Private Lionel BROWN

Royal Warwickshire Regiment
(Formerly: Somerset Light Infantry)
9th Battalion
Service Number:
(Fmly: 23629 Somerset Light Infantry)
Date of Death:
11 November 1918 - Died (Mesopotamia)
- Armistice Day
Cemetery / Memorial:
Cemetery Reference:
III. E. 15

Personal History:
Lionel Brown was born on 8th February 1885, the son and fifth child of William Charles Day Brown (1850-1894), a Buxton chef, and Ann Elizabeth Phillips (1853-1923). . 
The Brown family came from Oxford and before that, during the early nineteenth century, from London. Ann Elizabeth was born in Clapham, Surrey and moved to Derbyshire where she worked in the silk industry. She married William at Leek, Staffordshire, in 1877.

Lionelís siblings were Ernest Charles James (1879-1960), Edith Lizzie (1880-1968), William Day (1881-1937), Lily Sarah (1882-1961), Arthur Percy (1886-1967) and Doris Geraldine (1895-1905). Of these seven children, only Ernest and William went on to marry and only Ernest had children.

All four male children fought in the Great War. From a photograph, his cap and cap badge suggest William (Billy) probably enlisted in a Scottish Regiment. He was gassed and invalided out of the army. Arthur (known as Percy) joined the 19th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and, after about a year, he too was discharged on medical grounds (VDH). Ernest, the eldest brother, returned from Rhodesia to enlist in the Artillery. He rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant and survived the war.

Military History:
Lionel enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry at St Alban's, Herts.(where his mother and sisters had moved post 1911). His Medal Index Card shows that he entered the War in France after 1915, as he was not eligible for the 1914/15 Star Medal. His Service papers have not survived and without them it is not possible to say what his War service postings were, nor when he transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His Service Number in the Somerset Light Infantry would suggest he enlisted early in 1916.

The 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, had originally been formed at Warwick in August 1914 as part of K1 (Kitchener's First New Army) and came under command of 39th Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. The Battalion moved to Gallipoli in July 1915 and on to Egypt in January 1916 and from there to Mesopotamia in February 1916. In July 1918, the 39th Brigade detached and was sent as part of North Persia Force. In October 1918 they were in Transcaspia.

As the CWGC reference to Lionel states: "Died" (i.e. as opposed to 'Died of wounds' etc.) Capt. W. A. L. Dunlop (RAMC), in a poignant letter to Lionelís mother (dated 1st May 1919), writes that after contracting malaria her son became his patient in the Kasvin Hospital (in what was then Northern Persia). Like so many others during that time, Lionel then caught influenza, which soon developed into pneumonia.

Lionel passed away on the very day The Great War ended - Armistice Day - 11th November 1918, aged 33, and was buried in the cemetery at Kasvin.  His grave and memorial now lie within the Tehran War Cemetery. The Tehran War Cemetery, where he is buried, was not built until 1962 and brought together burials from nine earlier burial grounds.

· I am grateful to The British War Graves for the photo of Lionel's grave
· I am also grateful to Lionel's great-niece, Sue Lane, who supplied the photograph and was kind enough to correct errors in my original text.

Link to CWGC Record
Pt Lionel Brown's grave