William Brown, Private 235168, 2nd Bn. East Lancashire Regiment
Killed in action 21st November 1917 in Belgium, aged 25
William was born in Edale, Derbyshire in July, 1893, and his family later moved to Macclesfield. William was educated at St George’s School and in 1908, when employed as a telegraph boy and living at 9 Congleton Road, William enrolled at Macclesfield Technical School to further his education.
In late 1914, William married Florence Oakes at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield.
Although he was living at Longton, Staffordshire at the time, William enlisted in Macclesfield soon after the outbreak of war, joining the 9th Cheshire Regiment with service number 14700. After training, he was drafted overseas on 19 July 1915, seeing action at La Bassee, Lens, Loos and the Somme. He was wounded in the head during the battle of the Somme in July 1916 and returned to the UK for hospital treatment at Newcastle-on-Tyne.
When fully recovered, William was transferred to the East Lancashire Regiment and returned to the front in June 1917. He was killed in action on 21 November 1917.
William’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 14 December 1917:
Mrs Brown, late of 5 Ivy Lane, Macclesfield, received official notification on Monday that her husband, Pte Wm Brown, East Lancashire Regt, has been killed in France. He was 25 years of age and… was a scholar at Crompton Road Sunday-school.
Further information was printed the following week:
ANOTHER POSTMAN KILLED. ONE OF THE BEST – STUCK TO HIS POST THOUGH WOUNDED
Pte W Brown, late of 5 Ivy Lane, Macclesfield, has been killed in France. Private Brown was twenty-four years of age and enlisted in the Cheshire Regt in September 1914. He was drafted out to France in June, 1915 and took part in severe fighting, notably at La Bassee, Lens, Loos and the Somme. In July 1916 he was wounded in the head and for some time was in hospital at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Upon rejoining his unit he was transferred to the East Lancashire Regt and went out to France again in June this year. Pte Brown was formerly employed as a postman at the local office. He was a prominent member of the Crompton Road Football team.
Miss Holland, a cousin of the deceased soldier, has received the following letter from Sergeant Scott: “Pte Brown was wounded slightly in the head on November 20th, but would not leave the trenches. He was killed the following day along with six of his section. I was very sorry to lose him as he was a most willing lad and one of the best in the trenches.”
Private William Brown is buried in Grave Ref. XV. B. 18. of the Passchendaele New British Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private William Brown, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, William Brown is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church and St Andrew’s Church war memorials and on the Macclesfield Post Office war memorial and roll of honour.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages
National School Admission Registers and Log-books (Find My Past): Macclesfield Technical School
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 14 and 21 December 1917, 23 Sept 1921 (photo supplement)