2226 Pte John BROWN 1/4th York and Lancaster Regiment.
Killed in Action 7th July 1916.
John was born circa 1896 in Sheffield and can be seen, from the 1901 census, to be living at 4 Aberdeen Street with his family. His parents James and Emma BROWN, one brother Charles and three sisters Emma, Elizabeth and Eleanor. James a picture frame maker, Charles a silversmith and 14 year old Emma a lady’s maid. By 1911 the family are shown to be living at 73 Clarence Street. Eleanor is described as a restaurant assistant and John is employed as a cinematographers assistant.
On 2nd September 1914 at the age of 19 John enlists into the army at Sheffield and is enrolled into the ranks of the 4th York and Lancaster Regiment, The Hallamshire Battalion. His papers now show him to be living at 44 Carter Road, Heeley, Sheffield.
After his initial training John entered France with his battalion on the 13th April 1915. Within 6 months he is wounded and suffers shellshock and is hospitalised from 16th October 1915 to 24th October 1915.
The battalion war diary for October 1915 shows the regiment to be in front line positions near the village of Elverdinghe on the Ypres salient. On the 16th day of the month the front line positions were subjected to a heavy bombardment by enemy artillery causing 13 men to be killed and 35 wounded.
On the 8th December 1915 he comes to the attention of his superiors for having a dirty rifle and is awarded 10 days field punishment No2.
On the 7th July 1916, during the early days of the Somme offensive, he was killed in action.
‘ THE SOMME ‘
From the 1st July 1916 the 1/4th battalion had been in Thiepval Wood and been subjected to poor weather conditions and constant harassing artillery from the Germans. On the 7th July the Germans attacked the positions of the 4th Kings Own Light Infantry. The position was taken by the Germans and the 1/4 York Lancs sustained 4 killed and 10 wounded.
John has no known grave and is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial.
What is particularly sad is the fact that Johns papers record his mother to be widowed in 1918 and living at 187 Chippinghouse Road, Sheffield. It is not really possible to imagine the heartbreak of losing a husband and youngest son within such a close time frame.