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The Poignant Story of a D-Day Paratrooper


Included in the Coins, Medals and Militaria, Arms, Armour, Taxidermy and Sporting sale, to be held on the 11th March, is a number of artefacts belonging to Private Alfred Brown, a Paratrooper of the 13th Battalion, who was killed by a sniper four days after D-Day.

Private Brown was born in Millfield, Sunderland in 1913 and married in the early 1940s.  Whilst home on leave in 1943, he left his maroon beret with his wife, telling her ‘You keep hold of this, I won’t be back’. Tragically, his wife was expecting their son when he joined the D-Day forces.

At 1am on the morning of 6th June 1944, the paratroopers of the 13th Battalion Parachute Regiment (5th Para Brigade) commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Luard, were dropped in to France; their mission was to seize the commune of Ranville, in the first minutes of the airborne assault allied in Normandy. Ultimately successful, Ranville became the first village to be liberated in France, when the Caen Canal was captured intact.

In the little provincial village of Ranville, a plaque in Private Brown’s memorial can be found, erected by villagers whom he befriended during his four days in France. The plaque reads  ' L/Cpl Alfred Brown 13. Para BN Gave his life here for Freedom. 10th June 1944. Always Remembered'

Today, alongside Private Brown, 2,152 British soldiers, 322 Germans, 76 Canadians, 5 French, 3 New Zealanders, 2 Australians, 1 Belgian, and 2 unknown soldiers are buried in the Ranville military cemetery.

Lot 96 | A Poignant D-Day +4 Casualty Group to PTE Alfred Brown 11th Parachute Regiment | Estimate: £200 - 400

For more information, please contact Head of Militaria and Sporting, Julian Smith