William Henry Brown

William Henry Brown was a Freemason, member of Lodge Temperance 2557 and one of our forgotten war heroes. He is not listed in the Lodge Temperance WW1 Roll of Honour although the Lodge registers show he was on war service.

At the Lodge Temperance 2557 meeting held at the Royal Assembly Rooms, Westgate Road, on the 19th June 1916 William was proposed by Bro Thomas Storey and seconded by Bro James A. Bowron as a fit and proper person to be made a Freemason. He was a 27 year old commercial traveller residing at 5 Wesley Terrace, Chester Le Street, Co Durham.  A successful ballot was held on 17th July and he was initiated into the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Freemasonry the following month on 21st August. He was passed to the second or Fellowcraft degree on September 18th and raised to the Sublime degree of a Master Mason on 10th November. He signed his Grand Lodge Certificate in open lodge on 8th December 1916.

Unfortunately the service and pension records for William’s time during the war can’t be found so are likely among the 60% of the Service Records irretrievably damaged or lost as a result of enemy bombing in 1940. There are many William H or William Henry Brown’s listed in the medal index cards and rolls but without an idea of his service it’s not possible to confidently identify him.

William was born in 1887 in Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, Co. Durham to Septimus and Elizabeth Ann Brown. Septimus was variously a cartman, ships plater and watchman and he married Elizabeth Ann Hamflet, a girl from Dudley, Staffordshire, in 1886 in Sunderland. They had four children –

  • William Henry b 1887
  • Mary Elizabeth b 1888
  • John Edward b 1890
  • Elsie b 1899

The family had moved to Gateshead by 1901 and in the 1911 census William is employed as a confectionary traveller.

Unfortunately, William Henry Brown is a very common name and it’s not been possible to identify him in later life with any assurance.