Joseph Herman Preston Brown

Thornton Cleveleys War Memorial 1914-1918 | Index

Joseph Herman Preston Brown was born in Fleetwood in 1898. Herman, as he was known, was the middle child of three born to John Brown junior and his wife Elizabeth Preston who had married in 1895. His elder sister Edith Margery Preston Brown was born on 23 June 1896 and his younger brother John Preston Brown was born on 18 January 1900, both also in Fleetwood.

London City and Midland Bank War Memorial, London.
EnlargeLondon City and Midland Bank War Memorial, London.
Herman's mother was the seventh child of Joseph Preston and his wife Ellen Salthouse who had married on 28 September 1850 at St. Michael, Kirkham. The family firm of Joseph Preston and Sons is one of the oldest established in Fleetwood. To the original painting, decorating and plumbing business was added a ship chandlery department, a copper and tinsmith's shop and an ironmongery department. His sons further expanded the business and were party to the building of houses in what is now known as Cleveleys Park.

Herman's father John was also a well known figure in Fleetwood. Born in Morecambe in 1864 he became a clerk working for the Preston Banking Company which later amalgamated with the London City and Midland Banking Company. John worked his way up the ladder earning several promotions and was appointed the manager of the Fleetwood branch of the bank around 1897. He was also Treasurer of the Urban District Councils of Fleetwood, Preesall and Thornton. The Brown family lived at 7 Balmoral Terrace, Fleetwood.

Sadly, both Herman's parents died whilst he was still very young, Elizabeth on 5 July 1905, aged 42, and John, from acute pneumonia, on 10 November 1907 aged 43. Their three children then appear to have been split up. Whilst Edith went to live with the family of her father's brother William, a master plumber, Herman and John were brought up by their great aunt Matilda Ritchie in Beach Avenue, Cleveleys.

Herman was educated at Baines Grammar School in Poulton-le-Fylde, passing his Cambridge Local Examinations in December 1913. After leaving school, he became a bank clerk joining his father's banking company. His younger brother also joined the bank later.

Like so many others, Herman's war service record has not survived. We know that he joined the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment and that he was killed in action on 14 April 1918 during the battle of the Lys, Flanders. He was aged 19. Again like so many others, Herman's body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on Panels 6 and 7 of the Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium.

Pte. Joseph Herman Preston Brown, 50324, 2nd Battalion Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) Regiment is also commemorated on memorials at Baines Grammar School, Poulton-le-Fylde; St. Andrew's Church, Cleveleys; and on the London City and Midland Banking memorial which is now located in HSBC's head office building in Canary Wharf, London. He is also remembered on his parents' gravestone at the United Reformed Church, Lodge Lane, Elswick.

© 2023