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John Brown`s parents were John and Sarah Ann Brown (nee Aspin). They had married at St. Michael`s Church, Kirkham in 1885. In 1886 their first child was born, a daughter named Mary Ellen, she was followed by Alice (1888) and then John was born in 1890. A daughter Lily was born in 1892 but she died in 1893. Then there was another daughter named Lily again who was born in 1895 but sadly she died in 1899 at the age of four. In 1903 the last of John and Sarah Ann`s children was born, another son they named Fred.

The 1911 Census shows the family living at 70 Station Road, Kirkham. John`s father was working for the Co-op as a coal porter. John and his two sisters Mary Ellen and Alice were all employed as cotton weavers in a local mill.

From the information in the first newspaper article John Brown apparently enlisted in August 1914, this would probably have been when the big recruiting rally took place in late August 1914 at the Market Square, Kirkham. It is very likely that John marched from Kirkham to Preston recruiting office with another 120 men from the district on the morning of the 1 September, 1914 to join “Kitchener`s Army”.

Unfortunately it seems that John`s service papers have not survived so no further information is available. However, the following newspaper clipping appeared in the Preston Guardian on 12 August, 1916.

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The article being published on 12 August, 1916 probably indicates that John received his wounds when the 7th Battalion were involved in actions on the Somme.

Apparently John`s wounds were indeed quite serious and as well as injuries to a leg and his back the article refers to an arm being broken, unfortunately this eventually led to his arm being amputated.

The next article describes how the local Kirkham people rallied round and held a benefit night to raise funds for him. It would appear from the article that the event was quite a success. The benefit evening took place on Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) which was on the 20 February in 1917. The following article was printed in the Preston Guardian four days later on 24 February.

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John was officially discharged from the Army on 21 March, 1917 and was awarded a Silver War Badge which was numbered 124393.
After the war John would have been entitled to the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service and the sacrifice he made for his country.

The next part of John`s story now moves on to 12 September, 1931 when John married Alice Kirkham at St. Nicholas`s Church, Wrea Green, near Kirkham. According to the parish marriage record John now aged 40 was a batchelor and his occupation was an Insurance Agent. His new wife Alice was ten years his junior and she lived at 7 North View, Wrea Green. There are no records to show that John and Alice ever had any children.
After they married John and Alice moved in to number 4 North View, Ribby Road, Wrea Green and lived there together until John had a terrible accident on 24 January, 1948.

The Preston Guardian printed a report on the accident on 31 January, 1948.

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The article mentions that John was a prominent worker for the Parish Church in Kirkham and it seems he was also in the choir there. After he died John was taken back to St. Michael`s Church in Kirkham and was buried there on 29 January, 1948.

When the monumental inscriptions were recorded for St. Michael`s Church a bit of extra information about John`s accident came to light courtesy of a nephew of John. This was added by the transcriber.

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Author’s Note: There does not seem to be a death for Alice and a remarriage for a John Brown to Ann. Possibly the above `Ann` Brown has been incorrectly inscribed on the kerb or perhaps the transcription is incorrect.

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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