Donald Brown VC memorial

Donald Brown VC memorial Oamaru Donald Brown VC memorial Oamaru

On 27 October 1917 the Mayor of Oamaru, Mr W.H. Frith, unveiled a memorial plaque to local hero Sergeant Donald Forrester Brown, VC in the Oamaru Borough Council chambers. The brass plaque was accompanied by a framed photograph of Sergeant Brown and was inscribed as follows:

In MEMORY OF / Sergt. Donald Forrester Brown V.C.  / (10TH NORTH OTAGO REGT.) / - / AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR VALOUR / AT THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME / KILLED IN ACTION 1ST OCTOBER 1916 / - / DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI.

Present at the ceremony were Sergeant Brown’s father and other members of the Brown family, members of the borough and county councils and other prominent citizens, and the senior pupils and masters of the three Oamaru schools. The rector of Waitaki Boys High School, Frank Milner, gave the memorial address.

The photograph and plaque can still be seen in the former borough chambers within the restored Oamaru Opera House today. In 1919 the first tree in the series of North Otago memorial oaks was also planted in Brown’s honour.

See: ‘A North Otago Hero’, Oamaru Mail, 23/6/1917, p. 1; ‘Sergt. D.F. Brown, V.C.: Memorial Tablet Unveiled’, Oamaru Mail, 27/0/1917, p. 3; Heritage New Zealand, ‘Oamaru Town Hall and Opera House (Former)’, 2017.

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