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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Stella Browne: some family background stuff

Her grandfather, William Lindsay Browne, was in the Navy, served in the first Opium War in 1842 and was awarded a campaign medal. He was also employed on anti-slave trade patrols during the 1820s and a range of other duties throughout the range of the British Empire, literally from China to Peru. William's father and grandfather were RN men also, it is believed: his grandfather died in the defence of Savannah during the American War of Independence, and his father served with great distinction during the Napoleonic period.

Maybe this was why she found the Battle of Jutland so inspiring, or so she wrote to Margaret Sanger in 1916:
the news of the North Sea Battle makes me feel very British again. That cruiser squadron which fought the whole German High Sea Fleet for seven  hours, till Jellicoe's main squadron came along, and the Germans bolted for Kiel! 
although she followed this outbreak of enthusiasm with the perhaps more characteristic comment:
all the men dead and on both sides: and for what? Junker tyranny over there and Northcliffe dictatorship here--or so it seems.


  1. I am not sure her ancestry was quite that high ranking. William's father was Philip Browne of the Royal Navy but not the Admiral of Napoleonic war fame but a ships carpenter who spent time on the Halifax station. Other of his grandchildren settled near Bury St Edmunds which may explain the choice of St Felix school.

    1. Many thanks for this information. I did most of the family history research before there was so much information available online. Though finding information for the family name Browne, even give the final e (which sources may well have dropped anyway), is always a bit difficult!