Rank: Private
Number: 145930
Unit: 19th Battalion MACHINE GUN CORPS
Date of Death: 6 November 1918
Age: 18 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France

Paul Rudolf Brabenetz had been born in Hungary. It is not known when he immigrated to Britain but, in the June quarter of 1879, he married Rosina Wright, in the Wandsworth area of London. By the following year, they had moved to the Stockport and their first child, Maude, was born. Rudolf had moved to the area to follow his trade as a hatter. Another daughter, May, was born in 1882. Sometime between then and 1890, the family moved back to London and two further children, Bertha and Walter, were born. By 1900, they were back in Stockport for the birth of their last child, Victor. At that time, they were living at 85 Oxford Street, Stockport (and later at 15 Stopford Street, Edgeley).

Nothing else is known of Victor's early life. Walter Brabenetz volunteered for the army in September 1914 and was killed a year later. When Victor became 18, he was conscripted into the army, being assigned to the Monmouthshire Regiment for training (service number). His parents must have hoped that their only remaining son would survive and he would have done had he lived another five days.

Victor never served abroad with the Monmouths and was transferred to the machine gunners when he had finished his training. By early November 1918, the War was all but won and the British army was advancing on daily basis. At times of attack, the Machine Gun Corps had specific roles to fulfil in assisting the infantry. Some of Battalion's 64 Vickers guns (each operated by as seven man team) would go forward with the infantry to give close support. Others would remain in the British line firing a barrage over the heads of the infantry and on to the German trench line. It would be undertaking the latter duty that Victor was killed, most probably by enemy shellfire, which would be quickly brought to bear on machine gunners in attempt to quickly knock them out.

By the evening of 5 November, Victor and his comrades were near the French village of Maurain. The Battalion's War Diary describes the next day "An attack by the 56th and 58th Infantry Brigades in order to cross the River Hogneaux was ordered to take place at 15.30 hours. Arrangements were made for the guns of B, C and D Companies to cover this attack by a machine gun barrage from the high ground west of the river. This attack was cancelled owing to the necessity of bridging the river and difficulties of liaison with the Division on the right."

The section of the cemetery where Victor is buried was not created until some time after the Armistice. Originally, he will have been buried near to where he died and re-interred here, probably in the early 1920s. His grave is now maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. At the time of writing, October, 2006, the records of the Commission spells his name wrongly as Brabenety. The error has been notified to the Commission.

(Update....February 2007.....The Commission has accepted the error and amended its records)

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