Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the South Staffordshire area who died during the two World Wars.
Ernald was registered and baptised as Arnold Cecil Brown but appears to have used the alternative spelling of his first name from about the age of sixteen. He was born at Plardiwick, Gnosall and baptised at Gnosall Parish Church on 8th July, 1894. He was the son of Richard Brown, a farm bailiff, and his wife Hannah/Susannah. By 1901 the family had moved to Bellhurst Farm, Wheaton Aston. Richard died in 1901 when Ernald was 7; Hannah and the children moved to a house in the centre of Wheaton Aston close to the Reading Room (the modern Village Hall).
By 1911 Ernald was working as a groom and the following year he enlisted in the Army, joining the 5th Dragoon Guards - one of the Household Cavalry Regiments. Ernald was still serving at the outbreak of war. He went to France on 23rd November, 1914 and was killed in action on 13th May, 1915. He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
The War Diary of the 5th Dragoon Guards describes the events of 13th May, 1915 (the end of the Battle of Frezenberg, a phase of 2nd Ypres):
[In front-line trenches between VERLORENHOEK & WIELTJE] May 13th Thursday: At 4 a.m. the Germans commenced a bombardment of the whole line occupied by the Cavalry, which lasted all day with the exception of about 2 hours in the morning at which time there appeared to be developing an Infantry attack but this however did not materialize and the bombardment recommenced with uneven vigour. Casualties became more numerous and the parapets of the trenches were blown in - at 3 p.m. the cannonading[?] became more intense, and as by now the trench line had become untenable the regiment retired to the support trenches 1/2 mile in rear where they reformed and occupied support trenches on the left of the 15th Hussars. . . [2 Officers killed and 8 wounded. 29 Men killed and 73 wounded.]
Private Ernald Cecil Brown, 7558, was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1914-15 Star. His brother John Sidney Brown is also commemorated on the Lapley War Memorial.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg.