Llewellyn Brick (1893-1916)

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This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.

Biography

Llewellyn Brick was born in Lindley on 10 February 1893 and baptised in St. Mark's, Longwood on 13 April, the second child of Austin and Clara Brick of 77, Wellington Street, Lindley, Huddersfield.

Llewellyn Brick was born in Lindley on 10 February 1893 and baptised in St. Mark's, Longwood on 13 April, the second child of Austin and Clara Brick.

Precisely where they were living in Lindley is unclear but in 1901 they lived at 75 Wellington Street in that complex of house — most of them back-to-back — that lie on the west side of Acre Street between the New Hey Road and the Sykes factory. They were still living there in 1911.

As his name suggests, Austin Brick was born in Wales, in Newtown in what is now Powys, in 1864. In 1881 he was working as a warper in the flannel industry, one of four children and four grandchildren living with his widowed mother, Mary.

Some time over the next few years he moved to Huddersfield, probably seeking better employment opportunities. On 13 June 1886 he married Clara Edon, a weaver and the daughter of a boiler maker of Hawk Street, near the town centre, at the New Connexion chapel on the High Street. He gave his address as 5 Wellington Street, Lindley, the home of Elizabeth Kitchingman, a widow who took in lodgers.

The couple's first child, John Edon, was born on 29 November and baptised three years later on 1 August 1889 at St. Mark's, Longwood. The dates suggest Clara was already carrying John when she married; this was far more common in late Victorian times than is sometimes suggested.

Mary was born in Lindley on 9 September 1890 and baptised at St. Mark's 9 June 1892. Their address in the 1891 census was given as "Wellington St", with no number. Austin's employment was given as "warper", the work he had done in Wales. Two years later, Llewellyn was born.

Llewellyn started at Oakes Infants School 16 November 1896 and went on to attend the elementary school until he left at age thirteen.

The Bricks had nine children in all, but two died in infancy: Harry died soon after birth 1889 and their first child, John died at the age of ten in 1896.

In 1911, like their father and many of their neighbours, Mary Ellen and Edith Annie Brick worked in the textile industry, Mary the eldest, as a weaver, her sister at 15 years old, as a hank winder. Llewellyn worked as "machine tenter" in the Sykes card clothing works a few minutes walk from their home in Wellington Street and had been there since at least 1909. In January 1910 he was earning around 10/- a week as a "tenter lad". The trade was highly skilled and required a seven-year apprenticeship; tenters in the card factory were organised into their own Society and earned upwards of £2 a week at that time.

No 75 was typical of the street: four rooms and back-to-back, and situated near the Forresters Hall and the junction with King Street. With three working children and another four at school, the sleeping arrangements must have been difficult to say the least. Austin's wages as a warper — he was no longer a weaver — could not have been very great and the contribution of the children who were in work must have been important for the family budget.

Llewellyn served in the Territorial Battalion, the 1/5th, of the Duke of Wellington's, enlisting on 4 September 1914. His Medal Roll Index Card shows a much lower original number, in line with having enlisted early. The Battalion arrived in France in April 1915, sailing from Folkestone after a period at camps such as Clipstone in Nottinghamshire. Many Lindley men arrived in France that day.

A service held in St. Stephen's in 1915 to pray for those of the parish on active service lists, as well as Llewellyn, his brother George Herbert. George served in the Royal Navy and at the end of the war was on HMS Grafton.

Wounded in the thigh by shrapnel in August 1915 while carrying water, Llewellyn was treated at the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich.

In March 1916 Llewellyn received news that his mother had died. She was fifty years old. In September the Huddersfield Chronicle reported that Llewelyn had been wounded, but he was not out of the front line for long.

The 1/5th Battalion along with other Dukes battalions, took part in the first days of the Battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916. On 3 September the 1/5 assembled at 3.45 am in trenches in front of the 1 July line. They were to take part on the assault on a heavily defended German position known as the Pope's Nose. The British bombardment began at 5.10. At 5.13 they went "over the top". For a variety of reasons, as the Battalion War Diary says "... The whole attack failed."

Crossing No Man's Land they suffered horrific casualties as attacks on their flanks failed and the inability to cross safely prevented supplies being taken forward. Large numbers of officers were killed and wounded. Retreating in the open also cost lives. By 9.30 am some companies were back where they had started. It was the second worse day in the Battalion’s history: they had lost 109 officers and men.

As well as Llewellyn, three other Lindley men died: Frank Parker in the 1/6th who were attacking to the right, and Willie Brook of Birchencliffe, like Llewellyn, 1/5th, also died. In addition, Sam Gledhill of the 1/7th Battalion which was shelled heavily while waiting in reserve, also died. It was a terrible day for the West Riding as all the battalions in France suffered huge losses. Five Lindley men had been killed including Fred Durrans, a near neighbour of Llewellyn's at number 16, who died later of wounds received on the 3 September.

Austin Brick first heard that his son was missing in a letter from Sergeant Goldsborough, from Wellington Street, who had served with Llewellyn. The company C.O. suggested it was still possible that he had been wounded and taken back by a different regiment. This was reported in the Examiner before any notice of Llewellyn's death.

There are over 1800 Commonwealth soldiers buried at the Mill Road cemetery at Thiepval in the Somme area, where Llewellyn is buried. Eight hundred and fifteen are unidentified.

Llewellyn is remembered in St. Stephen's and on the Thorncliffe Street Chapel memorial[1] which he may have attended. However, he is also remembered at the Baptist church at the top of Wellington Street, as is Samuel Gledhill who died on the same day. This memorial may have served as a neighbourhood memorial as well as remembering those from the congregation who died.

Llewelyn's sister, Mary, married Austin Adams in early 1919 and later in the year the couple had a son who they christened Llewelyn.

Austin Brick lived to see another world war, dying at the end of 1950.

On Christmas Eve 1921, Austin's other daughter, Edith Annie, married Arthur Wyatt, an ex-professional soldier who had been a prisoner in Germany and who was by then a steel clip maker at Sykes' factory. Austin was a witness. One of their daughters, Brenda, married James Roberts in 1959 by which time the family lived in both 79 Wellington Street and the one behind, number 77. The newly-weds lived in the attic that stretched across both.[2]

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

BRICK, LLEWELLYN. Private. No 242446. 1/5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Born 75 Wellington Street, Oakes, Huddersfield, 10.9.1893. Son of Austin and Clara Brick. Educated at Oakes Council School. Employed as a machine tenter by Messrs Joseph Sykes Brothers of Acre Mills, Lindley. Single. Enlisted 4.9.1914. Embarked for France in April, 1915. Was wounded in the thigh by shrapnel in August, 1915, whilst water carrying. Treated at the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich. Reported missing 3.9.1916, aged 23, in the attack on the Schwaben Redoubt. Buried MILL ROAD CEMETERY. Grave location:- Plot 1, Row E, Grave 19.
ROH:- Oakes Baptist Church; St. Stephen's Church, Lindley; Huddersfield Drill Hall.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Links

Notes and References

  1. Now relocated in the Methodist Church in East Street.
  2. David Verguson: "Sadly, Brenda is now dead, but I am indebted to her husband James for this information."