Driver 79119 Harold Brown

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Died of Wounds on Thursday, 29th June 1916, age 21.
Buried in Grave IV. B. 14. at Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.

Royal Field Artillery, 26th Battery.

Son of Isaiah and Elizabeth Brown, of Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Egypt, 1st April 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/75795/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
67 Union Street, Tipton
Isaiah Brown (37, Dairyman), his wife Hannah (35, born Sedgley), and their 6 children: John J. (15, Pot Caster, born Dudley), Isaiah (13, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Gaius (11, born Tipton), Sarah M. (8, born Tipton), Harold (5, born Tipton), and Annie (2, born Tipton). Also their adopted son Edward Hodgson (19, Horse Driver, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
29 Hill Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Isaiah Brown (47, Widower, Drayman, born Coseley), and 5 of his 6 children: Isaiah Albert (23, Labourer, born Tipton), Gaius (21, Baker, born Tipton), Maud (19, born Tipton), and Annie (12, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Harold attested 12th August 1914 at Wolverhampton, age 19 years and 94 days, 5 feet 3½ inches tall, weighing 120 pounds with 36½-inch chest. He had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and light brown hair, his occupation was stated as Planer. After initial training, he was posted as Driver to 29th Divisional Artillery on 5th January 1915.

Harold was allocated to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, leaving Avonmouth on 17th March 1915, landing in Egypt on 1st April before moving on to Gallipoli, landing at Cape Hellas on 25th April 1915. He was hospitalised on 22nd August 1915 suffering from diarrhoea, only re-joining his unit on 8th October. He was evacuated on 7th January 1916 from Gallipoli to Alexandria, before his unit landed in France on 10th March 1916.

After Harold's death, his army pay and allowances had been overpaid to the value of £1/18/1d (1 pound, 18 shillings and 1 penny). His relatives were informed of this Debit balance in August 1916, but here is no record if repayment was ever requested or made. His War Gratuity was £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings), this was paid to his father, Isaiah, in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Harold had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

Harold received a Gun Shot Wound to the head on 24th May 1916, just a few days after returning from a period of leave. On the 26th May No. 2 Stationary Hospital at Abbeville sent a telegram to his father saying Harold was 'dangerously ill'. His records for 29th May and 26th June state that there was 'no change' and he was still dangerously ill. He died from his wounds just over a month later on 29th June 1916, and is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery. A further telegram was sent to his father on 30th June with the sad news.

Telegram 26th May 1916 from Artillery Records:
Regret to inform you that No. 79119 Driver H Brown is dangerously ill in 2 Stationary Hospital Abbeville suffering from Gun Shot Wounds (Head). Permission to visit cannot be granted.

Telegram 30th June 1916 from Artillery Records:
Regret to inform you War Office reports 79119 Driver H Brown RFA died in 2 Stationary Hospital Abbeville from Gun Shot Wounds (Head) 29.6.16.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 24th June 1916
Wounded: Driver H. Brown, Tipton, RFA.

Tipton Herald 15th July 1916
Official intimation has been received by Mr and Mrs Isiah Brown of 63 Union Street, that their youngest son, Driver Harold Brown of the Royal Field Artillery, has been killed in action.
The unfortunate young soldier, who was only 21 last May, went to Park Lane Council School, and then proceeded to the Horseley Engineering Works. He joined the Army on August 12th 1914, and early this year went to the Dardanelles. He came home on furlough in May last, returning to France on May 19th. On May 24th he was wounded, and lingered for five weeks.
The deceased's elder brother, Albert Brown, age 28, joined the Canadians at the outbreak of war, having been four years in Canada where he married. He is at present in hospital suffering from shrapnel wounds in the shoulder and back.
The bereaved parents have received the following letter from the Chaplain (Rev Milner White):-
"By now you will have heard the sad news of your son's death. One could not wish him to have lived longer wih so bad a head wound,but you will be glad to know he has hardly ever had any pain, and his end was quite painless and peaceful. We all got to love him, suffering so quietly. He and I frequently had prayer together, always remembering the folks at home, and he received gladly the Holy Communion at my hands. Oh that all who die out here made so good an end.
This morning, with military honours and church service, I buried him in the loveliest cemetery I have seen in France. I enclose photos which show how tenderly cared for are our graves in it. If you wish I could get a smaller one taken of your son's actual grave in a few weeks time. The cross already stands on it."

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