Oswald Claude Browne

Date of birth: 1888
Place of birth: Portsmouth
Regiment: Somerset Light Infantry
Battalion: 1st (attached to 1st Btn Wiltshires)
Rank / Service No: Private, 22511
Died: 24th August 1916, aged 27 years
Buried: Lonsdale Cemetery, Authuille, France (Plot III, Row F, Grave 8)


The father of Oswald was one Richard Jordan Browne, who was born in Sunderland in 1850.

He fathered an incredible 19 offspring, by two different women, and he passed away (in Southampton) a very tired man in 1920.

He was, unbelievably, 68 years old when his last child was born in 1918 !!


Richard’s first wife was Emily Mary Turner, whom he married in Southampton in 1879. She was born in Surbiton on 12 March 1854 and passed away in Southampton in 1899.


His second wife was Charlotte George French, who was born in London in 1874; they married in Southampton in 1897, two years before Emily passed away, and lived at 2 Almond Road, Freemantle.

Charlotte remarried, to Thomas Addison, in Southampton in 1948.


Children of Richard and Emily

Eleanor Tempest   b. March 1881 Southampton   d. July 1881 Southampton

Sydney Jordan   b. 1882 Southampton   d. 30 August 1900 Southampton (see newspaper story).

Frederick Theodore   b. 1884 Southampton   d. 22 February 1915 London

Norman Walter   b. 11 April 1886 Portsmouth   d. 26 February 1966 Portsmouth   Married Violet Keetley 22 March 1919 in Wandsworth.

Norman fought in and survived WW1.

Oswald Claude

Mabel Alice   b. 1891 Portsmouth   d. 1975 New Forest

John   b. 1893 Portsmouth   d. ??   Married Mary Le Seeleur in Southampton in 1928.

Norah Jeanette    b. 17 October 1895 Portsmouth   d. 2 November 1951 Southampton                 Married Robert McPherson in Southampton 20 October 1920.


Children of Richard and Charlotte

Dorothy Lucy M.   b. 9 May 1898 Portsmouth   d. 1981 Southampton Married Frederick Stickland in Southampton in 1921.

Albert Sydney   b. 1901 Southampton   d. ??

Robert Jordan   b. 15 January 1903 Southampton   d. 29 November 1956 Southampton     Married Elizabeth M. Nash in Southampton in 1924.

Daisy Viola   b. 1904 Southampton   d. 1988 Southampton   Married Jack B. Cooney in Southampton in 1924…he died in 1925.

Married Reginald Albert Hatch in Southampton in 1934.

Reginald Terrence   b. 1906 Southampton   d. 1972 Cirencester   Married Doris Victoria Henley in Southampton in 1929.

Winifred Doris   b. September 1908   d. December 1909

Lilian Gladys  b. 1910 Southampton   d. 19 May 1959 Nairobi   Married Patrick Garnet Walsh McMaster in Southampton in 1942. Emigrated to Kenya 7 February 1948.

Sidney Lawrence   b. 20 June 1911 Southampton   d. 1982 Isle of Wight   Married Lilian Mellor in Southampton in 1936.

Married Mary Winifred R. Gavin on Isle of Wight in 1968.

Frank Donald   b. 31 July 1914 Southampton   d. 2000 New Forest   Married Catherine Patton in Wandsworth in 1940.

Ronald William   b. 23 May 1916 Southampton   d. 1973 Bournemouth

Leslie Frederick   b. 9 April 1918 Southampton   d. 1 November 1993 Southampton. Married Eileen D. Sharp in Southampton in 1939.

Married Rosina Mary Coase in Southampton in 1944.


Oswald almost certainly perished as a result of actions around Thiepval and Pozieres.

This area was of huge strategic importance because of a hill, which offered superb observation for miles around.

Many thousands lost their lives during these actions.

After the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in Spring 1917, the Somme battlefields were cleared of graves which were then put in a number of new cemeteries.

Lonsdale Cemetery originally contained 96 graves (now in Plot 1) from the first days of the Battle of the Somme fought in the area.

It was enlarged after the Armistice when graves, almost all from 1916, were brought in from the surrounding battlefields and other small cemeteries.

Lonsdale now contains 1542 Commonwealth burials from WW1.


Interestingly, Oswald left his money (£179 7s 2d) to the mother of his brother’s wife; Jane Keetley was Norman’s mother-in-law.

Oswald’s home at the time of his death was in Notting Hill, which is a mystery.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 2nd June 2016


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