Edward Elms Bown

Memorial: Marshfield - High Street

Regiment: Northampton Regiment

Medals: 1939–45 Star, War Medal 1939–1945

Rank and number: Second Lieutenant

Parents: John James and Hester Rachel Bown

Home address: Marshfield, Glos

Date of birth: 1883

Place of birth: Marshfield

Date of death: 02/11/1917

Buried/Commemorated at: Gaza War Cemetery (XV. C. 5.), Palestine

Age: 34

Further information:

Edward served with the 1st/4th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment

Edward Elms Bown born in 1883, was baptised in Marshfield Church on 11 April that year and was the son of John James and Esther Rachel Bown. His father was a retired farmer who had been aged 42 when he married his 25 year old wife at Holy Trinity Church, Bath in 1876. By the time he was six years old Edward was an orphan as both his parents had died. Thereafter he was brought up by his mother’s sister, Lena Bryan who lived in the High Street

By the turn of the century Edward Bown had migrated to London to make his way in the world, starting as a Commercial Clerk. Later he worked at a Bank and lived with his sister Lilian in Crookham Road, Fulham. Sometime before the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Territorial Army, joining the County of London Yeomanry. Perhaps he learnt to ride a horse in his time in Marshfield, anyway he would have been a very welcome recruit, training at weekends and the evenings at the Duke of Yorks’ Barracks in Chelsea. At the outbreak of war, he and his comrades reported for duty at the Cavalry depot at Hounslow and then joined 2 Mounted Division, based first at Streatley and then at North Walsham

In April 1915 the CLY sailed first to Egypt and then onto Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay in August, but fighting as infantry, the regiment having left their horses at Mena barracks outside Cairo. During that desperate fighting Edward Bown was promoted to Corporal and then evacuated along with everyone else in December. Always a promising soldier, Edward Bown was commissioned as a Subaltern into the 1st/4th Northants

Early in 1917, it was decided to invade Palestine in support of other operations in Mesopotamia. The Turkish defences were strongly held and no progress was made. For six months Edward Bown and his men endured terrible heat with little cover. Reinforcements arrived and by the end of October nearly 100,000 troops, 46,000 horses, 20,000 camels and 15,000 mules and donkeys were assembled on the Gaza – Beersheba front

Soon the 1st/4th Northants advanced again to attack Yunis Trench, but after heavy fighting had to withdraw again and suffered heavy shelling from the Turks for the remainder of the day

Sometime on that day, 2nd November 1917, Edward Elms Bown was killed. He is buried at the Gaza War Cemetery (Ref XV. C. 5.) and on his gravestone his sister Lilian had inscribed “Nobly he lived, Bravely he died , Gone but not Forgotten”. His family also paid for a memorial plaque in Marshfield Church

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Forces War Records and CWGC