Private William Browning

Service Army Service No. 11255 Cap badge Devonshire Regiment
Rank Private
Regiment:Devonshire Regiment, 8th Battalion
Date of Birth: 1897
Born Dawlish
Date of Death: 01/07/1916
Memorial: Not Listed Memorial Inscription

Service History

There is little to find about William's Army career, but we know that he arrived in France on the 8th December 1915.

The Devonshire Regiment would have been refreshed by new trainees after the losses of the Battle of Loos (25 September 1915) and they were part of the Somme offensive of 1st July 1916. In the opening phase the British assault broke into and gradually moved beyond the first of the German defensive complexes on the Somme. Success on the first day in the area between Montauban and Mametz led to a redirection of effort to that area, for the initial attack was defeated with huge losses north of Mametz. There was a stiff fight for Trones Wood and costly, hastily planned and piecemeal attacks that eventually took La Boisselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood.

Association with Dawlish

William Browning was the second son of James Browning (1864-1918) and Fanny Langdon (1859-1954). James had been born in Throwleigh where his father, William, had been an agricultural labourer (1871) and had married Eliza. Both parents had been born in Sampford Courtenay.

James married Fanny Langdon in Q2, 1893 (Newton Abbot district, Vol 5b, p324) and they had six children between then and 1911, although two had died.
The survivors were James (1895- ), William (1897-1916), Dorothy Eliza (1898-1960) and John Langdon (1904-1990).

Fanny Langdon was born to John Langdon, a shoemaker, and Elizabeth Langdon in Liskeard, Cornwall. After leaving school she moved away taking work as a domestic servant and in 1891 was Cook to the household of Georgina Pike at 1 Oak Park Villas, East Cliff, Dawlish.

In 1901 the family were living at 6 Commercial Road, Dawlish and James was now working as a Town Porter for the GWR. By 1911 the whole family had moved to 2 Brunswick Terrace, Torre, Torquay where James, 46, was once again a farm labourer, James, 16, was a grocer's apprentice, William, 14, was an errand boy and the younger children were at school.

Devon Roll of Honour He is not inscribed on the Dawlish list.
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: James Browning, father.
Last Known Address: 2 Brunswick Terrace, Torre, Torquay. William is shown on the St Marychurch War Memorial, Torquay

Cap badge Devonshire Regiment
Cap badge -The Devonshire Regiment

Memorial tablet at the Devonshire Cemetery, near Mametz, Picardy

William Browning in Devonshire Cemetery, nr Mametz, Picardy - inscription reads "In loving memory - Anchored safe where storms are o'er"

Landscape towards Mametz May 2016

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Browning family tree (Ancestry)