Harry Brown (1895–?) was an African Canadian who enlisted at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on August 18, 1916, and served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion—the so-called “Black Battalion.” The racial prejudices of the day prevented many eager and patriotic Black volunteers from enlisting. It was not until the No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed that many were given the opportunity to enlist. Many members of this battalion were miners from the Maritimes. Brown lists his occupation as Teamster. Brown had suffered severe burns to his right leg in a fire seven years before the war, which resulted in residual pain, scarring and limited mobility. Although he was eager to serve, Brown was declared medically unfit and was discharged at Truro, Nova Scotia, on November 16, 1916.
Service Record Details
Date of Birth: May 10, 1895 (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)
Date of Attestation: August 18, 1916 (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Age at Enlistment: 21 years, 3 months old
Height: 5 feet, 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 122 pounds
Description: Dark complexion, dark brown eyes, black hair. Scar over right eye and on right leg. Baptist.
Home Address: 180 Maynard Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Next of Kin: Wife, Mrs. Annie Brown
Theatre of War: Not applicable
Casualties / Medical History
- October 24 to November 15, 1916 – In Truro, Nova Scotia, Brown is treated in hospital for a “painful scar right leg,” which was the “result of a burn 7 years ago.”
- October 31, 1916 – The Medical Board notes a painful scar on the entire surface of the right leg, from knee to ankle. Brown is declared “Unfit for active service.”
Interesting Details from the Service Record
- October 31, 1916 – Truro, Nova Scotia: “The [Medical] Board having assembled pursuant to order, proceed to Find that the above named person, is suffering from a painful scar of the entire surface of the right leg, from the knee to the ankle, cannot even bear the weigh[t] of his Puttes, the result of a burn seven years ago. The Board is of the opinion that he is unfit for active service, and would recommend that he be discharged from further military service.”
- November 16, 1916 – Brown is discharged as “Medically Unfit” in Truro, Nova Scotia. It is noted that his conduct and character have been “Good” while in the service.
The London Gazette
No mentions found.
Military Medals, Honours and Awards (1812–1969)
No mentions found.
No records located.