Private Brien Brown and two of his brothers all died in the First World War while a third brother survived. He was a postman in Oakham before joining the Royal Marine Light Infantry in February 1916. He served as Brien Brown though his name was actually Eltham Bryan Brown, born in Christchurch, Hampshire. Brien moved with his family to Cold Overton and was listed in 1911 as a motor groom. He went out to France on 2 August 1916 with the 2nd Royal Marine Battalion but was sent home at the end of December to recover from pyrexia, a condition causing a high temperature without any obvious reason. He returned to his battalion in February and was was killed on 26 October 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). The Royal Marines' battalion war diary records how the men went into the line near Irish Farm near St Jean on 25 October. At 5.40am the following morning the battle began with a carefully coordinated creeping barrage: "Battalion attacked enemy's position opposite its front in conjunction with other battalions of 188th Infantry Brigade. Objectives gained and consolidated. Casualties 7 Officers and 301 O.Rs [Other Ranks]." One of those casualties was Brien. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 1, and on the war memorial in Oakham. He left a widow and son, Ethel and Cecil H Brown, who lived at 11 New Street in Oakham. His parents by now were living at Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire where Brien and his two brothers, Hedley and Alan, are remembered on the town's war memorial. His name here is spelt Brian.
We are grateful to Sheridan Parsons for more information about Brien/Brian which is contained in her book Wootton Bassett in the Great War. Also see her note below.
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