David, the son of Rev. G.G. Brown, St Mary’s Rectory, Bedford, was born in 1892. He came to the Dragon in 1905 as a boarder in School House and left in 1906. In 1906 he was in the XV and won a boxing competition. He spoke the prologue to Macbeth with his brother Hugh and gained Mrs Pickard’s prize for ‘Divinity’. He was elected to Third Foundation Scholarship at Marlborough in December 1906. He was head of his House, elected to Balliol College, Oxford and took Second Class in Moderations in 1914. He was reading for Greats when the war broke out.
He got his commission in August 1914 as 2nd Lieutenant, 6th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. Lieutenant in October 1914 and Captain in November 1915. He was killed on the 14th July 1916, at Bazentin le Petit on the Somme. The Leicesters took both Bazentin le Grand and Bazentin le Petit, with the woods in front. The 6th Battalion had over 600 casualties, including 8 officers killed and 19 wounded.
‘I don’t want to die. I want to live and tell how I was in the War, how I was a fighter in it, not merely a server; but, if I do get killed, I want you and everyone to know that I knew of the possibility, that I was ready for it, and facing it, and not shirking and dodging the thought of it.’
A poem, written by David behind the line in France in 1916, entitled ‘Two Voices’ is found below:
The roads are all torn; but the sun’s in the sky,
The houses are waste; but the day is all fair,
There’s death in the air; and the larks are on high,
Though we die; it is spring-time, what do we care?
The gardens are rank; but the grass is still green,
The orchards are shot-torn; there’s bloom on the trees,
There’s war all around; yet is nature serene,
There’s danger; we’ll bear it, fanned by the breeze.
Some are wounded; they rest, and their glory is known,
Some are killed; there’s peace for them under the sod,
Men’s homes are in peril; their souls are their own,
The bullets are near us; not nearer than God.
David is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France.