Wilfred Brough, Private 24737, 8th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 5th April 1916 in Mesopotamia (Iraq), aged 18
Wilfred Brough was born in 1898 at Macclesfield, the son of Frederick and Emily Brough, of 155 Park Lane. Frederick was a baker, working from home, while Emily was employed as a gimp weaver. In 1901, three year old Wilfred was living at 155 Park Lane with his parents and siblings Annie (7) and baby Charlie (3 months). Ten years later in 1911 the family had moved next door to 153 Park Lane and Wilfred was working as an errand boy for the Co-op Society.
Wilfred was educated at Mill Street Wesleyan Day School under Mr Hewitt. He attended Lord Street Sunday School and Park Street Chapel and was a promising footballer, having played for the Lord Street Club. He was also a member of the Macclesfield Concertina Band. Prior to enlistment, Wilfred was employed at the Macclesfield Shoe and Slipper Factory.
Wilfred attested at Macclesfield in January 1915, and after training was drafted with the 8th Cheshire Regiment to Gallipoli, arriving there on 4th October 1915. The regiment was evacuated from Gallipoli by 9th January 1916, moving to Port Said in Egypt.
The 8th battalion, as part of the 13th Division, reached Mesopotamia on 28th February 1916. On 5th April, the 8th Battalion passed through the leading Brigade to the attack of the 3rd Turkish line, in an attempt to relieve Kut. Nothing could be seen of the enemy but gradually fire was felt on the left flank. After moving some 300 yards the enemy fire became heavier and after a further 300 yards the Battalion halted and dug in. They were quite unsupported. They remained here till dark, when they were relieved by the 38th and 39th Brigades. Casualties were two officers killed, seven officers wounded; 28 men killed, 170 wounded and seven missing. Wilfred was killed in action on this day, aged 18 years.
A report of Wilfred’s death was printed in the Macclesfield Times of 12th May 1916:
Mr and Mrs Frederick Brough, 41 Buckley St, Macclesfield, have received an official intimation stating that their son, Private Wilfred Brough, 8th Cheshire Regt, has been killed in action on April 5th at a place not stated. Private Brough went out to the Dardanelles on September 22nd 1915, and was at the evacuation of Suvla. He then was in Egypt, and subsequently to Mesopotamia on February 12th…
Private Brough enlisted about sixteen months ago… He has two uncles serving in France and one in Egypt, while another is in training in Oswestry. Private Brough was killed on the day the battle of Sanna-el-Yat was fought. He had a cheery and unselfish disposition and was well-known in the town.
… Mr and Mrs Brough received a letter from their son dated March 27th, which reached them the day they learned of his death. The letter was written from the Indian Expeditionary Force, and stated:- “We have just been paid ten rupees (13s 4d) so I am having a bit of a ‘tuck in’. For tea I had biscuits, pineapple, salmon, etc. Things are very dear and you have to pay one rupee (1s 4d) for a half-pound packet of biscuits and the same for pineapple and salmon. I have bought enough tobacco and cigarettes to last for three weeks… The sun nearly roasts you in the day-time out here and you nearly freeze at night.”
We have received the following tribute to the character and worth of the late Private Brough from three former comrades who are at the Kimnel Park Convalescent Camp.
Sir – it is with deep regret that we have heard of the death of still one more brave Macclesfield boy, who has been killed in action in Mesopotamia – Private Wilfred Brough, 8th Cheshires. We last saw Wilfred in the trenches at Suvla Bay before we were invalided home just prior to the evacuation. He was a good lad, a good chum, and loved to work. He was attached to the machine-gun section. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved relatives.
We are also anxious about the other Macclesfield boys of the 8th: Privates Tom Holt, Sutton; Harry Barton, Sutton; Joseph West, Bollington; Lance-Corpl Edwin Arnold, Kerridge; and Private Benjamin Press, Bollington. Any information regarding our comrades will be gratefully received by
PRIVATE J. A. GOODWIN, PRIVATE DAVID BAMBER, 8th Ches. Regt., PRIVATE WILLIAM RIGBY, 13th Ches. Regt.
Private Wilfred Brough has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 14 and 62 of the Basra Memorial, Iraq. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Wilfred Brough, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.