Able Seaman David Edgar Brown

Birth: September 19, 1924 in Toronto, Ontario

Death: May 7, 1944 HMCS Valleyfield, North Atlantic

Service: WWII

Service Number: V51452


David Brown, known as Buddy, came to Richmond with his parents and sisters in 1928 from Toronto. His father Edgar, living at 201 No. 5 Road, was a farmer and a former School Board Chairman. The Brown family sold their house in Richmond in 1944 and moved to Burnaby. David attended Mitchell School and Richmond High School, graduating in 1942 having completed his Grade 12.

From 1940 to 1942, David was a private in the Seaforth Highlanders Cadet Battalion. Following high school he worked as a supply clerk for David Spencer Ltd. in Vancouver. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve in December 1942 and was posted to HMCS Discover in Vancouver.

His service record described him as 5ft 9inches tall, weighing 128 lbs, with light brown hair and brown eyes and missing the tip of his second finger on his left hand. He was a member of the Church of England. After training in Esquimalt he had several postings and gained commendations in August 1943. He joined HMCS Valleyfield in Halifax in December 1943.

On May 7, 1944 the Valleyfield was torpedoed, and the explosions caused the ship to break in two. The bow section sank within seconds of the explosion but the stern section remained afloat for 5-6 minutes. During this brief time three ratings, Dave Brown from Ontario, Merv Woods from Montreal and David Edgar Brown from Eburne ran aft in order to withdraw the primers from the depth charges. They feared that once the stern sank the depth charges would explode and kill everyone including those men already in the sea and on the rescue vessel. This gallant gesture cost all three their lives but undoubtedly saved many of their fellow crewmen. Edgar Brown received a certificate of Mention in Despatches from the Royal Canadian Navy and the bronze oak leaf emblem as posthumous honours for his son David Edgar Brown. His body was never recovered from the sea.