Private Arthur Gwilliam BROWN


Regiment/Service:
Honourable Artillery Company
Unit:
2nd Battalion
Service Number:
10570
Date of Death:
9 October 1917 - Killed in Action
Age:
36
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 7.

Personal History:
Arthur was born in Duckinfield, Cheshire on 22nd November 1880 at 15 Closes, Matley, Cheshire, the son of William Henry "Commercial Clerk, out of employ, late with Railway Coy." and Florence Laverack Brown. He had two older sisters, Florence and Dorothy Jane. (1881 Census RG 11/4063) In the next few years Arthur's father died and sister Dorothy Jane also sadly died in the March quarter 1890. In 1891 (Census RG 12/3160) widowed Florence and Arthur were living at 11 Poplar Grove, Urmston, Lancs. Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/223) Arthur had moved to Hackney, London and was lodging at 11 Phillips Road, employed as a "D*****s Assistant". 
On the 4th February 1909 Arthur married Jessie Holt at Manchester Cathedral and in 1911 they were living at 4 Queens Drive, Sedgley Park, Prestwich, Lancashire with their 1 year old daughter, Joan. Arthur was employed as an "Undershirt Manufacturer". (Census RG 14/24209). They later had three more children, Nancy in 1913, David in 1915 and Gwilliam, born 2nd December 1917 - two months after Arthur was killed. The 'De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour' (Vol. 3, p. 38) states that he was the sole proprietor of a 'Ladies Underskirt Manufacturer' at 27 Cannon Street, Manchester.

The SDGW database simply states he was "Living in Buxton", but information drawn from the HAC 2nd Battalion database list shows  that the family had moved to Wye Head, Macclesfield Road, Buxton.

Military History:
Arthur's Service Records have not survived, but the 'De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour' (Vol. 3, p. 38) gives his enlistment date with H.A.C. as 4th March 1917 at Derby, and joined his Battalion in France on 29th May.

The 2/1st Battalion had originally landed at Le Havre on the 3rd October 1916 and placed under command of 22nd Brigade in 7th Division. Arthur arrived just in time for the start of The Third Battle of Ypres, (31st July - 10th November 1917) and the Division were in action at The Battle of Polygon Wood, (26th September - 3rd October 1917) before he was killed undoubtedly during The Battle of Poelcapelle on the 9th October 1917, a phase in Third Ypres. On that day 97 Officers and men of the 2nd Battalion were killed in action, all but 10 have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Five more died of wounds in the next few days.

                                   

The purpose of this attack was to straighten out the sharp salient in which the right of the Division had been left owing to the 21st Division not having secured their final objectives on October 4th; in addition it was desired to capture Judge Cottage, Judge Copse and the village of Reutel, whence valuable observation could be obtained by the enemy over the valley of Reutel Beek. The task allotted to the 2nd H.AC. was to capture the village of Reutel and gain touch with the 5th Division about Juniper Cottage, while that of the 2nd Warwicks, on the left of the H.AC., was to capture Judge Copse and Judge Cottage and ground as far as the eastern limits of Reutel. The whole area was a vast sea of mud, which made the assembly unusually difficult. Dispositions for the attack were as under:

     "C" Company on the right under Capt. D. Brunton.
     "D" Company on the left under Lieut. C. W. Sanders.
     "A" Company in support under Capt. F. A Garrett.
     "B" Company in reserve under Capt. D. M. Bluett.

Between 6 and 9 p.m. on the 8th the forming-up tape was laid
out by Lieut. S. E. Sandle, M.C., D.C.M., and by 4.00 a.m. the
forming-up was complete. Heavy casualties were sustained,
however, in the process of assembly, so Lieut.-Col. O'Connor
attached two platoons of "A" Company to "C" and "D"
Companies respectively for the assault.

On the 8th, and before the hour of attack on the 9th, the casualties had included 2nd Lieuts.
S. C. East and H. B. Belder and about 40 other ranks. At 5.30a.m. the assault began.

2/Lt. Sydney Clark EAST is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. 2/Lt. H. B. Belder
was wounded and survived.

The War Diary for the 9th gives details of how the following day's battle developed:

" 4.00 a.m. Forming up complete. "B" Coy withdrew to reserve in JOLTING SUPPORT
TRENCH
4.30 a.m. 1 Platoon from Support Coy moved up to reinforce each of the attacking coys
to replace casualties.
5.00 a.m. In touch with R. WARWICKSHIRE REGT.
Casualties during 8th and forming up 2 Lieuts. H. B. BELDER and S. C. EAST and about
40 O. Ranks including 3 Sgts from "D" Coy
5,20 a.m. Zero. Assault commenced,
5.25 a.m. Enemy counter barrage came down on line JOLTING & JUDGE TRENCHES
from direction of BECELAERE
5.25 a.m. 2 Lieut. H. J. SHELBOURNE wounded [2 Lieut] R. G. GODDARD KILLED
5.30 a.m. CAPT GARRETT cmdg. Support Coy was wounded whilst going forward to reconnoitre.
5.50 a.m. Objective reached by isolated parties of men but owing to heavy losses especially of Officers and N.C.O.s little news was sent back and situation was obscure.
6.10 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. During this period enemy barrage slackened but M. G. fire from direction of Judge Copse was practically continuous. GREEN LIGHTS (Signal that objective had been gained) observed from JUDGE COTT and CEMETERY and JUNIPER COT. Some of these were later proved to be enemy signals
7.30 a.m. 2Lt R. MELDRUM reported badly wounded R.W.F. took up position as before the attack.
10.0 a.m. CAPT D. BRUNTON cmdg "D" Coy badly wounded in head and died shortly afterwards
12.25 p.m. R.W.F. patrols reported as follows
        (a) Our troops seen near JUNIPER COTTAGE
        (b) One wounded offr. and two men in gun pit near CEMETERY About 40 o. ranks along old trench thro REUTEL some were sent to GUN PIT
        (c) Several men about PILL BOX near J 11d25.60
11.55 a.m. CAPTAIN MURRAY (Adjutant) left adv. Battn report centre to investigate above reports and was shortly afterwards shot through the head. Situation now as per map marked B in appendix
about 5.00 p.m. RELIEF orders marked "C" in appendix received at Adv. Bn. Report centre
11.15 p.m. 2Lt. R. ADAMS proceeded to REUTEL with 37 o. ranks "B" Coy with orders to effect a relief. "

2/Lt. Ralph Garnett GODDARD, 2/Lt Ronald MELDRUM, Capt. Douglas BRUNTON, and A/Capt. Ernest Francis Hume MURRAY are all commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, as is 2/Lt Percy Cecil BLISSETT, also killed in action on the 9th October.

                



Arthur was killed in action at Reutel, Passchendaele, ".. whilst dressing the wounds of a comrade". He was one of 7 Officers and 89 other ranks of the Honourable Artillery Company killed that day with another 13 killed or died of wounds in the following week. Reutel is a hamlet about 8 km west of Ieper and 1 km west of Polygon Wood.

Arthur's body was never recovered from the battlefield. Only 7 of his comrades have  burial site, the other 90 are commemorated, like Arthur, on the wall of the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing about two miles from where he was killed.

Footnote:
· Another Buxton man, Gnr. 10209 James William JOPLING, of the same Battalion, died on the 11th October 1917 of wounds received on the 9th.

Sources:
· The 'De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour' (Vol. 3, p. 38)
· "The Honourable Artillery Company in the Great War 1914-1919" by Major G. Goold Walker DSO (ISBN: 9781843427599)
· TNA Trench Map Atlas DVD from Naval and Military Press
· I am grateful to Gerd De Boeck for the information from the War Diary and Battalion History, especially for permission to use his History as a 
  downloadable file.

Link to CWGC Record
Tyne Cot Memorial
Private A G Brown's name on the Memorial
Map of the Attack - IWM M5_239
Map of the Attack
Battalion Movements on 9 October
Battalion Movements on 9 October
poppy
... about The Battle of Poelcapelle
.... download a .pdf file with a full account of the Battlion's actions in October 1917 (This may take a while to download)
CLICK ON EITHER MAP TO ENLARGE