Brien Brown

View Brien on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Service number:
Royal Marine Light Infantry
Date of birth:
05 December 1893
Date of death:
26 October 1917
Age at Death:

Known information

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.

Do you know something about Brien that hasn't been mentioned?
You can add any new information and images as a contribution at the bottom of this page.
  • Oakham Church
  • Oakham Memorial
  • Oakham Memorial BR-CU
  • St Bartholomews Church
  • St Bartholomews Church plaque
  • B Brown
  • Tyne Cot drone 1 JS
  • Tyne Cot Memorial JS1
  • B Brown JS1

User contributions

I have researched Brian Brown for my book Wootton Bassett in the Great War (published September 2014), and would be pleased to hear from anybody who can help me to tell his family's story. He was one of three brothers who fell in the Great War. The fourth was wounded.
By Sheridan on Wednesday 17th September '14 at 8:27am
A picture of his name on Tyne Cot Memorial, taken 12 September 2015.
By John Stokes on Sunday 6th December '15 at 11:13am
A Rutlander, living in Belgium
On the anniversary of Brian's death, I have laid a wreath at the war memorial in his memory. I have also updated Brian's story on my website with some additional research.
By Sheridan on Thursday 26th October '17 at 4:25pm

Rutland and The Battle of the Somme

More than 90 Rutland soldiers died in the Battle of the Somme which lasted from 1 July 1916 until the middle of November. Today they lie in cemeteries across the old battlefield in northern France or are remembered among the 72,000 names on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. By using our interactive map, you can find out what happened to them.

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