Francis (Frank) Brown was born in Flint in 1882 and the sixth of nine children to Thomas Brown and Margaret (Bradshaw). Thomas and Margaret were both born in Ireland, with Thomas employed as a chemical yard labourer in Flint. They resided at 4, Commercial Road, Flint.
It was reported in the County Herald that at the Flint Petty Sessions, in March, 1889, Thomas Brown of Commercial Road was summoned by Police Constable Ward to recover the sum of 16s, being the amount due in respect of the maintenance of the defendant’s boy, now confined to the Birkdale
Industrial School. An order was made for payment forthwith or 14 days in gaol. It is not known which son it was referring to. The Birkdale Industrial School was the Birkdale Farm Reformatory School for Roman Catholic Boys at Ainsdale, near Southport.
Frank’s mother Margaret died in 1901, aged about 47. His father collapsed and died suddenly on the evening of 22nd November, 1910 of a heart attack whilst out walking on Corporation Street. An inquest took place the following evening at the Town Hall where the Jury returned a verdict of death from ‘natural causes.’ He was 56.
The 1911 census revealed Frank to be a boarder at 2, Commercial Road, the home of a Mr and Mrs George Foulkes. Later that month, on 17th April, 1911, he married Liverpool born Ellen (Nellie) Whitty at St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead.
They lived at 54, Meadow Lane, Rock Ferry, Wirral and Frank was now employed at the nearby Port Sunlight Soap Works. Nellie was also employed there working as a soap packer. Frank was at one time a member of the Loyal Flint Castle Lodge of Oddfellows. They had two children: Thomas Francis (1911–1969) and Dennis (1914–1985).
Frank enlisted at Port Sunlight, Wirral and landed in France on 25th September, 1915.
He died on 8th July, 1916 as a result of a bullet wound to the neck received in action in France on the same day and was buried in the Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery and Extension, Somme, France (Plot III, Row C, Grave 16).
He is remembered on two war memorials: St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint and Port Sunlight Village, Wirral, Cheshire.
He was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Nellie remarried at Birkenhead in 1919 to Thomas Vincent Murphy and they had three children. Thomas was killed in an accident at Cammell Laird’s Shipyard on 11th April, 1929 aged 50. Nellie died in Holywell on 13th November, 1963, aged 80, and was buried with Thomas in Bebington Cemetery.