Norman William Brown

Date of birth: 1886
Place of birth: Godalming, Surrey
Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery
Battalion: 260th Siege Battery, attached to 281st Siege Battery
Rank / Service No: Gunner, 353393
Died: 28th July 1917, aged 31 years
Buried: Etaples Military Cemetery, France (Plot XXV, Row L, Grave 11A)


Norman was the only child of George and Elizabeth Jane Brown (nee Bowers), who married in Deal in 1885.

George was born in that town in 1858 and Elizabeth was born in Ripley, Surrey in 1860.

It obviously did not take long for the family to move to Godalming from Kent.

Norman married Fanny Smeed in Southampton in 1912. Interestingly, Fanny was born in Whitstable in 1880, so there is no obvious reason why the union took place in Southampton.

There appear to have been no children, and the couple were resident at 85 Bridge Road, Itchen at the 1911 Census.

Fanny remained in Southampton after the war, and never remarried….she passed away in 1966.


There are no specific records of either the 360th or 281st Siege Batteries, and so it is difficult to build up a picture of Norman’s movements during the war.

The area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals.

It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and was accessible by railway from both the northern and southern battlefields.

In 1917, 100K troops were camped among the sand dunes and the 15 or so hospitals could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick.

Because of the ease of access, Norman could have been wounded anywhere on the Western Front.


The cemetery contains 10,771 Commonwealth WW1 burials.

Norman’s headstone reads: “Now my dear one waits for me above, resting in the saviour’s love.”


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 2nd June 2016


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