We have now discovered that Frederick Louis Brown is not the F L Brown listed on the war memorial. See Frank Lincoln Brown, who died 3rd May 1917
Frederick Louis Brown was somewhat of an enigma. Recorded on the Rugby Memorial Gate, and remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, he joined the 1/6th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was promoted to Sergeant, won the Military Medal, and was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
However, there is no record of him being in Rugby, and with no age at death, it is impossible to be absolutely certain of which of many Frederick Browns he might possibly be.
There was however a Frederick Louis Brown on the Birmingham ‘Roll of Honour’ and also a Frederick L M Brown born in Birmingham in late 1891, and living in Birmingham and aged 9 in 1901. His family lived at 37 Portland Road, Edgbaston and his father was an agent in the cycle trade. In 1911 he was aged 19, single and a ‘General Engineer Learning’. With that background and trade, it is possible that he may have worked later at one of the Rugby engineering works, although he is not on any works memorial.
Assuming the CWGC record is correct Frederick Louis Brown joined the 1st/6th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, attained the rank of Sergeant, and was probably re-numbered as No:240069. He also won the Military Medal, presumably in 1916 as the medal was not established until 25 March 1916.
After much searching two Medal Cards were found for Frederick Browns: the first had an early number 1379. With that low number it is likely that Frederick enlisted very early during the war. Soldiers’ records found with the numbers between 2199 and 3420 enlisted in November and December 1914 – his lower number suggests that he enlisted very soon after war was declared.
His early enlistment probably gave time for his promotion, and the 1915 Star Medal Roll confirms that Frederick was a Sergeant ‘on disembarkation’ on 22 March 1915.
The 1st/6th Battalion was formed in August 1914 in Thorp Street, Birmingham, and was part of the Warwickshire Brigade, South Midland Division. It landed at Le Havre on 22 March 1915 and on 13 May 1915, became part of the 143rd Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division. The Division was involved in the Serre Sector of the Somme from 1st-12th July 1916.
Frederick Brown went into the French theatre of war on 22 March 1915, so he was with the main brigade landing at Le Havre. On 1 July 1916, the …
‘… 1/6th Battalion and the 143rd Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division was attached to the 11th Brigade (4th Division) followed the 1/8th Royal Warwickshires into attack on the Quadrilateral (1/7) – to the left machine gun fire swept advance and, according to the Battalion historian, reduced it to a strength of 2 weak platoons. Passed through objective and consolidated ground beyond. Withdrew to Mailly-Maillet during night and from there to Couin.’
The 1/8th Battalion which they followed are recorded as follows – they had 563 casualties …
‘… 1/8th Battalion … moved forward from Mailly-Maillet (1/7). Attached to 4th Division for attack at Redan Ridge. Right of assault took The Quadrilateral, passed through and gained support trench beyond. On left, German front line entered under heavy fire from Serre. No further progress made. Withdrew to Mailly-Maillet.’
Frederick was ‘Killed in Action’ sometime during 1 July 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. His body was not found or identified and he is remembered on Pier and Face 9A, 9B and 1 B. of the Thiepval Memorial.
He was awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery in battle on land’, and his first Medal Card recorded that he was awarded the 1915 Star. His second Medal Card which has the later 240069 Number, shows that he was also awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
As mentioned he was also listed on the ‘Birmingham Roll of Honour, 1914-1918’, although his rank of Sergeant does not appear to be acknowledged. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates – but sadly little is known of the Rugby connection of this brave soldier.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM