Brown, John Alexander

Regimental Number: M562930 & M100704
Rank: Sergeant

John A. Brown, born on November 17, 1916 at Slave Lake, was the 3rd oldest in George and Lucie (L’Hirondelle) Brown’s family of ten children. He had three brothers, Paddy, Donald and Lloyd, and six sisters; Violet, Julia, Gertie, Patricia, Rachel and Doreen. George immigrated to Canada from Scotland and settled in Winnipeg where he was a member of the City Police Force. However in 1905, he decided to move to Alberta where he found employment as a cook in logging camps in the McLeod area and also as a cook on the Grand Trunk Railroad. Shortly thereafter, George decided to move to Sawridge (now known as Slave Lake) where he became employed as the proprietor for the first hotel to be open for business. While in Sawridge, he met Lucie L’Hirondelle who was working in the Auguste L’Hirondelle Store. The young couple married in July 1913 and lived in the hotel. George also applied for a homestead application in the area and moved his family which now consisted of four children to the homestead and rented out the Hotel. In 1920, the homestead flooded and the family moved to Edmonton until 1924 when they purchased ¼ section of land in the Morinville area. In 1929, George decided to move his family to an area of Bezanson known as Glen Leslie where he rented land. The children all attended the one-room Somme School. From there, the family moved to the Monisterski farm in the Kleskun Hill area followed by a move to the farm of Jim Storm. The children then attended the East Kleskun School. George eventually purchased a ½ section of land and improved the land while working as a cook for the Buffalo Lakes Lumber Company.

Once John had completed Grade 8, he worked for seven years in the trucking and farming industries after which he became employed as a camp cook. He was working as a cook in a lumber camp when he met Louise Platzer whom he married on November 18, 1941. That winter they lived at Mile 17 where John worked as a cook.

On January 7, 1941, John enrolled in a one month training course at Grande Prairie with the Non-Permanent Militia of Canada with the 2nd Edmonton Regiment. On April 10, 1942 John again enrolled for a 30-day training course under the National Resources Mobilization Act of 1940; however, was discharged seven days later on enlistment with the Army in Grande Prairie. In December 1942, John exhibited superior capacity in infantry and was recommended for an Instructor’s Course. John embarked for England on May 22, 1943. In August 1943, John was taken on strength with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry. He served as a Medic with the Infantry which consisted mainly of stretcher bearer administering first aid. Private John Brown served in the Canada, United Kingdom, Central Mediterranean Area and Continental Europe. He received the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, France & Germany Star, War Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp. John was discharged on demobilization on November 22, 1945 at Calgary, Alberta.

In 1949, John filed a homestead application on S ½ 3-76-5-6. During the winter months John cooked for seismic crews and sawmills and farmed during the summer. In 1971, John was employed by the Department of Highways and Transportation and became a foreman for projects in DeBolt and Valleyview. John and Louise had six children; Karra, Suzanne, Timothy, John, George and Heather.

John passed away on June 11, 1981 after a short illness and was buried at the Spirit River, Alberta Cemetery.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Service File
South Peace Regional Archives
Interview with Tim (son) Brown
Burnt Embers p. 110 – photo
pp. 289-290