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  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Carnoy Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Courtesy of Murray Biddle
Person Details
Hucknall Torkard Nottinghamshire
John Ambrose known as Amby to his family was born in 1889 in Hucknall Torkard and was the only son of the late Frederick a butcher and Edith Brown née Barkby of Hucknall Torkard Nottinghamshire. His father Frederick was born in 1862 in Hucknall Torkard and his mother was born in 1864 in Worthington, Leicestershire; they were married in 1888 in the Basford registration district. In the 1891 census the family are living at 18 Hawkin Street, Hucknall Torkard, Frederick is shown as a butcher and is living with his wife Edith and son John 2 years of age. His father Fred dies aged 37 yrs on 28th July 1900 at Hucknall. In the 1901 census the family are living at 38a Linby Lane Hucknall Torkard, Edith is head of the family and is shown as being a widow, 37 years of age and a grocer manager, she is living with her son John now 12 years of age. His mother Edith died aged 45 yrs of age in 1909, the death being registered in the Basford registration district. Following the death of both his parents he moves in with his uncle and aunt, Albert Edward Plumb and Clara Elizabeth Plumb. In 1911 he was lodging with his relatives at 38 Linby Lane, Hucknall Torkard, and the family are shown as Albert Edward Plumb 44 yrs a clerk to a tailor and clothier living with his wife Clara Elizabeth 40 yrs and their two children Arthur 15 yrs and Lottie 10 years and their nephew Ambrose Brown 22 yrs, single and a colliery clerk.
He was educated at Millers College in Nottingham, he was a post office messenger boy and he became a colliery clerk at Sherwood Colliery and eventually worked for Mr. P.F. Scanlon, the insurance broker, of Nottingham
12 Mar 1917
292696 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
7th Bn King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Amby enlisted in Hucknall on 8th September 1914 and served with the Army Service Corps, he was quickly promoted to Corporal on 15th October 1914 and soon after on 29th October 1914 was promoted to Company Sergeant Major. By 24th July 1915 he had joined the Guards Divisional Train and the following month was with the Guards Division Expeditionary Force. Following a period at the Officers Cadet School at Worcester College at Oxford, on 5th August 1916 he was gazetted to Second Lieutenant with the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and eventually went on to the Western Front. He was killed in action by shellfire at Haie Wood on the Somme on 12th March 1917. He was buried in Carnoy Military Cemetery, Somme, France.
The following is an extensive newspaper article, written in the Hucknall Dispatch dated , 22nd March 1917. "Quite a sensation was caused in Hucknall on Friday night [16th March 1917] when the news spread that Sec.-Lieut. J. Ambrose Brown, of the 7th Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, had met his death on the battlefields of France at the age of 26. Here was no mistaking the grief which was caused by the loss of such a highly respected and noble youth, and the sad intelligence was conveyed from ear to ear with bated breath. Everybody liked "Amby", as he was familiarly called, and they felt they had lost one as near and dear as a brother. "As for his career, it can be said that he was a plodder, both in civil life and in the Army. He attended the National Schools and the Boys’ Brigade, and on the decease of his mother – his father having passed away some years previously – he went to reside with his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Plumb. He also attended Miller’s College at Nottingham and when the time came for his to undertake work, he was employed as a post office messenger boy. On the removal of his aunt and uncle to Mansfield Woodhouse, he obtained a situation at the Sherwood Colliery, where he soon revealed the value of his school training he had received by making rapid advances on the staff. He made a particular study of the intricacies of the Compensation Act, and he was deputed to deal with the cases which came forward. "It was conceded that he was a fine exponent of the Bill, insomuch that he attracted the attention of Mr. P.F. Scanlon, the insurance broker, of Nottingham, and Mr. Brown agreed to take up a lucrative post in his office. His great knowledge of the Compensation Act was thereby widened, and he was entrusted with many important cases. Thus it will be seen that his career was one of steady progress from a post office boy to that of an expert in law. "In continuing the narrative, we have much the same report to make concerning his military life. He enlisted at Hucknall on September 8, 1914, in the Army Service Corps, and on October 15, 1914, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. On October 29, 1914, he went further ahead by being made Company Quarter Master Sergeant – after only eight weeks in H.M. Forces. On July 24, 1915, he joined the Guards Divisional Train, and in the following month was with the Guards Division Expeditionary Force. "Some of our readers will probably recall that Brown came home in February, 1916. Immediately after his return he received a parchment certificate from the General Officer commanding the Guards Division "for valuable services rendered to that Division from July 24, 1915, to January 31, 1916." "His next step was to join an Officers’ Cadet School at Worcester College, Oxford, and passing the War Office examination on July 24, 1916, he was gazetted to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on August 5, 1916. After a period at Withernsea, he went out to France in his new capacity, and, at home, he won the affection of all with whom he came into contact. By them men as well as by his fellow officers he was greatly respected, and to all of them it has been a hard blow to sever such a well-knitted friendship. "Here under we give extracts of letters which have been received by his uncle and aunt relative to the circumstances of his death. "March 13, 1917. "Dear Madam,  "I regret to inform you that your nephew – Sec.Lieut. J.A. Brown was instantaneously killed by shell fire yesterday. Like so many others, he died serving his King and country, which is the most honourable of deaths. Your nephew, as you know, was Battalion Transport Officer, and did good work for the battalion during the short period he was with us. As his Commanding Officer, I came constantly into touch with him, and can assure you that both the battalion and myself will miss him greatly. He will be buried tomorrow with military honours at a village near here, the name of which will be communicated to you in due course. "I shall be pleased to answer any questions about your nephew you may wish to ask. Please accept the sincere sympathy of the officers of the battalion in your bereavement. "Yours truly, B.B. Robinson, Lieut. Col."  "Dear Madam, "I very deeply regret to inform you that your nephew – Ambrose Brown – has been killed by the bursting of a shell in his dugout. Our chaplain – Captain Plummer – was killed by the same shell. Your nephew was a close personal friend of mine and I can assure you I am not repeating a stereotyped phrase when I say that his loss will be greatly felt by every officer in the battalion and by every man with whom he came in contact. It became my duty to detail the burial party this morning from among his own men. His sergeant was very much upset and a general expression of heartfelt regret came from all. We all feel that we have lost a great friend – he lived with me, and I shall miss him greatly. The regiment has lost a brave soldier, and a highly efficient and conscientious officer. With deepest sympathy. "Yours very truly, Robert Swansea, Sec.-Lieut." Second Lieutenant (John) Ambrose 'Amby' Brown, Battalion Transport Officer, 7th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who was killed by shellfire in Haie Wood on the Somme on 12th March 1917. "Dear Mrs. Plumb,  "I feel I must send you this message of very sincere sympathy in the death of your nephew, Sec.-Lieut. J.A. Brown. May God himself comfort and support those who loved him and will be mourning his loss is my earnest prayer. It was my privilege to take the funeral yesterday, together with that of his chaplain, Rev. C.R. Plummer, who was with him at the time, and was killed by the same shell. A large number of their brother officers were present at the service, for Mr. Plummer had been chaplain to the brigade for two years, and your nephew, though he had only been with us a few months, was greatly liked. As soon as I heard the sad news on Monday, I went up to see what I could do but found death had been instantaneous in each case, with no possibility of suffering. Your nephew’s face was in perfect peace and repose as I saw it. A simple cross is being made and the grave will be properly cared for as it was fortunately possible to bring the bodies back to a recognised cemetery well removed from the firing line. The cross will I hope be erected within a few days. "Believe me, Yours sincerely, Rev. R. Bulstrode." "The last letter we give is from his orderly, and speaks volumes of our fallen hero: "His death has hit me very hard, and all the transport lads worshipped him, as he was so fearless. I have been with him since he came, and found him to be on of the finest of gentlemen. With my deepest sympathy. Albert Ratcliffe." The above extracts are courtesy of Jim Grundy and the Small town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 face book pages
Remembered on


  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Carnoy Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Courtesy of Murray Biddle
    John Ambrose Brown - Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Carnoy Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Courtesy of Murray Biddle
  • Photo courtesy of Jim Grundy and the Small town Great War, Hucknall 1914-1918 face book site
    John Ambrose Brown - Photo courtesy of Jim Grundy and the Small town Great War, Hucknall 1914-1918 face book site