First World War Roll of Honour

Ian Macdonald Brown (1889-1916) was the youngest son of Dr John Macdonald Brown, M.D. and his wife Caroline Helen, of Upper Berkeley Street, London. He was born in Edinburgh in 1889 and attended St Paul’s School in London.

He came up to Downing in 1907 (pictured on the left in the Freshmen group above) and was an active member of College, playing rugby, rowing and also joining the Debating and Music Societies. He appears in the Rowing Trials photograph in Michaelmas 1907 and is recorded as a Cox in the Scratch Fours winning crew (“Victorious Four”) in the same Term. In his performances for the Music Society he was noted to have a ‘great voice’ and received ‘enthusiastic encores’. Macdonald Brown took his B.A. (Natural Sciences) in 1910 and M.A. in 1914. After continuing his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh, he entered the London Hospital in 1911, taking the diplomas of M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. in July 1914.


1907 Rowing Trials (Ian Macdonald Brown is seen middle row, far right)


One of the first of many who volunteered once war was declared, Macdonald Brown was given a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps and sent to Gallipoli in June 1915, although he was invalided later in August 1915. On return to the Front, he acted as a surgeon, first to the New Zealand Division and subsequently to the 190th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, achieving the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and Captain. He was killed whilst attending the sick and wounded under fire near Ypres, Flanders, on 15th November 1916, age 28, leaving a wife, Dora (née Humphries), and an infant son. His Colonel wrote:

“We are so sorry to lose him as we liked him so much, and he was such a good man at his profession, and is a very great loss to us”.


He is buried in Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, Belgium (Plot L. 14).


Historical factsheet on Ian Macdonald Brown.



The Griffin, Lent 1909 (p.27) and Michaelmas 1916 (p.27-28)

Editorial Notes. Casualties. Edinburgh Medical Journal 18 (January) 1917, p.2

The London Hospital Gazette, 1917 Issue 193 (January), p.400


Downing College Freshmen, 1907 – Archive ref. DCPH/2/1/65

Downing College Boat Club Trials, 1907 – Archive ref. DCPH/2/3/2/51

Captain Ian Macdonald Brown, R. A. M. C. - courtesy of Royal London Hospital Archives