STAFF SERGEANT THOMAS BROWN was born in 1916 in Pennsylvania, to Ruggles and Grace Brown. The Brown family moved to New Jersey sometime after the 1927 birth of son Charles Brown, purchasing a home at 60 Grant Avenue in the Erlton section of Delaware Township NJ. In 1930 Ruggles Brown worked as an engineer for a candy company. The family also included a daughter, Grace Brown. Another brother, Richard, was born after the census was taken.
Thomas Brown was a 1935 graduate of Haddonfield (NJ) High School, where he was captain of the baseball team. He also played football, and basketball, and was on the track team. After high school, he played football with the Haddonfield Independents and the Atco Imps, and basketball with several teams. He worked at the RCA-Victor plant in Camden NJ
"He was one of the most popular boys of the 1935 class, with which he graduated" said Cy Marter, Haddonfield High Coach, in March of 1943. "He was a great pal of John Strandwitz, who was killed in the Solomons."
Thomas Brown tried to enlist in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army after Pearl Harbor. He was turned away at each step because of missing teeth. When the local draft board re-classified him 1B, he went to Newark NJ, and got a commitment from the recruiter that if Brown obtained an artificial molar, he would be guaranteed combat duty. Thomas Brown promptly returned home, got a molar, and enlisted, reporting for active duty on March 1, 1942.
Staff Sergeant Brown completed gunnery school at Harlingen TX, and received training as a bombardier and radio operator. He had returned home on furlough at the end of January 1943, and reported back to Avon Park FL. It was there that he was killed along with four of the other members of a six-man medium bomber crew, when the plane crashed on the bombing range, on the morning of Tuesday, March 2, 1943.
Thomas Brown was survived by his parents, sister Mrs. Grace Rogers, and brothers Charles and Richard.
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