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Remembered Today:

War Memoirs of Pte CB Brown, 2nd King Edward Horse and 12th Tank Corps


AlanCurragh
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I was over in Belfast at the weekend doing some research, and visited the archive room of my old school. As well as lots of picking up loads of useful information (I now have photos of about 75% of the men I am researching), I found an A4 sized manuscript entitled "Memoirs of a Private Soldier in the Grear War" by Private Charles B Brown of the 2nd King Edward's Horse and latterly 12th Battalion Tank Corps. The chap showing me round the archives had never noticed the volume there before.

I was amazed to find the book was a 400 page typewritten account of Charles' wartime service, from 1914 to 1918, with the occasional pencil drawing. He survived the war, used his wartime diaries to write his memoirs in the 60s, donated them to the school, and died in 1976.

As far as I can tell I am the first person to look at it (apart from the odd pupil) in 40 years. The archivist was happy to loan me the book and allowed me to bring it back to England, with the assurance I would return it to the school.

I've not had a chance to go through it in much detail as yet, but am happy to do any lookups for pals interested in either of Charles' units. It is written as a diary, so every day of interest has an entry.

Beyond that, I'm not sure what to do with the manuscript. In the first instance, I think I'll probably scan it - quite a job as the book is bound. Have other pals come across items of this kind, and what have they done with them? I'm not really imagining I have another "Somme Mud" on my hands, but I'm sure that, with the school's permission, there could be a wider audience for it.

I'll post some sample pages tonight - I'd be curious whether people think it could be of wider interest.

Thanks

Alan

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Delta - have spent a while trying to scan the book but with little result - it's too big and bulky to fit by scanner. Is there any period in particular you are interested in?

Alan

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Alan

What a marvellous find. I would be interested in any details of tanks - names, numbers, fates, commanders. But I don't want to ask more than is reasonable. We're all busy people so please ignore this request with a clear conscience if I'm asking too much.

Gwyn

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Gwyn - I don't think I'll have much chance to look through the memoirs till the weekend - but I'll see what I can find out of substance then...

Alan

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Amazing. I'm also interested in the tank info but I have another question. I thought that the 2nd King Edward's Horse was formed from men who'd already served in the colonies (notably in the Boer and Sudan conflicts). Given the dates you've provided your chap seems a little young for this (unles of course he was very long lived) so what is his hitory in terms of enlisting in this unit?

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Charles was born in Belfast in 1892, but moved to Canada in 1913. So he was in the colonies when war broke out. He returned to Europe in 1915 (so although his diaries cover 1914, his war service doesn't) and then enlisted in Belfast.

"On the wall of the recruitment office was a poster stating that young men from the colonies who could ride and shoot were wanted for the 2nd King Edward's Horse. As I was from Canada this was all that was needed. The question of my horsemanship and marksmanship was not brought up"

I'll add more detail tomorrow.....sleep and work intervene sadly!

Alan

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Hi Mark - yes, I did get your offer - I thought I'd sent a PM but maybe it went astray - yes please, any info gratefully received.

Alan

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MagicRat,

Like the others, I am interested in the tank element of the diary. Not sure how you will be able to pass on the info though if the diary is too bulky to scan. It sounds as though this is something that should be published and short of you typing the whole thing out I am not sure how the publishers would deal with that.

Looking forward to seeing what you can post though!!

Tanks3

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If the thing could be plain old fashioned photocopied, maybe you could get volunteers (e.g. me!)to transcribe pages according to their time available, then stitch their word docs together for contributors to share and maybe secure publication. I'm sure the school would not mind any cash coming from the effort

Edwin

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Here is the first of four pages from the memoirs, concerning the actions of 30th August 1918

post-2705-1204138065.jpg

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Great find, Alan. I'm hoping that school archivists are looking ahead to 2014 with a view to marking the centenary of the start of the Great War by commemorating their pupils who served their country. I've suggested this to the archivist at my old school, and have sent him details of several lesser-known old boys that I've come across incidentally.

Moonraker

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If the thing could be plain old fashioned photocopied, maybe you could get volunteers (e.g. me!)to transcribe pages according to their time available, then stitch their word docs together for contributors to share and maybe secure publication. I'm sure the school would not mind any cash coming from the effort

Edwin

I would be willing to do some transcription. I did "A Company of Tanks" over at Landships.

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Good to see the interest in this - I'll post another excerpt later on. I think I can certainly photograph the whole book - then we can see what interest there is in transcribing

Alan

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Good to see the interest in this - I'll post another excerpt later on. I think I can certainly photograph the whole book - then we can see what interest there is in transcribing

Alan

I've transcribed the pages already posted. Minimal changes; a brief footnote correcting Haviland and Wolfs to Harland and Wolff, "Suddently" has been retained, and "shoot" was rendered in bold as it appeared this way in the text. The original page numbers are in the header.

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