Brown, Alan, Private, d. 10th July 1918
Alan was born in Christchurch, Hampshire in 1898. His family information can be found on his brother Hedley’s page.
Alan was a Private and served as a stretcher bearer in the 8th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, (28341 or 28431). Alan was killed in action in France on July 10th 1918, while waiting to bring in the wounded. Captain H Pople wrote to his parents:
Your son has always done excellent work as one of my most valuable stretcher-bearers, and he was killed by a shell while he was standing by waiting to render assistance to anyone who required it while the company was working in a rather dangerous spot, so he can truly be said to have been killed in action. It will comfort you a little in these sad days for you, I am sure, to know that death was instantaneous, as when the nearest men rushed to him they found that he had passed away, so we know that he was spared that lingering pain which so many are called upon to bear in this terrible war. We all miss him greatly, as he was dearly loved by all his comrades, being most kind and attentive to all the sick and wounded whom he was called upon to assist, and I look upon his death as a great loss to the company, and am able to sympathise with you to the fullest degree in the loss of such
a noble son. We buried him this afternoon with full military honours, and the funeral was attended by over 100 of his comrades, who begged me to allow them to attend and pay their last respects. I am arranging to have a nice cross put up over the grave where he lies, and of course the cemetery will be looked after for ever, as one of the sacred places in France.
The Reverend T B Harding, a chaplain, wrote:
It will be a great help to you to think both of the fine work he has done and of the splendid name he has left in the battalion. Stretcherbearers are picked men who have some of the most important and dangerous work to do. The Medical Officer under which they work has said that your son was quite one of his best, and this is heartily agreed to by officers and men alike of his own company, among whom and his fellow-bearers he was very popular. He was buried in the presence of a large number of his comrades in a military cemetery with full military honours. He was borne on a limber [a two wheeled artillery cart] draped with the Union Jack. Stretcher bearers formed the carrying party. The band followed and played on the march, and at the graveside, where the hymn, ‘Now the labourer’s task in o’er,’ was sung, a firing party fired three volleys and the buglers sounded the
‘last post’. With much sympathy and gratitude for what your son has done for our country and the cause of righteousness and justice among nations.
Alan Brown is buried in Couin New British Cemetery, France, a military cemetery used by field ambulances, grave reference F5.
His parents also added him to his little sister’s gravestone in Seagry, which reads: “In loving memory of our dear children, Ella, Hedley, Brian and Alan Brown. 1914-1918.” My thanks to Julia Harle and Seagry Church for identifying and photographing the gravestone.