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Soldiers of the Regiment

Collections - Portrait, Letters and Archive

2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, First World War

In France on 27th March 1917 Lieutenant Brown was instructing a class on firing rifle grenades. Owing to a defective cartridge case one of the grenades was lifted only about two inches, and then fell back into the cup. The safety catch had been released and the grenade was fusing. Lieutenant Brown at once ordered the men to clear and, running forward, picked up the rifle seizing it between his legs, grasped the grenade in his hand and endeavoured to throw it away. While he was doing so it exploded, blowing off his right hand, and inflicting other wounds. Had not Lieutenant Brown seized the grenade in his hand, thus sheltering the men, there could be little doubt that several of them could have been killed or severely injured.”
The Albert Medal was exchanged for the George Cross in 1973 and the Albert Medal presented to the Museum.  Later the museum acquired the George Cross and Brown's other medals.

   
Albert Medal to 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown.
Accession Number: KO1079/01

 
George Cross to 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown.
Accession Number: KO1677/01

 
British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal to 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown GC.
Accession Number: KO1677/02 & KO1677/03


Richard Leslie Brown in the 1950s.
Accession Number: KO3033/03


Medal ribbons of Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown worn on his service dress.
Accession Number: KO3033/04-05


Bronze collar dogs of Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown.
Accession Number: KO3033/06-07


2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown, 1st Battalion, King’s Own, was awarded the Albert Medal For Saving Life on Land.
In France on 27th March 1917 Lieutenant Brown was instructing a class on firing rifle grenades. Owing to a defective cartridge case one of the grenades was lifted only about two inches, and then fell back into the cup. The safety catch had been released and the grenade was fusing. Lieutenant Brown at once ordered the men to clear and, running forward, picked up the rifle seizing it between his legs, grasped the grenade in his hand and endeavoured to throw it away. While he was doing so it exploded, blowing off his right hand, and inflicting other wounds. Had not Lieutenant Brown seized the grenade in his hand, thus sheltering the men, there could be little doubt that several of them could have been killed or severely injured.”
The Albert Medal was exchanged for the George Cross in 1973 and the Albert Medal presented to the Museum.  Later the museum acquired the George Cross and Brown's other medals.
This portrait was painted by Herbert James Gunn RA in the 1964 when he was Chairman of the Board of the engineering firm of Hopkinsons Ltd of Huddersfield, who he had worked for since the 1920s. He died on 25th September 1982.
Accession Number: KO2568/01

bulletArmy Book 64 - Soldier’s Pay Book for use on Active Service of Number 6250 Cadet Richard Leslie Brown of the 28th London Regiment (Artists Rifles. Attested for service on 21 Dec 1915 at the age of 18 and the book is dated 19 Feb 1916.
Brown was later commissioned into the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment as received the Albert Medal in 1917.
Accession Number: KO2695/01
bulletPhoto: Cadet Richard Leslie Brown, Number 6250, 28th London Regiment (Artists Rifles) later 2nd Lieutenant R L Brown, with the King’s Own.
Accession Number: KO2695/02
bulletPhoto: 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of the 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, in KO uniform wearing the medal ribbon for the Albert Medal, for the action in Mar 1917
Accession Number: KO2695/03
bulletPhoto: Mary Brown, nee Stork, who Richard Leslie Brown married after the war. She was from Huddersfield.
Accession Number: KO2695/04
bulletLetter dated 21 Mar 1917 to his Mother from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page one
Accession Number: KO2695/05 a
bulletLetter dated 21 Mar 1917 to his Mother from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page two
Accession Number: KO2695/05 b
bulletLetter dated 21 Mar 1917 to his Mother from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page three
Accession Number: KO2695/05 c
bulletLetter dated 21 Mar 1917 to his Mother from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page four
Accession Number: KO2695/05 d
bulletLetter dated 21 Mar 1917 to his Mother from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page five
Accession Number: KO2695/05 e
bulletLetter dated 25 Mar 1917 to ‘Nellie’ from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page one
Accession Number: KO2695/06 a
bulletLetter dated 25 Mar 1917 to ‘Nellie’ from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page two
Accession Number: KO2695/06 b
bulletLetter dated 25 Mar 1917 to ‘Nellie’ from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown of 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment page three
Accession Number: KO2695/06 c
bulletLetter dated 28 Mar 1917 dictated by 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown to his mother, after he had lost his right hand. The letter is singed ‘Leslie’ in his left hand.
28 Mar 1917
My dear Mother,
I am sorry to say I have been wounded and cannot use my right hand and am now at 42 Casualty Clearing Station. I hope in a day or two to go by ambulance train to the Base and if lucky will be with you shortly.
With much love.
Your loving son.
Leslie
Please give my love to Nellie
Accession Number: KO2695/07
bulletUndated letter from France to his mother by 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown, written with his left hand, in which he is looking forward to returning to England from France.
France
My dear Mother
You will be pleased to hear that I am progressing famously. I am now at base and will be home very shortly. I will drop you a line as soon as I arrive in England. If lucky I shall cross tomorrow. I expect I shall be in London. Will close with much love.
From your loving son.
Leslie.
Accession Number: KO2695/08
bulletLetter dated 30 Mar 1917 to Mrs Brown from Captain C J K Burnell, Chaplain to the 12th Infantry Brigade. Reference in this letter is made to the ‘After Order’ reporting the Act of Gallantry
The padre wrote to Brown’s mother:
30 March 1917
Dear Mrs Brown,
I expect you will have heard by now that your son 2nd Lieutenant R L Brown, has, unfortunately, been accidentally wounded. I saw him yesterday in the Clearing Station, and am glad to be able to tell you that he was going on well, and expected to be moved home to England today, when he will send you his address.
His quickness and unselfishness undoubtedly saved the lives of several of the men whom he was instructing at the time, although it cost him his right hand.
The other injuries, chiefly to his legs are slight and will now heal.
I enclose a copy of ‘After Orders’ which was read out to the whole battalion.
May I say how much we sympathise with you and yours, but may I also add how proud we are of him from the Colonel down to the private soldier, his brave action will not be easily forgotten in the King’s Own.
All the headquarters officers wish to join with me in expressing to you our genuine sorrow for him, and in hoping that it will not be long before he is up and recovered once more.
Believe me
Yours very truly
Cyril J K Burnell
Chaplain C/E
12th Infantry Brigade.
Brown recovered and returned to active service and commanding a company of the 1st Battalion in action in September 1918 before he was again wounded and returned home once again. After military service he worked for an engineering firm which he later became Managing Director.
Accession Number: KO2695/09
bulletAfter Order dated 27 Mar 1917 issued by Lieutenant W J Gilbert, Acting Adjutant of the 1st Battalion, regarding the gallant conduct of 2nd Lieutenant R L Brown on the 27 Mar 1917.
Accession Number: KO2695/10
bulletLetter dated ‘Good Friday’ 1917 to Mrs Brown from 2nd Lieutenant J H Bassett of the 1st Battalion King’s Own. Letter seeking information on 2nd Lieutenant Brown and his address. Page one
Accession Number: KO2695/11 a
bulletLetter dated ‘Good Friday’ 1917 to Mrs Brown from 2nd Lieutenant J H Bassett of the 1st Battalion King’s Own. Letter seeking information on 2nd Lieutenant Brown and his address. Page two
Accession Number: KO2695/11 b
bulletLetter dated 18 Apr 1917 to ‘Dear L’ 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown from ‘Gil’.
Accession Number: KO2695/12
bulletLetter dated 23 Apr 1917 to ‘My dear Mary’ from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown
Accession Number: KO2695/13
bulletLetter dated 30 Aug 1918 to ‘My dear Mother’ from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown
After the incident in which Brown lost his right hand in Mar 1917 it would appear that he spent time in hospitals in France and then at home in England. He is recorded in the Regimental History as returning to the Battalion, which he must have done in Aug 1918. He was injured again in Sep 1918.
Accession Number: KO2695/14
bulletLetter dated 30 Aug 1918 to ‘My dear Mother’ from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown
Accession Number: KO2695/15
bulletLetter dated 1 Sep 1918 to ‘My dear Mother’ from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown
Accession Number: KO2695/16
bulletLetter dated 6 Sep 1918 to My Dear Mother from 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown after he had been wounded for a second time
Accession Number: KO2695/17
bulletLetter dated 7 Sep 1918 to Mrs Brown from the Matron of 57 Casualty Clearing Station regarding the wounds to 2nd Lieutenant Brown of the 1st Battalion King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
Accession Number: KO2695/18
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 1 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet one of two
Accession Number: KO2695/19
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 1 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet two of two
Accession Number: KO2695/20
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 2 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet one of two
Accession Number: KO2695/21
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 2 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet two of two
Accession Number: KO2695/22
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 3 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet one of two
Accession Number: KO2695/23
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 3 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet two of two
Accession Number: KO2695/24
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 4 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet one of two
Accession Number: KO2695/25
bulletNotebook page listing the members of No 4 Platoon (1st Battalion King’s Own, circa Aug 1918) - sheet two of two
Accession Number: KO2695/26
bullet1:20000 Trench Map, France, Sheet 51 B SW
Revised to 27 Jul 1918. Assume used for Aug 1918 or Sep 1918 for action by 1st Battalion King’s Own.
Accession Number: KO2695/27
bullet1:20000 Trench Map, France, Sheet 51 B SE Palluel/Canal du Nord
Revised to 29 Jan 1918. Assume used for Aug 1918 or Sep 1918 for action by 1st Battalion King’s Own.
Accession Number: KO2695/28
bulletCover for Army Book 153 and Field Message Book used by 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown Albert Medal circa Jul 1918 and Aug 1918
Various notes and messages, including some not by Brown, and various names of other soldiers and officers appear.
One note is as follows:
“4th Div Q
I beg to report the loss of a bicycle taken from a Billet in Cense La Vallee on the 3rd inst. Number of Bicycle E13423.
4 Aug 1918 W J Gilbert Captain for Lieutenant Colonel
commanding 1st The King’s Own Regiment.”
(William James Gilbert MC)
Accession Number: KO2695/29
bulletNote dated 5 Aug 1918 regarding the lost Bicycle Number E13423
Note to Captain Gilbert from Lieutenant and Quartermaster Heaysman
Note to QM JODO requesting more information as to where bicycle had been taken from
Accession Number: KO2695/30
bulletNote undated to the Adjutant regarding the Memo regarding the Cycle Lost.
Accession Number: KO2695/31
Field Message from Lieutenant R L Brown of Officer Commanding C Company and Officer Commanding D Company with reply, 30 Aug 1918
Accession Number: KO2695/32
bulletOperation Order Number 65, 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, 31 Aug 1918 Sheet one of three
Accession Number: KO2695/33
bulletOperation Order Number 65, 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, 31 Aug 1918 Sheet two of three
Accession Number: KO2695/34
bulletOperation Order Number 65, 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, 31 Aug 1918 Sheet three of three
Accession Number: KO2695/35
bulletNote from Acting Adjutant to Officers Commanding All Companies 31 Aug 1918 Regarding daily situation reports and the reporting of casualties
Sheet one of two
Accession Number: KO2695/36
bulletNote from Acting Adjutant to Officers Commanding All Companies 31 Aug 1918 Regarding daily situation reports and the reporting of casualties
Sheet two of two
Accession Number: KO2695/37
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Points C to E, including Method of Attack
Sheet one of five
Accession Number: KO2695/38
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Point E (continued) and F Sheet two of five
Accession Number: KO2695/39
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Points G and H including action of Tanks Sheet three of five
Accession Number: KO2695/40
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Points K, L, M, N including Flares, Rations, and Communications Sheet four of five
Accession Number: KO2695/41
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Points N (continued) and O, P and Q including Watches, Medical and Prisoners of War. Sheet five of five
Accession Number: KO2695/42
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Details of ‘leap frogging’ lines taken by other companies.... Sheet one of three
Accession Number: KO2695/43
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Mention of date of 1 / 2 Sep 1918 for attack Sheet two of three
Accession Number: KO2695/44
bulletOperation Order (incomplete)
Details of weapons and ammunition for attack Sheet three of three
Accession Number: KO2695/45
bulletSingle sheet of order, with signature of Adjutant and dated 1 Sep 1918
Accession Number: KO2695/46
bulletBlank message pad Army Form W3431 printed May 1917
Accession Number: KO2695/47
bulletHand written certificate “This is to certify that Lieutenant R L Brown is permitted to wear field boots on medical grounds” Dated 10 Jul 1918
Accession Number: KO2695/48
bulletcompleted Messages and Signals form 4 Aug 1918
Accession Number: KO2695/49
bulletDetails of codes? used for soldiers killed and wounded etc.
Accession Number: KO2695/50
bulletTyped slip including the name and address of R. Leslie Brown, at Annan and details of the George Cross (formerly Albert Medal) and the details inscribed upon the Albert Medal: Presented to 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, for gallantry in saving life in France 27th March 1917”
Accession Number: KO2695/51
bulletTyped announcement made by the Prime Minister 21 Oct 1971 about the replacement of the George Cross for Albert or Edward Medals.
Accession Number: KO2695/52
bulletTyped extract from the London Gazette dated 4 Jan 1918
The King has been graciously pleased to award the Decoration of the Albert Medal to the under mentioned Officer of His Majesty’s Forces serving in France in recognition of his gallantry in saving life:-
“Second Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown, Royal Lancaster Regiment
In France, on the 17th March, 1917, Lieutenant Brown was instructing a class in firing rifle grenades. Owing to a defective cartridge one of the grenades was lifted only about two inches, and then fell back into the cup. The safety catch had been released and the grenade was fusing. Lieutenant Brown at once ordered the rest of the men to clear and, running forward, picked up the rifle, seized it between his legs, grasped the grenade in his hands, and endeavoured to throw it away. While he was doing so it exploded, blowing off his right hand and inflicting other wounds. Had not Lieutenant Brown seized the grenade in his hand, thus sheltering the men, there can be little doubt that several of them would have been killed or severely injured.”
Accession Number: KO2695/53
bulletMessage and Signal Form 4 Aug 1918
Accession Number: KO2695/54
bulletEnvelope addressed to Miss N Brown, 28 William Street, Rochdale, from R L Brown, Field Post Marked 27 Mar 1917 and passed by censor mark. (To his sister Nelly Brown)
Accession Number: KO2695/55
bulletEnvelope addressed to Mrs I G Brown, 28 William Street, Rochdale, from R L Brown, Field Post Marked 1 Sep 1918
Accession Number: KO2695/56
bulletEnvelope addressed to R L Brown , 1st KORL Regt, Storrs Hall, Ingleton, Yorkshire and redirected to 28 William Street, Rochdale. Postmarked 10 May 1918.
Accession Number: KO2695/57
bulletExtract from The Times of 5 Jan 1918 (marked incorrectly in ink as 1917) Including the Albert Medal citation for Richard Leslie Brown.
Accession Number: KO2695/58
bulletExtract featuring Second Lieutenant R L Brown’s wound whilst performing an act of conspicuous bravery. Recorded as the son of the late Mr J G Brown and of Mrs Brown of Rochdale, and a nephew of the Misses Brown, Storrs Hall, Ingleton.
Accession Number: KO2695/59
bulletExtract featuring the change of the Albert Medal to the George Cross for 2nd Lieutenant Richard Leslie Brown, Yorkshire Post, 18 Jul 1972
Accession Number: KO2695/60
bulletExtract featuring the obituary of Richard Leslie Brown
Accession Number: KO2695/61
bulletProgramme for Reception for Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders at Buckingham Palace on 21 May 1974
Accession Number: KO2695/62
bulletProgramme for the Service and Remembrance and Re-Dedication at St. Martin in the fields, the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.
Accession Number: KO2695/63
bulletPage one of two Letter to ‘My Dear Mary’ from Richard Leslie Brown
Accession Number: KO2695/64
bulletPage two of two Letter to ‘My Dear Mary’ from Richard Leslie Brown
Accession Number: KO2695/65
bulletLeather writing case used by Richard Leslie Brown and marked ‘G Millington Lancaster’ on the interior
Accession Number: KO2695/66

 

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