Major William Henry Wreford-Brown

Surrey in the Great War Jenny Mukerji

Major William Henry WREFORD-BROWN (1865-1941)

Major William Henry WREFORD-BROWN was the eldest child of William Wreford and Clara Jane WREFORD-BROWN’s eleven children and he was born at Caledonia Place, Clifton, near Bristol on 10 September 1865. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was commissioned as Lieutenant in the Essex Regiment on 30 January 1886. William served as Adjutant between 1891 and 1895 and was subsequently promoted to Captain on 14 August 1897. Part of his army career was spent in India, with the “Tirah Expeditionary Force” and the Khyber Forces from 1897 to 1898 on attachment to the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He also served in South Africa with the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment. On 22 November 1902 he was appointed Adjutant of the 4th Battalion and on 16 May 1906, he was promoted to Major. He later transferred to the Reserve of officers on 8 January 1908.

During the Great War he was given a special appointment as General Staff Officer from 31 August 1914. By 1916 he was working at the Press Bureau in Whitehall.

He was awarded the India General Service Medal Pair (Indian Tirah & Punjab) along with the South African 1902 – Orange Free State and Cape Colony Medal, being one of only six officers from the Essex Regiment to receive them. They came up for sale in 2018 priced at £1,125.

In 1892 he married Louisa Knight SENIOR (1860-1952), daughter of Rev James SENIOR (1814-1897) who changed his name to HUSEY-HUNT in 1894 for reasons of inheritance. In the 1901 Census Returns William and Louisa were living in London. Their only child, Kathleen (1894-1976) married Brigadier Rintoul George Edward CAROLIN (1896-1976). At the time of this marriage at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, London in 1920, William and his wife Louisa were living at Elstowe, Jenner Road, Guildford, Surrey.

William died on 28 November 1941 at Rookwood, Ganghill, Guildford and his funeral took place in Brookwood Cemetery on 2 December 1941 at 12 noon. His widow Louisa died on 6 April 1952 at Brentwood District Hospital, Brentwood. Her home had been at Chithams Lodge, Ramsden Heath, Billericay, Essex and her funeral was a private one.

William’s siblings included Charles WREFORD-BROWN (1866-1951) the famous footballer and cricketer. Charles was a solicitor by profession and a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards during the Great War. Two of their brothers, both serving in the Northumberland Fusiliers, died in the Great War: Captain Claude WREFORD-BROWN DSO (1876-1915) who is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres; and Captain Oswald Eric WREFORD-BROWN (1877-1916) who died of his wounds and is buried in Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension, France. Another brother was Rev Gerald WREFORD-BROWN (1874-1956) who served in the Army Chaplains’ Department during the Great War (WO339/114182) and is also buried in Brookwood Cemetery.

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