Monday, 13 June 2016

Lena Gilbert Brown Ford (1870 - 07. 03. 1918) - American Lyricist

Lena Gilbert Brown was born in Venango County, Pennsylvania, America and attended the Elmira College in New York State.  She married Harry Hale Ford and they lived in Elmira.   After their divorce, Lena moved with her Son and Mother to live in London, where they remained for twenty years.

In London, Lena met Ivor Novello with whom she collaborated to write the lyrics for the song "Keep the Home Fires burning".   Other lyrics by Lena are "We are coming, Mother England", "When God gave you to me" and "God guard you".

On 7th March 1918, Lena and her son were killed during a German air raid on London. They were the first American civilian casualties to be killed in an air raid in London during the First World war.   Mrs Brown was slightly injured during the raid but survived.   The bodies of Lena and her son were returned to the United States for burial.

Lena is included in "Female Poets of the First World War" and her story was also included among the panels of the exhibition Inspirational Women of the First World War held in 2014 at The Wilfred Owen Story museum, Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK.