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Joseph Brown was born and brought up in Preston and was the youngest of seven children born to James Charles Brown and Phoebe Rogerson. James and Phoebe married in Preston in 1882, a daughter Lucy was born in the same year but sadly she died in infancy. Lucy was followed by five brothers; John (1883), Arthur (1884-1884), twins James Charles and Arthur (1886), William Henry (1889) and finally Joseph in 1894*.

In 1901 the family residence was in Snow Hill in Preston. Joseph`s father was working as a `bill poster`, his eldest brother John was a general labourer while James and Arthur were both cotton creelers. Joseph`s widowed grandfather John Rogerson, a blacksmith was also lodging with the family at the time.

The following year his father died at the age of 41 and sadly his mother Phoebe passed away two years later in 1904 when Joseph was only ten years old and his brother William Henry was fifteen.

At some time during 1911 Joseph left his job as a weaver and became 10193 Private Joseph Brown after enlisting into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The Regiment was stationed at Fulwood Barracks when the 1911 Census was recorded and Joseph is shown as being present at the time.

On the 12 August, 1914, still with the 1st Battalion, Joseph landed in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force and would have been present at the battle and subsequent retreat from Mons. He would have seen action in the Battles of the Marne, Aisne and the First Battle of Ypres and going into 1915 at Neuve Chappelle and Aubers Ridge amongst others.

After the Battle of Aubers Ridge on the 9 May, 1915 the next couple of months was comparatively quiet, the Battalion receiving drafts of Officers and men to bring them back up to strength after recent losses.

Sadly, on the 2 August, 1915 Joseph died as a result of a bombing accident aged 21 years old.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary – 31st July – 2nd August 1915
31st July -“We marched to Sailly LaBourse and Beuvry and went into billets at the Orphanage.

1st August – At Bethune – A day of rest and cleaning up. The men are in good billets but rather crowded.

2nd August – Training on the usual lines. We have four officers and some N.C.O. `s attached to us for instruction in bomb throwing. This is not fair on the Battalion to make a school of us when sent back to rest and it is as much as we can do to train ourselves.

During the practice with live bombs in the morning a premature explosion of one of the grenades seriously wounded five men and Lt. Bunbury who was in charge of the party received a slight wound in the leg.

Later a similar accident occurred to `A Coy`s` party and the thrower Private Brown was killed. In both cases the bomb went off in the throwers hands and can only be accounted for by either a defective fuse or one which had been tampered with and badly fitted up”

William Henry Brown informed the Preston Guardian of the death of his younger brother and the following article and photograph was published a short while later.



Joseph`s service papers have not survived so we do not know whether any of his personal possessions were ever returned to his family in Preston.
His family would have received the 1914 Star and Clasp, British War and Victory Medals that he was entitled to.

Joseph was buried with honour in Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Janet Davis
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