Francis Brown was the son of Rev. Henry Handley and Sophia Brown. Aged only 16, he was a member of the Taranaki Volunteer Rifle Corps. Francis was killed at the battle of Mahoetahi on 6th November 1860. Fatigue may well have been a factor in his death: According to Margaret Allington's history "Goodly Stones and Timbers", “Lucy Devenish records that Francis Brown, aged 15, was ‘deadly’ tired after a day of mustering sheep and did not hear the bugle call so his father woke him gently saying, ‘ My boy, a soldier must always be ready to do his duty when the bugle calls.’ Francis snatched up his gun and went forth, to his death.” He would have walked from Omata to New Plymouth in the evening, then marched north with the TVRC in the early hours of the morning - about 20 km in total before going in to battle.

His gravestone, probably initially erect, has been reset at an angle on a concrete plinth at some point. As with many memorials, a granite slab with a clearer inscription has been set, but unusually in this case it is in place of part of the original marble.



here rest
earthly remains of


son of

The Rev. Henry Handley


Sophia Wilhelmina Brown

who was born March 1st 1845
at Burton Pedwardine
Lincolnshire, England

and killed in action
at Mahoetahi, Nov 6th, 1860


in remembrance of their comrade
this stone is erected
by the members
of the Taranaki
Volunteer Rifle Corps


The trumpet shall sound and the
dead shall be raised incorruptible

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