L/Cpl 15/1139 West Yorkshire Regiment, Prince of Wales Own. 15th Battalion, Leeds Pals

1897 saw the birth of Harold Brown in Ossett, the third child of Robert Moore Brown and Amy Florence Sykes. The two older children were Jesse and Harry – there appears to have been something of a fashion for having a Harry and Harold in the same family. They lived on Dale St, remained there from 1901 and were still listed there on the 1911 census. (Source: 1901, 1911 Census)

In August 1914, Harold was too young to join the army at just 16 – but his regimental number means that he must have joined by June 1915 when he was 17. He volunteered  at Colsterdale. After the basic training, he went to Egypt in December and stayed there until early 1916 when the battalion was despatched to France to take part in the Battle of the Somme. Harold was one of the few who survived.

Like John Ellis, he took part in the attack on Oppy Wood near Gavrelle in France, on 3rd May 1917. He became one of the 262 who were missing and he is listed on the Arras Memorial. His death was reported in the same newspaper announcement as that of Private Ellis. Harold was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War and the Victory Medal. (Source: Medal Index Card)

His brother Harry was also a soldier, but he joined the Queen’s Own Yorkshire Dragoons as a territorial in 1911. He was sent to France at the end of 1916 and transferred to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He survived the war, unlike his brother, but his service was not without its perils. He was gassed at the end of July 1917, and despite being in the field for several months in 1918, his health never recovered. Harry was discharged in April of 1919 and returned to Ossett.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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