Arthur James Brown (1881-1918)

Arthur is listed on the War Memorial as one of those who gave his life during the First World War.

Arthur was born in 1881 in West Somerton, Great Yarmouth. His parents were Martin William Brown & Ann Elizabeth, nee Ward. He was baptized on 12th February 1882 at West Somerton and was listed in the 1891 census as living with them at Horsey Road, West Somerton when he was 9 and a schoolboy.  Some lovely diary records from the school at Winterton show that he attended there in 1892 but left during the “harvest term” on 28th September that year. His parents then applied for him to return to school on 28th October but the log book says a decision was deferred because he was 11 years of age. The school diary is then silent about him ever returning but his education could not have been all that effective as he could not write his name when he married and only made his mark.
He was listed in the 1901 census as living with his parents at The Holmes, Potter Heigham when he was 20 and a fisherman.  He was still a fisherman when he married Anna Amelia Turner (from Martham) at St Mary’s on 3rd January 1905. Electoral records show that they lived at Cess, Martham in 1907 and Mustard Hyrn before moving to Steam Mill, Waxham. They remained there until at least 1911 when they were listed in the census that year.

Arthur & Anna had four children as follows:-
– Lillie Mahala Brown who was born on 26th January 1907. She died on 26th December 1909 from injuries received from falling into a fire.
– Anna Amelia Brown was born on 16th March 1909 at Waxham, Norfolk. She died on 16th February 1979. She married Sydney Smith on 29th November 1936.
– Gertrude Brown was born on 27th January 1912. She married Harold Nichols on 7th March 1936. She died in 1944 of asbestosis from lining munition boxes.
– Arthur James Brown was born on 30th July 1914. He married Dorothy May Nichols in 1942.

Arthur was mill man at the steam mill which would have been Brograve drainage mill about a mile from Waxham north of Horsey Mere and is now a Grade II listed building, having been originally built by Sir Berny Brograve in 1771. The mill had a Norfolk boat shaped cap with a petticoat and an eight bladed fantail with a tail pole. It also had four sails that powered an internal turbine to drain the Brograve levels into Waxham New Cut.

Arthur joined the Royal Navy Reserve which was common for men with seafaring experience and would probably have carried on as a fisherman until called upon to serve in the war. His military serial number was 537ES (Ch) and he was an engine man aboard the H.M. City of Liverpool when it was mined and sunk off South Foreland, in the Strait of Dover, by U-boat UC71 on 31st July 1918. Arthur was killed as a result and his body was never recovered. H.M. City of Liverpool was a drifter hired as a patrol boat by the Admiralty for the duration of the war having been built in 1907. She had a Yarmouth registration of YH244 and may have been the boat on which Arthur worked prior to the war.  

Arthur was killed on 31st July 1918, whilst at sea on the City of Liverpool, as a direct result of enemy action and his body was never recovered. He is commemorated on both the Royal Navy Memorial, Chatham, Kent and the War Memorial at St Mary’s.

War Memorial south side view

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