T H E B R O W N E A W A R D
The Browne Award is presented to the author of the article in Soldiers of the Queen in the relevant year which is considered to be the best for either academic content, originality, outstanding interest or, hopefully a mix of all three criteria. It is voted for by the Council at their March meeting and, if possible, presented at a Society event. It was introduced at a Council meeting on 1st October 1988 and first awarded that same year. The award, generously sponsored by VMS member Howard Browne, is named in honour of his ancestors Capt Edward Pennefather Wade Browne and Lt Cornwallis Wade Browne. The following is a list of the winners to date:
2022 Brigadier Jim Tanner
2021 Paul McNicholls
2020 Laura Kwasniewksa
2019 David Snape
2018 David Snape
2017 Andre Chissel
2016 Frank Jastrzembski
2015 David Howell
2014 Andrew Winrow
2013 Richard Voss
2012 James A Fargher
2011 Richard Stevenson
2010 Lt-Col Harold E. Raugh Jnr
2009 Dorothy Anderson
2008 Rodney Atwood
2007 Denise Love
2006 N.C Hayes
2005 J.P Hicks
2004 Edwin Herbert
2002 Leonard Thompson
2001 David Buttery
2000 Louis Ackroyd
1999 Ian Harvie
1998 Ian Cross
1997 Ian Beckett
1996 Edwin Herbert
1995 Roger Stearn
1994 Michael Barthorp
1993 Gilles Teville
1991 Meurig Jones
1989 S. Monck
1988 Julian Whybra
Captain Howard Browne, the generous donor of the medals, has provided this background on the origin of the award and details of his two ancestors to whom the award is dedicated.
Origins of the Award
In 1978 four old comrades in Newport, Rhode Island, decided to hold a dinner and invite a few likely friends. I heard about some young Marine officers at Quantico who watched the movie, Zulu, and dry-fired their weapons at the screen in support of the beleaguered Gallant 24th.
This gave us the idea to have a formal dinner, impersonate the officers at Mess Night in so far as we could and rent Zulu and show it after the formalities of dinner were over. We held the dinner at the Commissioned Officers Mess at the Newport Naval Station, studied mess customs of the 24th and sent out formal invitations with instructions about deportment for those not up on the Victorian British Army.
The dinner was a huge success. We expected a one-off, but attendees began asking “What are we going to do next year?” We couldn’t let our new fan base down. I had been a member of the VMS for four years, so I said “Let’s call ourselves The "Victorian Military Society USA” and we decided to make our purpose:
1. To dine in the almost forgotten ritual of the Victorian years
2. To rejoice in each other's comradeship
3. To honor brave deeds
4. To break the back of the long Rhode Island winter.
We decided that there would be no officers, dues or members. One dined as a guest, thereafter next year was a member. Failure to reply properly to the invitation would cause one to be dropped from the list. The presidency and vice-presidency would be rotated among those best able to fill it.
We needed a distinguishing mark for members to sport at dinner. The VMS logo looked attractive. We killed two birds and salved our consciences by petitioning the VMS for permission to use their name as the designator for our group and to duplicate the logo in the form of a neck-piece to wear at dinner. Both petitions were granted. Rhode Island used to be the jewelry and badge capital of the US. I submitted a graphic of the logo and it was duplicated in dull pewter. We tried one in color, but it was too garish. A black ribbon commemorating the Queen-Empress’s death completed the insignia.
I ordered one hundred. When I moved from Newport I had about twenty spare medals. I sent them to the Society to use as they pleased. In reply I was honored to be told that they were going to use them as prize for the best article in SOTQ for a year. And, they were going to call it “The Browne Award.” I was pleased that, having done so little, I was rewarded so much. I asked only that the prize be in honor of my two cousins, both Victorian Soldiers.
So, the Edward Pennefather Wade Browne and Cornwallis Wade Browne Prize was founded. Long may it live!
The Browne Brothers
The Browne family were of merchant stock who were elevated to the gentry in the early 19th Century by marriage to heiresses in two generations. Wade Browne, originally of Leeds, gave his sons the benefits of a gentleman’s upbringing and after his death, commissions in the Army by purchase.
Edward Pennefather Wade Browne was born in Ireland in 1835 at the home of his grandfather, Edward Pennefather, Chief Justice of Queen’s Bench in Ireland. In 1853 Edward Pennefather deposited for Edward Browne £450 with Messrs. Cox & Co. for purchase of an Ensigncy in the 71st Foot. Edward was called up and served in The Crimea and the Expedition to Kertch and Yenkale. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1854 and Captain in 1858 by purchase. In 1863 he transferred into the Scots Fusilier Guards, 1st Battalion. He retired in 1866 to live the life of a gentleman until his death in 1904 at Ashburn Place, off the Gloucester Road.
Cornwallis Wade Browne was born in 1837 at the Manor House, Monkton Farleigh, Wilts., home of his father, Wade Browne. In 1855 Edward Pennefather, his guardian, secured for him an Ensigncy in the 48th Foot and promotion to Lieutenant in 1856. The Army List shows him serving most of his time in India: Allahabad, Seetapore, Lucknow. He was ordered home in 1865 and retired by sale of commission in 1866.
He married in Candy, Ceylon, Eudora Mary Anne Braine in 1880
He emigrated to Queensland, the New South Wales, Australia. He was a landowner in the Blue Hills outside Sydney and was engaged in driving sheep across Australia, and wrote a how-to manual entitled “Overlanding in Australia.”
He died in 1922 at his home “Bayview,” in Woodside, in the Blue Hills.
The sons of EPW and CW Browne all died without issue. Five daughters died unmarried. My suspicion that it was not a penetrant ugly gene but insufficient dowry to attract a husband of their own class, and insecurity preventing marrying for love.
So I am the last of these Brownes.