Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00615B - [William and Wilma Brown World War II letters and photographs]

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[William and Wilma Brown World War II letters and photographs]


  • 1942-1946 (Creation)

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Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

3 boxes; 0.53 metres

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Wilma Marion Brown (née Perry) (March 11, 1921- November 20, 2003) was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received training in nursing at the University of Manitoba and served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Medical Corps, where she was a Physio and Occupational Therapist.

Name of creator


Biographical history

William “Bill” Eberts Kenneth Brown (December 8, 1917-April 15, 1948) was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Toronto. During the war, Bill served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Engineers, where his chief function was building Bailey Bridges, used to transport Allied troops over rivers when retreating Germans had bombed the original structures. He also worked on constructing roads that had been bombed out, but much preferred the challenges of bridge work.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift; Jeff and Bernadette Brown; 2020 and 2022.

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Scope and content

Collection of letters exchanged between William Brown (1917-1948), Royal Canadian Engineers Lieutenant, and Wilma Brown (née Perry) (1921-2003), Royal Canadian medical Corps Lieutenant, during World War II, in addition to related photographs.

William Brown (1917-1948) and Wilma Brown (née Perry) (1921-2003) met aboard the S. S. Bayano, a 6800-ton banana boat converted to transport troops from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Britain, in November 1943. Bill and Wilma were stationed in different parts of Europe, but stayed in contact by mail over the next two years. The couple married in 1945 and returned to Canada after the War, settling in Val d’Or, Quebec, where Bill worked as an engineer at the East Sullivan Gold Mine. They had one child together. Bill was killed in a mine accident on April 15, 1948. Wilma became a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Toronto, where she retired from in 1985. She passed away November 20, 2003.

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Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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