Sir James Browne (1839-1896), Anglo-Indian engineer and administrator, was the son of Robert Browne of Falkirk in Scotland. He was educated at the military college, Addiscombe, and received a commission in the Bengal engineers in 1857. He served in the expedition against the Mahsud Waziris in 1860, being mentioned in despatches, and in 1863 in the Umbeyla campaign, when he was three times mentioned. In January 1875 he became superintendent of works for the building of the Indus bridge. In 1877 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel, and in 1878-1879 accompanied Sir Donald Stewart as political officer during the Afghan War. He took part in several engagements, was mentioned in despatches, and received the C.B. In 1881 he became colonel, and in 1882 commanded the Indian engineer contingent sent to Egypt, being present at the battle of Tell-el-Kebir. For his services in Egypt he received the 3rd class of the Osmanieh Order and the khedive's star. In 1884 he was appointed engineer in chief of the Sind-Pishin railway.

In 1888 he was made a K.C.S.I, and in 1889 quarter-master-general for India. In 1892 he was appointed agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan, in succession to Sir Robert Sandeman, his intimate experience of the Baluchis, gained during his railway work, having specially fitted him for this post. He died suddenly on the 13th of June 1896. Sir James Browne was a man of splendid courage and physique, and many tales are told of the personal prowess which, together with his sympathetic knowledge of the natives, made him a popular hero among the frontier tribesmen.

See General McLeod Innes, The Life and Times of Sir James Browne (1905).