Second Lieutenant George Easter Brown. 1st Battalion. Drowned 20th April 1917 near Bailleul, aged 25. No known grave. Commemorated on Arras Memorial, France.
- Born on on 16th April 1892 (Easter Saturday) in Winslow, Buckinghamshire
- Fourth of nine children born to Thomas Robert Brown, a domestic coachman, and Florence Mary Brown.
- Started work with the Great Western Railway Company on 9th June 1908 as a Lad Clerk on a salary of £25 per year.
- Living with his parents and some of his siblings, at 91 High Street, Teddington, Middlesex and had been promoted to Clerk by April 1911 (census)
- Admitted in to the HAC on 24th August 1914
- Went to France on 18th September 1914
- Promotion from Serjeant to Second Lieutenant published in London Gazette on 1st January 1917 although medal index shows that he was actually commissioned on 20th February 1915
- Died when he jumped into a well, having mistaken it for a shell hole
- No known grave
- Commemorated on Arras Memorial, France
- Bay 1
- Also commemorated on Teddington War Memorial, Hampton Grammar School War Memorial and on the gravestone of Mary Ann Brown (d. 20.1.18), Thomas Robert Brown (d.16.12.1933) and Florence Mary Brown (d.21.3.1952) in Teddington Cemetery (Plot: L-Border C4.446).
“… between 8.30pm and 10.30pm hostile shelling was very heavy, and [Second] Lieut. G. E. Brown, who had been looking after the rations at the ration dump, met his death at Bailleul under tragic conditions. The shelling was particularly heavy, and he jumped to take cover in what he thought was a shell-hole, but which happened to be a well a hundred feet deep, containing forty feet of water. The Sergeant with him immediately took off his putties in order to lower them down the well, when he was rendered unconscious by a bursting shell. When help arrived it was too late to save Lieut. Brown’s life.”
(Extract from The Honourable Artillery Company 1914-1919 by Major G. Goold Walker DSO, MC)
The battalion war diary suggests that initially the Sergeant (who is named as A. A. Ellis) was able to talk to Brown but during the delay before help could be brought Brown drowned. The day after his fatal error, a party of Royal Engineers attempted to recover his body, but without success. They calculated the depth of the well and the water.
Although the regimental history refers to Brown as being a Lieutenant, numerous other records all clearly state that he held the rank of Second Lieutenant.
1911 Census for 91 High Street, Teddington, accessed via Ancestry.com on 1st June 2013
Supplement to the London Gazette dated 1st January 1917, accessed through www.london-gazette.co.uk on 1st June 2013
The Honourable Artillery Company 1914-1919 by Major G. Goold Walker DSO, MC, London, 1930.
War diary of the 1st Battalion HAC, accessed online through the National Archives 1st June 2013
www.findagrave.com accessed 1st June 2013
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1919 accessed via Ancestry.co.uk on 2nd June 2013.