ERNEST ARTHUR BROWNETT (1st February1894 – 16 January 1917)

Ernest Arthur was born in Langford, the youngest son of Charles Brownett, a coachman/gardener at Langford Court and his wife, Sarah Ann née Symes. In 1911, he was listed as a postman, aged 17. Also living in Langford were his brother, Edwin James (23), a domestic gardener, and their sister, Mabel Ellen (14).

He was known as Arthur, or Jim, and was Private 26046 serving in present-day Iraq with the 5th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, when he died on 16th January 1917 at the age of 22. He is buried in the Amara War cemetery (Grave Reference XVIII.D.9).  Amara (now Al Amarah) is a town on the left bank of the River Tigris some 520 kilometres from the sea. It was occupied by the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force on 3rd June 1915 and immediately became a hospital centre. Amara War cemetery contains 3,696 identified burials and 925 unidentified casualties of the First World War.

On the 3rd February 1917 the following obituary was printed in the Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald:-


 Much sympathy is extended by residents throughout Burrington and District toward Mr and Mrs Charles Brownet [sic] in the loss of their youngest son, Arthur Brownet, of the Wiltshire Regiment, who was killed in action at the Persian Gulf on January 16th. His parents had been wondering why they had received no letter from him, and on Saturday morning were shocked to receive a communication from the War Office notifying them of his death. The gallant young soldier was well known in the district being for many years in the Langford post office, where he was greatly missed when called up. Being of a genial kindly nature, he was very much beloved by those who came in contact with him. He was a member of the Burrington Church of England Men’s Society, and was also a member of the Men’s Club Committee. Mr and Mrs Brownet have one other son at the front and one serving with the YMCA.”

While at the front Arthur had become friends with a Samuel Millbank and they had pledged that if either were killed the other would visit their family. Samuel did that and later married Arthur’s sister Ellen (Nellie). Their grandson John Millbank has provided information and photographs since the publication of the Burrington in WWI book including the photographs of Ernest in postman’s uniform and Edwin with a horse.

Of other members of the family, Reginald Charles was born in 1884 and served with the YMCA from 1915 to 1920, as he was unfit for active service. In April 1915 he married Rose Shepstone. He died in 1939.

 Edwin James, who was born in 1888, served with the Royal Engineers as a Lance Corporal from 1914 to 1919 and saw active in France and Italy. Edwin did not marry, living in later life with his sister Lucy.