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Pte. Albert Edward Brain
British Army 2nd Btn. Royal Warwickshire
(d.21st Nov 1914)
Albert enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at Coventry whilst living in Banbury. The date of enlistment is not known but the 1911 census records taken on Sun 2nd April 1911 shows that he was then serving overseas in Bombay, India with the First Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
The 1st Battalion sailed for England on December 11th 1912 arriving there on 2nd Jan 1913. It was then based at Shorncliffe, near Folkestone. The battalion was in the 10th Brigade 4th Division. It is probably safe to assume that Albert was transferred to the 2nd Battalion at some time on or after 6th October 1914 the date when the Second Battalion landed in France. So Albert was possibly with the First Battalion in France from 23rd August to 6th October. We cannot, of course, be certain of this since, for some reason, he may have stayed behind in England and did not travel to France with the First Battalion but travelled with the Second Battalion from England. It is possible to ascertain the events leading up to Albert’s death on 21st November 1914 from the 2nd battalion’s war diaries. The 2nd Battalion was not engaged in an actual battle i.e. major offensive at this time. It had been withdrawn from the Ypres Salient on 7th November before the First Ypres Battle ended on November 17th 1914. Trench warfare then took over. On the 10th Nov the Battalion was in Bailleul. On the 11th to 12th Nov it was in Merris. Four hundred and eight new drafts arrived during the stay at Merris. We cannot tell if Albert was one of these.
On the 15th to 20th Nov they were in trenches at La Boutillerie near Fleurbaix. On the 20th Nov the Battalion was relieved by the 2/Queens (Royal West Kent) Battalion. It then marched to billets at Rue de Bataille in Fleurbaix.
Another draft of 98 OR’s under Lt B. Bernard joined on that day, presumably, whilst in the billets. The Battalion remained here up to the 23rd Nov when it returned to the trenches near Fleuraix. So, curiously, it appears that the Battalion was in billets on 21st November 1914 when Albert died. What is known is that the relief of a regiment/battalion usually took place overnight, for obvious reasons. They were often protracted affairs, consequently, this relief could have spilled into the early hours of the 21st November. The 2/Queen’s war diary states that they started to enter the trenches at 4.45 pm on the 20th. Men were put at risk as they were leaving the front line. It was likely, therefore, that Albert was killed during the relief of the battalion. Albert is commeorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
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