Lewis Brown

Thornton Cleveleys War Memorial 1914-1918 | Index

Lewis Brown
EnlargeLewis Brown
Lewis Brown was born in Blackpool on 23 October 1899, the only child of Reginald Percy Brown and his wife Minnie Boothroyd who had married on 1 July 1895 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Percy and Minnie moved to Blackpool shortly before Lewis was born. Having previously worked as a grocer's assistant and then as an insurance agent, Percy became an auctioneer, valuer and bailiff. In the 1901 Census the Brown family were living at 82 Lord Street, Blackpool. By about 1907 Percy had reverted to being a grocer and general dealer, operating from premises called "The Spot" in Abingdon Street before moving again to 31 Clifton Street. The business proved to be a success and the family were able to set up their home at King's Bridge, Lime Grove, Thornton.

Lewis was educated at Baines Grammar School in Poulton-le-Fylde and in the Census taken on 2 April 1911 he was recorded as one of seven pupils boarding in the School House. Lewis finished his education at Arnold School, Lytham Road and then became an assistant manager in his father's well-known Universal Stores at Clifton Street.

In November 1917, at the age of 18, Lewis enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service as a Probationary Flight Officer. He attended a training course in Greenwich and then went to Eastbourne for practical training in flying. On 21 March next, Lewis was accidentally killed in tragic circumstances. The inquest heard that he was seated in an Avro 504A trainer, D1604, on the threshold of the runway at Eastbourne Aerodrome waiting for his propeller to be swung and his engine to be started. Another aircraft, flown by Prob. Flt. Off. John Philip, landed on top of Lewis's plane and either its propeller or undercarriage struck Lewis on the head, killing him instantly. The other aircraft was descending to land from a thousand feet but its pilot failed to see the stationary Avro as his vision was obstructed by the arc of his propeller. The verdict was one of accidental death and John Philip and others were absolved of blame.

Only the weekend before his death, Lewis had been home on leave. He was engaged to be married to Helen Green, the daughter of Elizabeth and John Henry Green, boarding house proprietors. He was buried at Blackpool Cemetery, Layton with military honours. The funeral procession started from his fiancee's house at 35 Clifton Street and was led by the full R.A.M.C band and buglars, followed by a contingent of R.N.A.S. officers. Probationary Flight Officer Lewis Brown, R.N.A.S., is also remembered on memorials at both Baines and Arnold schools.

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