Charles E Brown; a Manx Man at War

Isle of Man World war 1 History


On October 2nd 1915 Charles was posted abroad, as part of the British Expeditionary Force to France. As to his exact location the records do not tell, but the next chronological mention of him is in his medical records. On June 21st 1916 he suffered a gunshot wound to his back and both of his feet. Apparently this was an accidental shooting, presumably by one of his comrades in arms. The combination of injuries is unusual; conjecture suggests the possibility he was kneeling, probably in a trench, with his bottom on his feet. Someone adjacent to him presumably accidentally discharged a rifle which was pointing in a downward direction. The bullet perhaps scrazed Charles' lower back and his feet. Not a serious injury but extremely painful. If these were the circumstances then you could say he was lucky not to have sustained a more serious wound. He was sent to hospital at Wimereux, and on June 28th moved to Boulogne. On July 3rd he was pronounced fit and on the 11th returned to duties. The time scale bears out the theory that the wound was not serious.

The next wound was serious. On November 9th 1916 Charles suffered another gunshot wound, this time to his upper left arm by courtesy of the enemy. He was sent immediately to Boulogne for return to the UK, and on November 29th entered Edmonton Military Hospital in London. Including the medical attention he received in France, Charles was in hospital from November 22nd 1916 until May 14th 1917, a total according to the records, of 164 days. The wound was described thus;" Perforating round through left arm, severance of brachial artery." The bullet entered three inches above the elbow. The arm became "very red and swollen and tender. No pain in (?). Temperature and pulse (?) (?) Brachial artery said to have been severed. Very small radial pulse. Anathaesia of thumb and first  two fingers. (?) Discharge to CH much improved and arm not painful though considerable pus discharging."

 Part of Charles  general medical record


 A section of the Edmonton Military Hospital Record


Although some of the words are indecipherable it is clear that the wound was serious.The amount of time spent recovering testifies to this, especially considering that on his discharge from hospital Charles was granted a "furlo" or temporary leave of absence from May 5th 1917 until May 14th of the following year.

 Edmonton Military Hospital


 A further view of the Military Hospital at Edmonton


 Where Charles was during his furlo is not stated; presumably he was able to return home to complete his recovery. What is certain is that he returned to the Front. On the 31st of August 1917 he had been transferred to a Reserve Battalion, but was transferred again on the 27th of June 1918, when  he was declared fit to return to the front line.