Trooper Sidney Frank Brown

Regiment: Household Battalion, 4th Cavalry Division
Service No.: 2781
Date and place of birth: 2nd quarter 1898 at Trotton, near Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death: 12 October 1917 (aged 19) at Passchendaele in the Third Battle of Ypres

Trooper Sidney Frank Brown was born at Trotton and his birth was registered in the second quarter of 1898. He enlisted in Midhurst  and died at Passchendaele in October 1917 at the age of 19.

Family background

Sidney Frank Brown was born between April and June 1898 and he was the only child of Walter Brown (1873 – 1955) and his wife Rose née Dawtry or Daughtry who was born in Heyshott in 1871. Walter was employed as a cowman on a farm and had married Rose in 1895. In 1901 the family was living in Trotton with Rose’s sister Annie. The 1911 census records the family at Cross Hall in Iping with Walter still working as a cowman.

Military service

Sidney enlisted at Midhurst and became a trooper in the Household Battalion. This unit was formed as an infantry unit in September 1916 with troops drawn from the reserve units of the Household Cavalry. After training the unit landed in France in November 1916 and was posted to join the 10th Brigade of the 4th Division. As such it saw action in the battle of Arras in April 1917 before taking part in the Third Battle of Ypres in September and October 1917.

Death and commemoration

At the beginning of October 1917, the Battalion was involved in action at Passchendaele now known as the Third Battle of Ypres. On the morning of 12 October, the Battalion had moved into position at 4:00 am ready for an attack but they were overlooked by enemy positions. Fifty men were hit by shell-fire at the assembly point before the attack went forward at 5:35 am. Despite the terrible ground conditions and heavy enemy fire the attack went ahead and by 5:50 the first objective (Requette Farm) had been reached. However with fewer men to prosecute a further attack and heavy German firing, the farm was eventually recaptured by a German counter-attack and fighting was intense all day. The battalion was relieved on the following night but it is recorded that having gone into action 498 men strong they suffered 348 casualties. Sidney Brown died during this action.

His death is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. Trooper Sidney Frank Brown is named on the war memorial in Iping church.

Subsequent family history

His father Walter survived him and lived until 1955.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project