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(I am grateful to Derek Brown, David Brown’s nephew, for the photographs in this biography)

20775 PTE DAVID BROWN 1

David Brown was born in February 1891 in Preston.  His father was Edward Brown (b. 1866 in Chorley), an engineer in charge at a print works.  His mother was Annie Ferguson (b. 1867 in Preston).  Edward and Annie were married in Preston in 1889 and had 10 children, all of whom survived: Mary (b 1889), then David, Alice (b. 1892), Elizabeth (b. 1893), Florence (b. 1896), Josephine (b. 1897), Edward (b. 1901), Margaret (b. 1903), Nellie (b. 1905) and finally Richard (b. 1907).

In 1911, Edward and Annie and 9 of their children were living at 22 Mersey Street, Watery Lane, Preston, but David (then aged 20) had moved out and I haven’t located him in the 1911 Census.

David Brown as a young boy, with family members, c. 1900.

David Brown as a young boy, with family members, c. 1900.

David Brown (standing, with Loyals lapel badge) with two sisters probably Margaret and Nellie, youngest brother Richard and mother Annie. c. 1913?

David Brown (standing, with Loyals lapel badge) with two sisters probably Margaret and Nellie, youngest brother Richard and mother Annie. c. 1913?

David Brown (seated on the wall), with his sister Alice and her husband-to-be John (Jack) Atkinson. Alice and Jack did not marry until 1919, this photo is c. 1914. Jack also served in the Loyals – he is standing on the left in this photo, thought to have been taken on the Somme in 1916.

David Brown (seated on the wall), with his sister Alice and her husband-to-be John (Jack) Atkinson. Alice and Jack did not marry until 1919, this photo is c. 1914. Jack also served in the Loyals – he is standing on the left in this photo, thought to have been taken on the Somme in 1916.

Jack Atkinson also served in the Loyals – he is standing on the left in this photo, thought to have been taken on the Somme in 1916.

Jack Atkinson also served in the Loyals – he is standing on the left in this photo, thought to have been taken on the Somme in 1916.

David enlisted with the Loyals probably early in 1915 and was assigned service number 20775 and posted to 6 Battalion. 6Bn was formed in August 1914 and was sent after training to Gallipoli, where they landed on 6 July 1915. 6Bn also participated in the failed attempt to capture Chunuk Bair in August that year, but at the time David was still back home in training. He landed in Gallipoli with reinforcements on 14 November 1915. By the end of the month, the Bn consisted of 15 officers and 619 other ranks, still only about 2/3 its full fighting strength. The main campaigns in the peninsula were over but the conditions were appalling as winter drew on and the shelling of opposing trenches continued unabated. That same month, the decision was taken to evacuate the peninsula and the Bn left for Egypt via Lemnos at the end of December.

Also in November 1915, British and Indian forces under General Townshend had attempted to take Baghdad, in Mesopotamia, but had failed and retreated to Kut-al-Amara, where they became besieged by the opposing Ottoman forces. The decision was taken that the 13th Division (of which 6Bn formed a part) should move to Mesopotamia to join the attempt to relieve Kut. The Division left Port Said on 14 February 1916 and arrived via Basra at Sheik Saad (on the River Tigris 20 miles east of Kut) on 11 March, where they immediately went into training, with the emphasis on preparation for long marches. By the beginning of April, the Battalion was now approaching full strength, with 32 officers and 949 other ranks. On 5-8 April, they attempted an attack on the village of Sannaiyat, midway between Sheik Saad and Kut, but after initial success, the attack failed and the battalion suffered heavy losses. Further attempts to progress towards Kut also failed and by the end of April, the strength of the battalion was down to 10 officers and 508 other ranks. On 28 April, Kut surrendered, the most abject defeat of British and Indian forces in the whole War. In the 5-month long defence of Kut, 24,000 men had been killed, wounded or taken prisoner.

From April to September, in the torrid heat, it proved impossible to renew hostilities and both sides suffered enormously from heat, exhaustion and sickness. Significant military reorganisation was now taking place. Townshend had surrendered at Kut and the man who had been sent to relieve the garrison, Gorringe, was also replaced. The new man in charge was Sir Frederick Maude, who would eventually be recognised as the most effective military leader in the region. Maude was appointed to command the Tigris Corps in July 1916 and immediately set about reorganising and resupplying the British and Indian troops in Mesopotamia. The campaign to retake Kut began in December 1916 but progress was painfully slow and it wasn’t until February that a final push managed to dislodge the Turkish forces. Some manoeuvring took place along the river in the first few days of February but a more concerted attempt to advance was made from 15-18 February. It was on the first day of this operation that David Brown was killed. He was 26 years old. Kut was eventually taken at the end of February and the following month, General Maude advanced to take Baghdad.

avid Brown’s sisters, Margaret (left) and Florence (right), wearing Loyals sweetheart brooches.

avid Brown’s sisters, Margaret (left) and Florence (right), wearing Loyals sweetheart brooches.

A view of the Tigris, c. 1916

A view of the Tigris River, c. 1916

The reverse of this photograph says “Table Mountain. Lovely spot but very dangerous after dark (mountain bandits)”. Probably Mesopotamia, 1916.

The reverse of this photograph says “Table Mountain. Lovely spot but very dangerous after dark (mountain bandits)”.
Probably Mesopotamia, 1916.

Rank: Private
Service No: 20775
Date of Death: 15/02/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Grave Reference: XXIX. A. 1/28.
Cemetery: AMARA WAR CEMETERY

36 other men from 6Bn lost their lives the same day:

2787 PTE. W BILLINGTON
18226 PTE. D H BOLTON
18790 PTE. J CALDERBANK
23375 PTE. H CAPELL
21881 PTE. S CHALLINOR
19315 PTE. A COOKE
17236 CSM. H A COOPER
21204 PTE. R COTTAM
21103 PTE. J E CRONNELL
23730 LCPL. W E CROSSLEY
31717 LCPL. E DONNELLY
23285 PTE. J ENTWISTLE
23382 PTE. R FELLOWS
11921 PTE. J FORD
23393 PTE. E F HAIGH
21134 LCPL. J HASLAM
18874 PTE. W JOULE
20923 PTE. W A KAY
21002 PTE. J LITTLE
24735 PTE. T MARTINDALE
21094 PTE. H NIGHTINGALE
11757 PTE. T PALMER
19656 CPL. A PARTINGTON
9215 CPL. J ROBINSON
12144 SGT. W ROYLES
21040 PTE. F SMITH
11663 PTE. G STANLEY
20949 PTE. M SUTTON
23513 PTE. A THORNLEY
19142 PTE. E TOOK
20836 PTE. J TOWNLEY
22838 PTE. J WARD
23816 PTE. J WATERHOUSE
31719 PTE. R G WEBSTER
20546 PTE. J WELDON
10294 LSGT. W WHITTINGHAM

Bill Brierley

Bill Brierley

Before taking early retirement in 2007 and returning to his native Lancashire in 2009, Bill Brierley was head of the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth.Bill has researched his own family history and has developed a further interest in World War 1 especially as it impacted on the villages of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge, where his family originates from.Bill has also displayed his work at Lostock Hall library and contributed to other displays at Leyland Library and South Ribble Museum.
Bill Brierley

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