Roy Brown, Private 15/106, 1st Leeds Pals
Very little is known about Roy Brown, and very little documentation has survived. Even the photo taken of him in prison camp is incorrectly labelled as ‘Reg Brown’. (York Army Museum). Fortunately his POW records are more forthcoming. (Prisoners of the First World War).
Roy was born in Knaresborough on 3rd May 1895 so when the war started he was 19, and he obviously wasted no time in volunteering, having the number 106, meaning that he joined possibly on the first day of recruiting. On the list of volunteers his address is given as 2 Seaforth Avenue, Harehills, the same as was given on his POW forms in 1917 for his mother. Unfortunately she is named only as ‘Mrs Brown’, with not even an initial, and so far nothing has shown up on any census.
Having joined Roy was posted to D Company, but no specific job is indicated. He would presumably have gone to Colsterdale for his training, then Ripon and Fovant, before sailing for Egypt. His Medal Card shows that he landed on 6th December 1915. (Ancestry). In March the battalion sailed back to France to be ready for the Big Push. As a private Roy would get little or no specific mention in the records. We don’t know if he took part in the 1st July attack on the Somme, but there’s no reason to suppose that he didn’t. He was certainly part of the Pals’ attack on 3rd May 1917 during the Battle of Arras, because he was captured, unwounded, at Gavrelle. Initially he was moved round from one camp to another, being in Dülmen on 23rd June, Burgsteinfurt on 16th July, Limburg on 11th August and Münster on 8th November 1917. There he appears to have stayed, for the next twelve months, until the war ended.
He must have been released and repatriated fairly quickly as he was back in England to be transferred to the Reserves on 13th March 1919.
Researcher: Peter Taylor
- All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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