Arthur Brown

Private Arthur Brown, 271 Company, Machine Gun Corps. Service number 86221.

Private Arthur Brown.

Arthur was born in Oakworth on May 2, 1891 and baptised at Christ Church on June 14 the same year. His parents were James and Betty Brown and they lived at Goodley, just across the road from the church. James was a cloth dresser.
By 1901 Arthur was nine years old and living with his parents and older brother Louis at Oakworth Hall. Father James was working as a cotton warp dresser.
By 1911 Arthur was nineteen years old and working as a warp dresser. He was lodging at 5, Mill Lane, Lane Ends in Oakworth, with Henry and Alice Wildman and their two sons Gordon and William.
Later he was living with his Uncle and Aunt (John and Jane Walker) at 16, Mount View in Oakworth. Arthur was a cousin of Herbert Brown, the well-known baritone vocalist, and Arthur also showed great promise as a vocalist and was well known in the district. He enlisted with the 3rd Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment at Haworth on November 14, 1916, at the age of 24 years and 7 months, probably in response to call-up papers. He then reported to Halifax for the start of his training. At the time he was working as a warp dresser for William Haggas and Sons in Oakworth.

He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on February 14, 1917 and then to France with the British Expeditionary Force on July 12 with 232 Company, Machine Gun Corps. He was posted to 271 Company and embarked at Marseilles on October 14. They disembarked in Basrah on November 9.

On April 2, 1918 he embarked at Basra and on April 15 they disembarked at Suez, to be taken on strength of the Egypt Expeditionary Force.
He was drowned whilst in passage on HM Transport ship 'Leasowe Castle' which was sunk on 27th May 1917 by a torpedo from the German submarine UB-51, whilst on passage from Alexandria to Marseilles. Eight-three officers and men died in the sinking. Arthur's body was never found and his name is remembered on the Chatby Memorial in Alexandria, Egypt.

Keighley News July 20, 1918 page 3:

Private A. Brown, Machine Gun Corps, who lived with his uncle and aunt at Mount View, Oakworth, is reported believed drowned at sea. Private Brown, who was a cousin of Mr. Herbert Brown, the well-known baritone vocalist, also showed great promise as a vocalist and was well known in the district. In a letter to his uncle, Private Brown's officer writes: "Your nephew was an efficient soldier, but it is as a singer we shall miss him most. Whether on the march, in the camp, or at an entertainment he was always ready to cheer us up with some really good singing." The receptions he got on the transports were simple testimony to the fact that the British soldier does appreciate first-class singing when he can get it. Before enlistment Private Brown was employed by Messrs. William Haggas & Sons, Oakworth.

Arthur was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service.

He is also remembered on the Oakworth War Memorial and on the Oakworth Wesleyan roll of honour in Oakworth Methodist Church.

Source information:
Birth, marriage and death records.
1901 and 1911 census.
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920.
Army service records.
Keighley News archives, Keighley Library.

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