1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Hedley Goldsmith Browne

Contributed by: Anna Stone, on 2008-11-07

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Rank
First Name Hedley Goldsmith
Surname Browne
Year of Birth 1889
Year of Death 1918
Regiment Unknown
Place of Wartime Residence Norwich, Norfolk

Hedley Goldsmith's Story

A keen gymnast who enjoyed motor cycle racing and coxed the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society rowing fours. Enlisted in 1914 as a motor cycle dispatch rider and also served in the Royal Engineers. Served three years in France. Fought at Mons, the Marne, the Somme.

My word! We've just had a fright

Wrote to his father 30 October 1914: "have been stuck in a small stable all the day. They started shelling us this morning at dawn with high explosives and Jack Johnsons and have kept it up off and on ever since. Two houses within twenty yards have been blown to pieces and in the ground all around us the shells have made holes big enough to bury a horse. Four big shells have - My word! We've just had a fright, one got this roof and has made a large hole: one fellow wounded in the leg."

On 31 October he wrote again "They... are still popping shells around the place we left yesterday. Just got hold of a fine German bayonet complete: am fastening it on the bike... Did I tell you about the bullets coming through the roof in the last house when we were asleep, in one side and out the other? Don't worry I shall come through."

In May 1915 he wrote: "Since we Ianded in France I have been waiting for the opportunity of seeing what trench life is really like; also to have one pot at the Bosche. Well to-day the chance came, and a comrade and myself set out early. We entered the communication trench about one and a half miles from the actual firing line, the starting point being labelled Marble Arch - all the trenches hereabouts were named after London streets. Thus we proceeded along Harley Street to the Brickfields, which the Guards Brigade had captured from the Germans a month previously, turned down Coldstream Lane and arrived at the actual firing line. My first feeling was one of absolute security (as long as I refrained from popping my head over) the trench being so deep that it was necessary to stand on a step to see between the sand bags. A peep through the periscope showed dozens of Germans lying dead between the two lines, and the sight made me realise the horror of it all. I borrowed a rifle and was enabled to send a 'souvenir' or two to the enemy."

Killed in a flying accident.

Other memories

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