Walter BROWN
Rank: Private
Number: 17600
Unit: 9th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 27 December 1915
Age: 23
Cemetery: St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais

Private Brown was the son of James & Betsy Louisa Brown of Moss Nook (now the part of Heald Green immediately adjacent to Manchester Airport). He enlisted in Stockport, in the autumn of 1914. After training in England, the 9th Cheshires left to go on active service in July 1915.

The Battle of Loos opened on 25th September. For Walter and his mates, this was their first experience of a major attack.  The Cheshires formed part of a diversionary assault on the Germans, north of the village of Givenchy. They were supporting the 9th Battalion of the Welch Regiment, but they were unable to make any progress as they were held up by uncut barbed wire and machine gun fire.

The next couple of months would have been a quiet time for Walter, with period spent away from the front line. On 23 December, they went into the front line, near Neuve Chappelle (north west of the town of Bethune, in France), relieving the 9th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. On 26th December, 239 soldiers joined as reinforcements making up for the losses of previous weeks. The next day, the Welch Fusiliers relieved the Cheshires. However, on their way out of the trenches and back to billets, they were shelled by the Germans. Unluckily, Walter was the only one killed.

(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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