Harold Keene Brown

Harold Keene "Brownie" Brown

In loving memory of Harold Keene "Brownie" Brown

Harold Keene Brown, "Brownie" to all who knew him, was born April 13, 1917 in Appleton, Maine to Minnie and Fred Brown. In 1939 he married Frances Eva Beckwith and they settled in Belfast, Maine. A son, Ronald Hartley, was born March 19, 1940. On March 31, 1944 Harold enlisted in the Naval Reserve for two years and was sent to the US Naval Reserve Training Station Sampson, NY where he completed his recruit training, advancing to Seaman Second Class on May 10, 1944. Two weeks later he was sent to the Armed Guard School at Camp Shelton, VA. There he completed training with Gun Crew 2914 with a final mark of 3.8 and was selected as a 20mm Gun Pointer. Harold was then transferred to the Armed Guard Center in Brooklyn, NY on June 23, 1944 and two days later was assigned as an armed guard aboard the merchant vessel SS Esso Buffalo under Capt. Harold Cook. A week later he was promoted to Seaman First Class. The SS Esso Buffalo took Harold to places he'd never been before including Puerta La Cruz, Venezuela, Aruba, Dutch New Guinea, Manus Island, Australia and the Carolines. He was discharged from duty aboard the SS Esso Buffalo on March 7, 1945. Three days later he was assigned as an armed guard aboard the USS Albermarle, a Seaplane Tender, for transportation from the Panama Canal to Norfolk, VA. Upon arrival in VA he was granted a month's leave. After returning from leave, Harold was assigned as an armed guard aboard the SS Samuel Ashe, serving upon it from April 24 to June 28, barely 2 months. Then it was off to USNRS in Boston, Mass. for general detail. On August 16, 1945 Harold was once again transferred, this time to RecSta, Chicago, Ill. for detail duty on the water barge YW-116. On October 31 he was assigned to the Assistant Supervisor of Shipbuilding, USN & Marine Iron & Shipbuilding, Co. in Duluth, Minn for duty, once again, on the YW-116. He was on board when it was commissioned. Harold was released from service in the Navy on December 17, 1945, receiving an honorable discharge. After the war, Harold worked a variety of jobs, including janitor of the Belfast Post Office. A second child, daughter Dianne Louise, was born October 18, 1947. In 1958 the family moved to Springfield, Mass. where Harold became janitorial superintendent of a complex of 7 apartment buildings. His son, Ronald, joined the Coast Guard in Sept, 1960 and marched as part of the Honor Guard in JFK's Inauguration on January 21, 1961. Ronald was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard April, 1965. In 1963 Harold and Frances moved to So. Portland, Maine where Harold worked for the Maplewood Poultry Plant. On December 16, 1970 Harold passed away after a long illness and was buried next to his wife in Forest City Cemetery, So. Portland. At the time of his death he was survived by his son, daughter and 3 grandsons. This information was furnished by his daughter Dianne DiCicco and his son, Ronald Brown. Dianne made the following comments: Like all little girls, I was convinced that MY Dad could do ANYTHING! and he could! He was the proverbial "Jack of all trades, but master of none," yet he did alright for himself despite the fact he only had an elementary education. Being a country boy, Dad learned at a very early age how to drive a team of horses and how to work with his hands and back from sun up to sun down. He would tell me stories about his horses and life on a farm, and I was in awe of him. I don't know where or when Dad learned so much but he could landscape, lay cement, do plumbing and electrical work and he often held two or three jobs at one time. I never remember my father being sick or missing a day's work. Even when he had his bottom teeth out in one sitting, he went to work after leaving the dentist's office. I saw the tears streaming down his face but he just marched on... Rarely did Dad talk about those days as an armed-guard. All veterans know such is the case with those who served, and lived thru and saw horrors they could never forget but never wanted to remember. The few times he did speak about it, I saw the pain. I didn't understand it at the time, but I sure saw it. Dad accepted Christ as his Savior in the end and now he truly does "Rest in Peace"--no more struggle, no more nightmares or tormented memories. God bless my Dad and All the fathers--and brothers, uncles and sons (and all the women, too) who suffered mentally and physically so that the rest of us at home did not have to! Hail to them all!! and thank you!!! You can email her at ladeedi47@hotmail.com .

Frances Beckwith Brown and Harold Keene Brown


Some Armed Guard Crew Members of the SS Samuel Ashe


The SS Esso Buffalo


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