RTS/2960 Private Fred Brazier, Army Service Corps Remounts Service; subsequently 52619 83rd Battalion, Training Reserve and 124474 Labour Corps
Born on 1st May 1888 in Winslow, Buckinghamshire
Died in 1965 in Hampshire
Fred Brazier was born in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, the second of the six children of William Brazier and Henrietta née White. His father was a Labourer.
He had two older brothers: Henry Charles, born on 21st June 1886 and Herbert, born in 1890.
His younger siblings were Charles, born 6th July 1892, Nellie, born 8th October 1894 and Albert Edward, born 21st November 1896.
In the 1891 and 1901 Census, the Brazier family lived at 5 Piccadilly, Union Street, Winslow, Bucks.
In the 1911 Census, Fred was a 22 year old Cowman, a boarder in the household of David and Frances Child at Little Green, Croxley Green.
On 19th August 1913, Fred Brazier married Harriet Ellen Mayling in Berkhamsted. Harriet was the eldest child of Frank and Sara Ann Mayling of Ringshall.
On 3rd October 1914, 26 year old Fred, a Roughrider, enlisted as a Private in the Army Service Corps Remounts Service. He was 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 114 pounds and had a 36 inch chest. He served overseas at No. 2 Base Remount Depot in Le Havre from 16th October 1914 to 19th February 1916, when he returned to England “for transfer to other arms”.
The birth and death of Fred’s elder son, Francis F W Brazier, are both recorded in the 1st Quarter of 1915.
From 24th October 1916 to 22nd April 1917, Fred served as a Private in the 83rd Battalion, Training Reserve. This Battalion was formed from the 12th (Reserve) Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment and was based in Newcastle.
On 23rd April 1917, Fred was transferred to the 25th (Works) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which, almost at once, became the 7th Labour Battalion of the Labour Corps.
Fred served in the Labour Corps in France for the remainder of the War:
- 15th May 1917 – 5th March 1918: 196 Labour Company in France
- 6th March 1918 – 4th March 1919: 172 Labour Company in France until 23rd February 1919
- From 5th March 1919: 116 Labour Company.
Fred was demobilised and transferred to Class Z Reserve at Nottingham on 23rd March 1919, though his Service Record confusingly notes a posting to 37 Labour Company on 10th April 1919, rapidly followed by 129 Labour Company on 19th April. He had served 3 years 297 days in France and was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. His intended address on demobilisation was 24 Ringshall, the home of his wife’s family, the Maylings.
The original, pre-Second World War, wording on the left hand panel of the Little Gaddesden War Memorial on the village green read:
This memorial is erected in honour of the one hundred and thirty six men who went from the villages of Little Gaddesden, Hudnall and Ringshall and served in the war of 1914 = 1918. The names of those who gave their lives for their country are cut on the stones here. The names of those who returned to England are preserved in the Church.
However, the Church Roll of Honour lists only 119 men; one of those omitted is Fred Brazier, possibly because his association with the village was the result of his marriage rather than his upbringing. 24 Ringshall was his address on demobilisation and the one at which he was registered to vote in 1919. His name has been added to the 2018 Centenary Revision of the Roll of Honour.
Fred’s brothers-in-law John (Jack) Mayling, Bedfordshire Regiment and William Mayling, Hertfordshire Regiment are also named on the Roll of Honour. William died on 3rd September 1916 in the 3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford and is buried in Little Gaddesden churchyard. John survived the War and later married Fred Brazier’s younger sister Nellie.
Birth of a Daughter 1
Fred and Harriet’s daughter, Mary J Brazier was born in the 4th Quarter of 1919.
By Spring 1921, Fred and Harriet lived at ‘Woodwalks’, Chandler’s Cross, Watford.
Fred and Harriet’s daughter, Constance N Brazier was born in 1922 and their son Maurice W Brazier on 27th February 1924.
From 1925 to at least 1929, the family lived at ‘The Firs’, Croxley Green.
By September 1939, their address was the Cottage, Stokke Manor, Stokke Common, Great Bedwyn. Fred was a Chauffeur and Handyman, Harriet engaged in “Unpaid Domestic Dutues” and Maurice at Secondary School.
Fred Brazier died aged 76 in the 1st Quarter of 1965. His death was registered in the Kingsclere District of Hampshire.
10. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge
Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson