Matthew Brown

Matthew Thomas Brown

April 2nd, 1923 - Janurary 4th, 2010

Matt Brown

Matthew Brown was born in Gambo on April 2nd, 1923.  He went overseas in the navy when he was 17 years of age and trained in England and Scotland for 3 months before he went on duty.  Left England on the Battleship Boudien, down to the Island of Malta and on the way the battleship was torpedo's, they were attacked by the Italian Air Force.  102 were killed and Matt was afloat for 9 hours in a life jacket in the Mediterranean Sea. He was picked up by the Italian Navy and stayed in Italy for 4 - 5 months as a POW.  He was then brought to Poland where he was a POW and worked forced labor for 19 months.  In November of 1944 he was on what they called "Death March" and walked from Poland, across Germany and Czechoslovakia into Austria.  In May of 1945, the American Army captured Austria and they were freed - the war had ended.  

The Ballad of Matthew Brown

Witten by Llyod Noseworthy

He was only a slip of a boy when he left his friends and his home

To fight for our freedom in lands far away, his duty compelled him to roam

He was one of the many who gave up his youth for valor, adventure and fame

Never knowing the hardship he'd have to go through and the cruelty of the war game

Eight weeks on the stormy Atlantic 'fore he touched old England's shore

Many times in his mind he would question himself"will I ever get back anymore?"

Two months in England and Scotland training and learning to fight

He would take his last trip on a great battleship slipping out in the cover of night

They sailed past the island of Sicily every moment was stress filled and tense

When the Italian navy and air force let loose with all of their strength

They sank the good ship Boudien, a torpedo went straight through her bow

A hundred were lost but the convoy got through to the island of Malta somehow

 

Nine hours in the Mediterranean afloat with a prayer in his mind

Thinking about his mother and dad and the friends he had left far behind

He didn't think ever he'd see them again, but nevertheless he held on

Picked up as a prisoner he fought to keep sane with the help of his memories from home

Eighteen months they kept them in Italy existing on pasta each day

But Italy was taken by Britain so they had to be moved far away

To a bleak dreary coal mine in Poland, working from morning till night

Nineteen months of hard labor would challenge his faith and he felt that no end was in sight

The American General George Patten took Poland, they moved again

Across Germany and Czechoslovakia, he walked with the rest of his men

In May '45 he reached Austria, tired and hungry and worn

On the first day of May, the troop U.S.A, set them free in the cover of dawn

 

He was glad that the fighting was over, he was happy he was headed for home

Like all of our men who had fought in that war, no more he'd be called on to roam

His family and friends were elated, so happy to see him again

They were glad that his torture was over, now he ranked with the greatest of men

Matthew Brown is the man that I sing of, he's surely a man among men

Like many, he fought for our freedom, in that cruel and senseless war game

He was born and raised here in Gambo, a beautiful Newfoundland town

We will never forget a man such as him or the Ballad of brave Matthew Brown