Esme Brotherton MM
Esme Brotherton was born in 1890 in Guildford to Francis and Hannah Brotherton. He was the fourth child of eleven and had six brothers and four sisters. The family owned the Bowling Green Restaurant in Castle Square, Guildford.
Before the war, Esme was employed as a clerk for the Inland Revenue and in 1915 he married Lilian Holdforth at St Bartholomew's Church and probably moved in with her at 112 Lumley Road, Horley.
He enlisted in Fulham as 2540 Private Brotherton in the 25th Cyclists' Battalion (The London Regiment) and later transferred to 1st Battalion, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), part of 1st London Division.
In August 1914 they were fully mobilised and posted to guard the London-Newhaven railway but in mid-September they sailed for Malta where they stayed until February 1915.
By March they had landed at Le Havre and joined 25th Brigade, 8th Division. 25th Brigade were in action throughout 1915 and fought at Neuve Chapelle, Aubers and at Bois Grenier, which was a diversionary attack coinciding with the Battle of Loos.
In February 1916 the battalion was transferred to 167th Brigade, 56th (London) Division and were in action throughout the Somme campaign. Esme was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and, at some point in his service, he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery but it is not known when this occurred.
In mid-summer of 1917 the British Army embarked on the 3rd Battle of Ypres. Heavy rain soon made the ground impassable and it was not until 16th August that the attack could be renewed.
The village of Langemarck was attacked on that day and it seems likely that Esme died near there.
He was killed in action, aged 27, on 16th August 1917 and has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.
[Acknowledgements - The Men of Horley who gave their lives during World War One 1914-1918 - Horley Town Council]
In Memory of
Service No: 203576
Date of Death: 16/08/1917
Regiment/Service: London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) 1st Bn.
Awards: M M
Panel Reference: Panel 52.
Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
[Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission]
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