Captain Kenneth Ashby Brown

Biography of Captain Kenneth Ashby Brown

Kenneth Ashby Brown was born on the 5th August 1887 in Maryhill, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, to Nicol Paton Brown, a Cotton Weaver, and Maria Crowley Brown (nee Ashby). As a child, he was a pupil under John W. Randall at St. Ninians, a boys’ school in Moffat, Dumfriesshire. He later attended the Glasgow Academy.

At the age of 17, in session 1904-1905, Brown studied Latin, Greek and Mathematics at the University of Glasgow. In 1905, he was admitted to Jesus College in Cambridge. By session 1908-1909, he was back in Glasgow and taking Weaving Course I at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, later known as the Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde. Held three mornings a week, the course included lectures and practical work on power looms and hand looms, and Brown qualified for a first-class certificate of merit. This training no doubt served him well in his professional capacity as Director of John Brown and Son, Muslin Manufacturers, in Bridgeton, Glasgow.

Brown served as a commissioned officer in the Scottish Rifles and was appointed to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on the 1st April 1908. He also assisted with training at the Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) at the University of Glasgow for five years prior to the war. Outside of work, he was involved in the Glasgow Academical Club and had a strong interest in rugby. His last address was given as 22 Belhaven Terrace, Kelvinside, Glasgow.

In 1915, Brown embarked to France with the 5th Bn. The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). The 5th Battalion fought at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and in the Arras Offensive in 1917. Having attained the rank of Captain, Kenneth Ashby Brown was killed in action, aged 29, on the 14th April 1917 during the British Arras Offensive. He died during an attack in which he was commanding companies C and D on the left.

Lieutenant Colonel Clayton subsequently wrote a letter to Nicol Brown, observing that his son was ‘always cheery and willing’, had ‘done most excellent work, and showed himself a good leader’, and that his death was a ‘very great loss to the Battalion and to me personally’.

For his efforts in the war, Captain Kenneth Ashby Brown received the British 1915 Star. He is buried at Heninel-Croisilles Road Cemetery and commemorated in the Glasgow Necropolis. He is also remembered on the Roll of Honour of the Royal Technical College of Glasgow.


Captain Kenneth Ashby Brown
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 5th Bn. The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Degree: Student
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 14 April 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/966
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/18


University of Glasgow Registry records.

Biography: Biographical information provided by Anne Cameron of Strathclyde University Archives.

Burial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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