Francis Braybrook

Census Address: 7 Stanley Street
Place of Birth: Stamford
Date of Birth: 1897
Enlistment Address: --
Regiment: 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire; 1st Battalion, Kings Own Royal Lancaster
Service Numbers: 3304 & 27217
Place of Death: Battle of the Somme, Northern France
Date Died: October 1916
7 Stanley Street, Stamford

Francis Braybrook

Braybrook Family 1904

Braybrook Family 1904: Back row – Ernest at left, George at the right;
Front row – Harold at left, Frank 3rd from left, Noel 3rd from right

Francis Braybrook was born in Stamford in 1897.
His parents were William and Elizabeth Braybrook of 7 Stanley Street.
Francis’s father was a railway signalman and he had four brothers – George, Ernest William, Harold, and Noel.
Before the war, Francis has worked as an errand boy.
He enlisted with the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment on November 11th 1914 (regimental number 3304).
His brother Noel was already serving in the war.

Francis BraybrookOn September 4th 1916 Francis was transferred to the 1st Battalion, Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He was wounded in action on September 22nd 1916, was missing and later reported killed in action. His medals were returned to his father. He is buried in a Somme cemetery in Picardy, Northern France. Francis’s four other brothers also served in the war –

It is believed that the last was a George Braybrook – service Number P/1761, who served with the 16th Royal Brigade then C Company, 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade. He was born in Melton Mowbray on 23rd Feb 1888 and his next-of-kin were in Stamford (where he was living in 1891 & 1901). He served from the latter half of 1915 and the with the 16th Roal Brigade landed at Le Havre on 8th Mar 1916. He was admitted to 11th Casualty Clearing Station on 3rd Sep 1916 suffering from a gunshot wound to his right leg. He was taken prisoner at Cambrai on 30th Nov 1917. At one stage he was at the POW Camp at Dulmen. He appears on a War Office missing list on 18th Jan 1918.
He returned home after the war and died in 1980 at the age of 92.

Amendments and Addenda

Francis arrived in France on 4th Sep 1916 and joined C company, 1st Battalion on 22nd. Looking at the War Diary it is noted that 370 men from the Lincolnshire Regiment arrived on 22nd Sep so he was part of a large draft being transferred to 1st Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. They moved to the front on the Somme in the days following. There were several small actions from 10th Oct.
On 23rd October his battalion was attacking ”Spectrum Trench” on the Somme. The regimental history describes the day as the worst experienced by the battalion. The weather was cold and wet, the mud sticky and greasy, the trenches shallow and confined and the enemy’s shelling accurate and unceasing. Such a combination of circumstances would have been a hard test of endurance for experienced troops, but the majority of men were just out from England and were having their first taste of warfare.
At 5 am. all was ready, the operation being planned for 11.30 a.m., but when day broke the mist was so thick that it was decided to put it off until the afternoon. At 2.30 p.m. the barrage came down and crept slowly forward followed by ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies, who at last succeeded in driving the enemy out of Spectrum trench and went on to secure the first ridge. Here they came under heavy fire, and as the battalion on the right had not reached the objective the King’s Own flank was in the air. Consequently, these two companies had to withdraw to Spectrum trench. ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies set out ten minutes after ‘C’ and ‘D’ with object of passing through the position on the first ridge and carrying another beyond. As soon as they left Thistle trench these two companies were so heavily shelled that they were unable even to reach ‘C’ and ‘D’, let alone pass through them. A few individuals may have joined the forward companies before they started to withdraw; others met them on their way back and retired with them; all the survivors were in Spectrum when the Germans counter-attacked. Sergeant F. Beard was largely responsible for the inability of the enemy to regain the trench, which was now wholly in British hands. He established a barricade and remained in charge of it for thirty hours, during which time he repelled several bombing attacks. The day’s work cost the battalion four officers killed and two wounded, a hundred and twenty-six other ranks killed, a hundred and eighteen wounded and forty-three missing. Captain J. A. G. Leask and Lieutenant S. F. Jewers were the only two officers other than those at battalion headquarters who went through the attack unscathed. Francis’ body was not found and he was commemorated on Thiepval Memorial.
Somme Oct 1916 Map