As the holiday season approaches, Hamilton County Historian and GPS History Department Chairman Linda Moss Mines is asking for the community’s assistance in locating the family of Daniel H. Brown, Jr. Brown, a Hamilton County resident prior to World War II, died in the SS Leopoldville troopship disaster on Christmas Eve, 1944 and is memorialized with a tombstone in the American Cemetery in Normandy even though his body was never recovered. Nathalie Ahues, a volunteer with the French group, Les Fleurs de la Memoire, has adopted Brown’s gravesite and visits frequently with flowers.
She would like to connect with descendants of Brown’s siblings and let them know that Daniel’s service to his nation and to the people of France has not been forgotten.
On Christmas Eve 1944, the Belgium troopship Leopoldville left the pier at Southhampton, England with over 2000 American soldiers assigned to the 66th Infantry Division and began its English Channel crossing to France. Just 5 ½ miles from its destination, Cherbourg, the Leopoldville was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-486. There were 763 American soldiers killed and Daniel H. Brown, Jr. was among the 493 bodies never recovered from the Channel’s frigid 48-degree waters.
Mines’ research has uncovered some facts about Private Brown’s family. Daniel was born in 1921 near Ringgold, Georgia to Daniel H. Brown and his wife, Lillie, and by1930, the family had moved to Ooltewah. Daniel attended high school for two years and then began helping his father on the farm. He enlisted in the U. S. Army on 16 May, 1942 when he was 21 and completed his basic training at Camp Forrest near Tullahoma, Tennessee. His military records describe Daniel as single, 5 foot 9 inches tall and quite slender, weighing 132 lbs.
Daniel had one brother, Rembert, and four sisters, Ollie, Eunice, Doris and Wanda.
Daniel's father, Daniel H. Brown, Sr., died in 1974 at the age of 88 here in Chattanooga and his obituary indicates that he was still residing on the farm at Route 2, Ooltwah, Tennessee. He was buried in the Pine Chapel Cemetery in Georgia. At the time of his death, the Browns had 11 grandchildren and eight of the grandsons, Norman Young, Doyle Young, Wayne Wilson, Aubrey Wilson, Wendell Camp, Joe Roach, Melvin Edwards and Max Cordell, served as pallbearers. Daniel's mother, Lillie Brown, died in 1983 at age 96. Mrs. Brown was a member of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church and her son, Rembert, and all four daughters, Wanda, Eunice, Ollie and Doris, were still living.
Ms. Ahues would like to meet the family for Christmas via Skype so they can exchange stories and visit Daniel’s memorial.
If readers can help connect Brown’s family with Ms. Ahues, please contact Linda Moss Mines at firstname.lastname@example.org