Monday, 13 July 2015

Brown, Frank - Gunner (686704)

Gunner Frank Brown
West Lancashire Royal Field Artillery,
Died from Wounds 29th July 1917,
Age 30
Buried Coxyde Military Cemetery

Newspaper Reports:

On Sunday night a service was held at the United Methodist Church, Haslingden, in memory of Gunner Frank Brown, West Lancashire R.F.A., who died on July 29th 1917, from wounds received in action.
He was 30 years of age, and leaves a wife, a father, a mother, four sisters, and three brothers. His brother John is serving with the forces, and is now on his way to Mesopotamia.
The service which was well attended, was conducted by the Rev. A.J. Keeley, who also preached, Specuial memorial hymns were sung, and Mr. Charles Renshaw played "The Dead March".
For his text Mr. Keeley selected the prayer of Christ in Gethsemane, "O, my Father, if it be possi ble, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
Having called attention to the desolation of Belgium, the trampling and ruin of Poland, the devastation and misery of Serbia, and the unspeakable atrocities of the Turks in Armenia, the preacher said that never in the history of the world was suffering more general than it is today.  Moreover, daily as the war proceeds the bitterness is brought more poignantly home to us.
Few are the homes in England today that have not been darkened by the loss of some loved one. And the grief is not wholly confined to us and our Allies; there are many broken hearted mothers and fathers, and sisters and brothers in Germany for they have affections as well as we.
What so forcibly impresses us and sets us questioning is the gigantic scale on which sorrow is now smiting the World.  But the problem of suffering is by no means new; it has been present in every age.
He possessed a singular facility for putting the customer in a good mood, and spared no pains to oblige and give satisfaction.  Buoyant, competent, and trustworthy, he found pleasure in the performance of his duties.  His good nature produced an atmosphere in which brotherhood became real and fellowship possible.  It is said of him that never saw anything that required to be done without doing it.  Those who best k new him in his business relationships bear him high testimony, and declare that it will be difficult indeed to fill his place.  Hearing of the difficulties which have arisen as a result of a depleted staff in the department in which he served, he cheerily replies, "Wait till we come home; we'll soon put things right."  But our waiting for that happy day is over; we know now that he will not come back.
Writing of him to his bereaved wife, a friend says, "For him there is peace in God, for a better and gentler lad never lived; for you there remains the thought of his goodness and love."
His married life was all too brief, but it was one in which the spirit of honeymoon never flagged.
There are no bitter memories of those few years for her who took his hand with the pledge of fidelity.  She and he had nothing but joy in their union.  Did not the secret of their happiness lie in the fact that through their own affections they were mediating the love of God to each other's soul? What a blessed sacrament is holy matrimony to those who love!  His letters reveal a joyous anticipation of the time when the last trench shall have been stormed, the last bullet shot, and the boys shall greet once more, on their own hearths, their loved ones and friends.  He wrote as one who never knew fear.  He was eager for the fight believing that the sooner our armies could get at the enemy the sooner would there be an end of this awful desolation.  His unchanging optimism admitted of no doubt that he would share in the song of victory and the joy of coming home.
But those expectations are now beyond all hope of realisation.  His body lies buried with the mortal remains of other gallant comrades in a military cemetery. There we leave the tabernacle in which he functioned amongst us.  His soul, dove-like, has risen on the wing, and is already far beyond the reach of mortal sight.  And yet, because he is spirit, and because there are no bounds of time and space to love, he will be always nigh to those whose hearts are set upon him."

Newspaper Memorial:

In loving memory of Gunner F. Brown, died of wounds in France, July 29th 1917.

"The face we loved is now laid low,
His fond true heart is still;
The hand we clasped when we said goodbye,
Lives low in Death's cold chill.

His pleasant face and kindly ways,
Are pleasant to recall;
He had a loving word for each,
And died beloved by all."

From his loving Wife, Mr. and Mrs. T. Hindle and Ethel, 4 Elm Street, Haslingden.

Gunner Frank Brown census details - Click over census to enlarge