Private 3400 Thomas Brown

 Brown Thomas 96 450x600

Killed in Action on Thursday, 20th July 1916, age unknown.
Buried in Grave I. A. 49. at Hamel Military Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France.

1st/2nd Bn., Monmouthshire Regiment. Pioneer Battalion of 29th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Pontypool, Resident: Monmouth.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/598347/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
178 March Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough.
James Brown (24, Iron Worker, born Princes End), his wife Ellen (25, born Princes End), and their 2 children: Harriet (4, born Princes End), and Thomas (1, born Princes End).

1901 Census
9 Grove Place, Griffithstown, Pontypool, Montgomeryshire.
James Brown (34, Sheet Iron Worker, born Sedgley), his wife Ellen Virtue (35, born Sedgley), and their 5 children: Harriet (14, born Tipton), John Thomas (11, School, born Tipton), Richard (4, born Griffithstown), William James (2, born Griffithstown), and Violet Ellen (2 months, born Griffithstown).

1911 Census
28 Edward Street, Griffithstown, Newport, Monmouthshire.
James Brown (45, Bar Heater in Galvanised Iron Works, born Tipton), his wife Ellen Virtue (46, born Tipton), and their 6 surviving children of 10: John Thomas (21, Doubler in Sheet Mill, born Tipton), Richard (14, Shearer's Scrap Lad in Mill, born Griffithstown), William James (12, School, born Griffithstown), Violet Ellen (10, School, born Griffithstown), Olive Virtue (7, School, born Griffithstown), and Arthur Henry (5, School, born Griffithstown). Also Frank Ratcliffe (21, Nephew, Screwer in Sheet Mill, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Thomas lived for only a short period of his life in Tipton. Thomas was born in 1889/1890 in Princes End, Tipton, but by 1891 the family were living in Middlesbrough, and by the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses the family were living in Griffithstown, Pontypool in Wales.

After Thomas's death, his father, James, received his son's outstanding army pay and allowances amounting to £3/5/5d (3 pounds, 5 shillings and 5 pence). In August 1919, Thomas's War Gratuity was also paid to his father; this was for the sum of £3/0/0d. This value suggests that Thomas had been in the army for less than 12 months so enlisting after July 1915.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st/2nd Bn., Monmouthshire Regiment were the Divisional Pioneers to the 29th Division, primarily labourers. The 29th Division included the 1st Newfoundland Regiment who famously attacked near the eponymous Newfoundland Park, Beaumont Hamel, on 1st July 1916. The Monmouths were also involved on that day providing numerous work parties; they had 28 men killed on that day.

During July 1916 the Monmouths were based in Mailly Wood, a mile to the west of Auchonvillers. Working parties were sent forward, generally at night, which were mostly involved in trench digging. From the 18th July, the Monmouths were to dig a new trench in advance of the existing front line with connecting communication trenches. This was close to the location of today's Newfoundland Park mentioned above, near a feature known as the 'Mary Redan'.

The War Diary for the 19th July records: "Enemy shelled trench persistently with Mortars, Shrapnel, High Explosive and Rifle Grenades. Ceased work at 2.30am. Casualties: Other Ranks: killed 2, wounded 15, slightly wounded (still at duty) 8, total 27."

Although this is the War Diary entry for the 19th July, as it covers overnight work the 2 deaths recorded will be Pte 3400 Thomas Brown and Pte 3389 John James who are both shown as killed on 20th July by the Commonwealth War Graves. They had both enlisted in Pontypool, possibly on the same day as their numbers are close together. They are buried side by side in Hamel Military Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings