunga, and Mrs Claude of Patumahoe. A fourth son, Mr Frank Brown, was killed in South Africa during the Boer war, The funeral took place at Tauranga on Friday last, the burial service being conducted by the Rev,. Mr Kendon. [Te Puke Times 20 June 1919, Page 3 and Bay Of Plenty Times, Volume XVII, Issue 7177, 16 June 1919, Page 3]
Archives New Zealand: Military Personnel File.
Bay of Plenty Deaths (1872-1920): A-D. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sooty/BOPXDeathsAD.html
Bay of Plenty Times (1 September 1902). Memorial to the late trooper Frank Brown.
Bay of Plenty Times (17 February 1902). The late trooper Frank Brown: Memorial Service.
Bay of Plenty Times (14 February 1902). The late Tpr Frank Brown.
Births, Deaths and Marriages Online.