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Davis California USA 1992****The Ramsgate Thanet Advertiser approx. 1949

Tom Thumb Johnny Browne playing soccer 7 miles off the coast of England on the treacherous Goodwin Sands (approx. 1950).

"Tom Thumb" Browne's History Told

(Copied from an old tattered newspaper clipping, much of it unreadable now (The Ramsgate Thanet Advertiser approx. 1949)

I like fair play. So let Dickie Mayes receive the praise he merits for another great exhibition of dogged perseverance which makes more and more difficult Ramsgate's choice of forwards for future games.

Johnny Browne's appearance, on Saturday, was his first before a home crowd this season, so the time seems ripe for a few words about that great little player who, since his debut at Deal on 1st. January last year, won permanency in Ramsgates team and affection from every supporter.

I shall always think of him as the "Tom Thumb" of footballers. A quiet unassuming personality with the natural ability of a good ball player. Ramsgate can "thank" the war years for the benefit of his services. But for those intervening years, it is certain Johhny would still have been at Villa Park.....but lets start at the beginning.

Like most footballers, Johnny Browne was in the game as a youngster and had scarcely started to wear long pants before being spotted by Tottenham Hotspur, in whose "A" team he developed rapidly. Wisely Johnny learnt a trade, joined in turn two well-known London amateur clubs then moved north as far as the Midlands, where his future seeded assured with Aston Villa.

Came the war. In the services he continued his football, as a guest player, with a Southern League club then, returning to Villa after demobilization, found the wasted years had robbed him of his chance to stardom. Bath City, Southern League club, obtained Johnny's signature and it was with genuine regret that they acceded to his request for release after two or three seasons of valuable service.

On 1st. January a new forward turned out for Ramsgate athletic. I remember well the heading of the report which appeared in the Thanet Advertiser after the match which "laid the Deal bogey"- it was "Browne IS good" proving a gross understatement of subsequent ability.

By the way. I wonder if it is generally known that Johhny broke a leg. It happened way back at Villa Park.

Johnny Browne(Another old newspaper article)
Whilst only 9 years old. Johnny Browne began to take a keen interest in soccer. His ability soon won him a place on the school team, though the first game he played in was lost 14-0. However, the last two seasons he was a major force in winning the championship without losing a single point.

Johnny broke into football when he played as an amateur in Tottenham Hotspur. In 1939 he signed with Aston Villa, but in April of that year, he had the misfortune to break a leg.

Whilst serving with the R.A.F. he played in representative football on a number of occasions, and when on Villa's transfer list, was offered terms by various league clubs. He first joined Bath City during the 1944-45 season.

During the five and a half years he was with the R.A.F. spent mostly in Malta and Egypt, he took part in 40 raids (as a Wellington Bomber tail gunner) with Bomber Command, which included the first 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne. He once had the remarkable experience of being in two bomber crashes in a fortnight (See pictures below).

Click on the pictures to read more about John H Browne's WWII service
Johnnie Browne/Wellington bomber crash (Egypt 1941)

John M. Browne age 6 years

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