Brett, Patrick Joseph

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Peter Redfern Metcalfe

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Oddfellows Hall, Trelawny Square, Flint

Name / Enw: Brett, Patrick Joseph

Regiment/Catrawd: 1/5th (Flintshire) Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private No 901

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Northop Road Cemetery, Flint

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Grave 4, Line 28, South Side, Flintshire

Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: North Wales

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: None

Date of Death: 22nd October 1914

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

On the 22nd October 1914, he died at his home, 7, Chester Street, Flint, of bronchopneumonia

Patrick Joseph Brett was born 1st March, 1871 at Carra Na Gepple, Sligo, Ireland and was the third of seven children to Thomas Brett and Catherine (Gallagher).

Thomas and Catherine were both born in Sligo, Ireland and brought the family to England in the 1880s.

In the 1891 census the Brett family were living at 26, Ireton Street, Horton, Bradford, Yorkshire, where Mr Brett was listed as an unemployed confectioner and Patrick as a woollen mill hand.

Mr and Mrs Brett both died in Bradford, Yorkshire; Thomas in 1892, aged about 46, and Catherine in 1899, aged about 44.

t is not known exactly when Patrick moved to Flint but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Messrs Summers’ Ironworks, Shotton were employing in large numbers, including migrants from various English counties, so it is almost certain he came over for that reason, and he was employed as a dyer.

He married Harriet Stacey née Bithell at St Paul’s Parish Church, Seacombe, Wirral on 26th November, 1906. She was born in Flint in 1879 and the daughter of Edward Bithell (1852–1944), a fisherman, and his wife Alice (1860–1928), of Sea Villa, Flint. Patrick and Harriet lived at 7, Chester Street, Flint and had three children – Norah (1907–33); Delia (1912–?); Patrick Joseph (1915–74).

Harriet was first married at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint, 24th December, 1900, to Isaac Stacey, a merchant seaman, who served as a mate on board the merchant ships Winifred and John. He was serving as a master on the latter when, on 6th October, 1903, it foundered on the River Mersey and he drowned aged 24. They had two children named Isaac and Alice Gertrude.

Prior to WW1 Patrick served for twelve years with the Royal Irish Fusiliers, No. 347, then with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers from 17th January, 1907 to 23rd April, 1909. On 29th August, 1908 he passed a most successful examination qualifying as a first-class signaller. Captain E J H Williams, Flint, was regimental instructor, and his brother Sergeant H O Williams (who is written about elsewhere), Flint Company, was assistant instructor, to whom the credits of the excellent results were due. On 23rd May, 1911 he signed for four years’ service with the 5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Territorial Division based at Flint Castle with the rank of Private. His Medical Inspection Report described him as 5 ft 51⁄2 in tall, chest 37 in, dark brown hair, brown eyes, a dark complexion, with good vision and physical development. Mr George Clews, hairdresser, of 5, Chester Street, Flint, who provided a character reference for Private Brett, stated he had known him for 10 years and described him as sober and honest. He completed his preliminary training at Flint on 30th July, 1911 and was posted to Pembroke where he remained until the 13th August of the same year. There is a blank in his service record for the next three years until he enlisted at Flint with the Regular Army on the 5th August, 1914. He was discharged as medically unfit at Northampton on 6th October, 1914.

He died on 22nd October, 1914 at his home, 7, Chester Street, Flint, of bronchopneumonia, and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint (Line 28, South Side, Grave 4). He is remembered on the Oddfellows Hall memorial in Flint but was not eligible for any military awards.

The following report of his death appeared in the County Herald:
“About ten o’clock on Thursday morning the death occurred at his residence in Chester Street, Flint, of Mr Patrick J Brett, who had been for some years a well-known resident. The Deceased, who was 38 years of age, had been employed in local works and for a long period had been a member of the local Company of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He volunteered with others of the Regiment and was with the Regiment during the South African War. At the time of the mobilization of the 5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, three months ago, he was numbered with the “E” Company of Flint, and left with the Battalion for Northampton. Three weeks since he was discharged from the Regiment as medically unfit, and returned home, when he sought medical advice. Eventually, he was seized with a serious illness, and strength gradually failing he expired as stated. He had identified himself with the Conservative Party and was one of its staunchest workers during elections, and it is said he was able to wield some influence amongst a certain class of the voters. He was a member of the “Loyal Flint Castle Lodge” of Oddfellows, and his death is lamented by many in the ranks of the Territorials, as well as others who are living in Flint. He leaves a widow and three children to mourn his loss. – The funeral took place on Monday afternoon and was of a military character. Under the control of Company Sergeant-Major Williams, of the Headquarters’ Staff, 5th Batt. RWF, Flint Castle, the whole of the men at present stationed there, to the number of about 156, paraded, and proceeded to the residence, and the main thoroughfares leading to the cemetery were lined with spectators. The coffin was placed upon a hand-bier covered with the “Union Jack,” and on which were placed a number of pretty wreaths. The cortege was headed by the representatives of the “Loyal Flint Castle Lodge” of Oddfellows, who were followed by the Fusiliers’ Firing Party, with arms reversed. Then came the remains, which were borne by several of the Fusiliers. The members of the family, relatives, and general mourners were next in the mournful procession, the rear of which was composed of the remainder of the Fusiliers. At the Cemetery gate the remains were met by the Very Rev Canon Jennings, of the St Mary’s Catholic Church; and the interment was conducted with the ritual of that church. Immediately the prayers were concluded, the detachment of the Fusiliers fired three volleys over the grave, and the “Last Post” was sounded by Private J Owens, of Queensferry, who is connected with the National Reserves. An immense crowd of people were in the cemetery grounds. The Fusiliers were marched to the castle where they were dismissed.”

Harriet married a third time in 1921 to Charles Dutton (c.1872–1955). She died on 7th February, 1928 and was buried with second husband Patrick. For many years she conducted a toy and confectionery shop in Chester Street, and was well known and highly respected in the town. She was a keen member of the Women’s Guild and Mothers’ Union.

The Brett family grave at the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint

The Brett family grave at the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint