WJ Brown & the difficulties of a common name

One of great difficulties in locating our fallen Saracens is those players with a relatively common name. Whilst Capellis and Flatau’s are a relatively exclusive clan, narrowing down the options on Evans, Brown and Williams is a somewhat taller order. Take for example WJ Brown, who appears in our team photo, seated on the ground 2nd from the left (as viewed):


Some preliminary research has thrown up:

William John Brown, enlisted in Stamford Hill, Middlesex, fought in the Duke of Cambridge’s own (Middlesex Regiment) 1/7th Battalion. He fought in France and Flanders, and was killed in action 11th October 1918.

However he is obviously far from alone as a W Brown from North London that served in the war. No less than 12 W Browns died during WW1 that have a connection with Middlesex, either through their regiment, place of enlistment or place of residence. A much higher number served. 


Tracking him on the census is complicated also, with 180 potential matches, and of those 3 matching perfectly in age and location profile.

How to solve this then? We are fortunate enough to have a photo to try and match up, potentially with regimental records. Otherwise we may be reliant on an obituary, or family member getting in touch to confirm whether our WJ Brown was a casualty of the war. Finding family members of the young men that perished is rendered more difficult than those of survivors, as often they dont have surviving offspring so we are reliant on great-nieces and nephews.


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