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79951 Private Thomas Brown
2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry
13th December 1918


Born in 1881 in Hanley, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.

His parents were James Brown(1847-1914) and Mary Tipper(1845-1886). They were married in 1874.

Thomas had a sister, Emma(09/07/1876-05/01/1948).

In the 1891 census, the family were recorded as living at 31 Clyde Street, Hanley, Stoke on Trent.

James was employed as a potters warehouseman, whilst Thomas was still at school.

At some point before the next census in 1901. Thomas enlisted in the 3rd(Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards as Private 4261.

He went on to serve in the second Boer War(1899-1902) and was awarded the Queens South Africa medal (awarded to military personnel  and civilian officials that served in South Africa from 11/10/1899 to 31/05/1902. He was also issued 2 clasps, South Africa 1901( All those who served in South Africa between 1st January 1901 and the 31st December 1901, both dates inclusive) and  South Africa 1902(All those who served in South Africa between 1st January 1902 and the 31st May 1902, both dates inclusive).*

*Queens South Africa Medal  

No date is available as to when Thomas left the Dragoon Guards, but on 25/10/1905 he was back in his home town marrying Emily Nicholson(09/01/1881-1963) and they went on to have 4 children, Violet Ethel(30/09/1906-1991), Lily(07/04/1909-1992), Rose(07/01/1911-1993) and Arthur James(15/02/1914-27/11/2008).

In the 1911 census the family were recorded as living at 39 Vincent Street, Hanley, Stoke on Trent. Thomas was employed

as a plate layers labourer at a colliery company.

At the outbreak of the first world war, Thomas  was now working as a postman, (he and his family were now living at

105 Newcastle Road, Talke, Stoke on Trent) before re-enlisting in Tunstall, Staffordshire on 09/12/1915 as Private 25574

in the 4th Staffordshire Regiment. Details from his medical performed the same day are as follows;

Apparent Age- 34 years, Height - 5ft 71/8 inches, weight - 124lbs

Chest Measurement - Girth when fully expanded 35 inches, Range of expansion - 31/2 inches 

Complexion - Fresh, Colour of Hair - Light Brown, Colour of Eyes - Grey, Religion - Wesleyan.

He was placed in the army reserve the next day and wasn't mobilized until 31/05/1916 and was posted on 01/06/1916.

Thomas was appointed a Lance Corporal on 18/07/1916 and then a couple of months later was transferred to Training Reserve Battalion 1st Reserve Brigade on 01/09/1916.

At the very start of the new year(01/01/1917) he was appointed Acting Corporal. Thomas was then transferred on 01/07/1917 to 258th Battalion.(Originally the 11th (Reserve) Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment, before becoming the 4th Training Reserve Battalion, and then the 258th Battalion in 215th Brigade of the 72nd (Home Service) Division)*

*Durham Light Infantry. This became the 51st (Graduated) Battalion Training  Durham Light Infantry. Whilst here his service number became T.R./5/12847.

On 04/12/1917, Thomas was charged on 2 counts;

1) Without reasonable excuse allowing Private Gofton to escape when committed to his charge on 28/11/1917.

2) Without reasonable excuse allowing Private Ireland to escape when committed to his charge on 28/11/1917.


He was tried in Saffron Walden and found guilty of the charges. He was sentenced to 21 days detention and reduced to the ranks.

This punishment was confirmed by Brigadier General P.W. Hendrys.  

At the start of the next month Thomas was transferred to 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry on 05/01/1918, but then was transferred to 20th(Service) Battalion on 28/03/1918 when he was sent to France. When in France 3 days later on 31/03/1918,

he was posted to 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry. The 3rd April saw the 2nd Battalion "march route to Belgian Chateau just south-west of Ypres where they took over huts in Marquise Camp and the transport moved to Dickebusch Wood."*

* "The Steel of the DLI" by John Sheen page 245. 

Thomas was killed in action just 10 days later on 13/04/1918.

He was awarded the 1914-1918 British War and Allied Victory Medals.

Property belonging to Thomas were returned to his Widow Emily. These were a disc, a cigarette case and a silver watch.

Emily was awarded  a pension for her and her children on 29/10/1918 for 33/- 9d a week from 04/11/1918.  


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