Felix John Brinn

Rank Rifleman
Service No R/14103
Date of Death 17/04/1918
Age 21
Regiment/Service King's Royal Rifle Corps 16th Battalion
Memorial Tyne Cot Memorial, one of four memorials to the missing in Belgium Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.

 

Felix was born on 13th October 1897 in Acton, west London. He was the seventh of thirteen children born to Frederick Brinn (1861-1931) and his wife Annabell, nee Hurn (1865-1930).

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family were living at 1 Vineyard Terrace, Finchley. Felix’s father was listed as a builder who was an employer.

The 1911 census indicates that the family were still living at 1 Vineyard Terrace. It lists Felix’s siblings as: Elizabeth (also called May, b.1887), Harriett (also called Daisy, b.1889), Edmund (b.1892), Fred (b.1893), Mabel (b.1894), Frank (b.1896), twins Annabell and Dorothy (b.1898), Grace (b.1904), Francis (b.1905) and Finley (1906-1991), and reveals that two siblings had died. At this time, Felix was at school and a part-time errand boy and his father was a ‘cartage contractor’, someone who transported goods.

On 15th June 1915, Felix enlisted with 16th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. This was a battalion made up of current and previous members of the Church Lads’ Brigade, the Church of England’s uniformed youth organisation. It was formed in 1891 and is still in existence today. www.clcgb.org.uk/documents/historical-group/194-brigade-factsheet-13-the-16th-battalion-krrc/file has more information on the role of the Battalion in the 1st World War.

From June 1915, the battalion was based at Clipstone Camp, a few miles from Mansfield, which was home to one of the largest military training camps of the Great War. Around 20-30,000 soldiers were stationed there at any one time. It then moved on to Perham Down, 6 miles northwest of Andover, in August 1915, and then went to France on 17th November 1915. The battalion took part in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, being part of the ‘second wave’ that went in to relieve a number of battalions at High Wood. 120 were killed and many more were wounded.

Felix’s enlistment papers describe him as being 5’10½” tall and a 19 year old milkman. He returned to the Officers' School and is noted as having been servant to Captain R. S. Cockburn, but unable to accompany him to Flanders in January I917 as he was undergoing medical treatment. He was declared fit for service on 7th May, the day he married sixteen year-old Gladys Allen (1901-1975) at St Paul’s Finchley, and sent to Aldershot to wait for deployment. He was admonished for an overnight absence from his regiment in Aldershot on 16th May 1917.

Felix went missing on 17th April 1918 and was presumed dead, having died of wounds. His body was never found.