Private Brian Stewart FLOOD
Killed in Action 25 January 1917
Brian Stewart Flood was born Hammersmith on 4 October 1894 and was baptised at Christ Church Turnham Green at the age of nearly 4 on 9 March 1898 by Revd. Prescott. His parents were Frederick Lloyd Flood and Florence Mary Flood nee Milligan, allegedly resident in 1898 at 4 Wellington Street, Cheltenham at the time of Brian’s Baptism. Frederick described as “gentleman” in the Baptismal Register. The parents were divorced in 1897, having been married in Cheltenham in January 1993. At that time, Frederick Flood is stated to have been an actor.
It seems he would have been fostered and boarded in Chiswick. In the 1901 Census return it is clear that Brian had two sisters, Edith, b 1893 and Kathleen, b 1895. They lived at 20 Heathfield Terrace in the home of sisters, Helen and Emily Seymour Turner. In 1911 the sisters had moved to 19 Harvard Road, Chiswick, with Brian, now 16. His elder sibling was no longer living at the same address but Kathleen at age 14 was, and a scholar. Sharing the house at that time was a Government Medical Officer, Dr Joseph Nurse (48) with his wife Ellen and their children Rachel (6), Charles (4) and Walter (9mths), recently returned from the West Indies and another lodger Mary Ord (77). Brian worked as a clerk at a firm of accountants.
Brian Stewart Flood enlisted at Stamford Brook as Pte. 1802, 10th Battalion. Middlesex Regiment presumably as a Territorial, before 4 August 1914. The Battalion was part of the Middlesex Brigade in the Home Counties Division. On 30 October 1914 it sailed from Southampton for India, arriving Bombay on 2 December 1914. The 1/5th (Weald of Kent) Battalion, East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) was part of the Kent Brigade, in the same Home Counties Division. The Division was broken up on arrival in Bombay into Indian Divisions and it would have been while in India that Brian would have been attached to the latter battalion, as Pte 242922.
The 1/5th (Weald of Kent) Battalion then transferred to Mesopotamia in November 1915 in the 35th Indian Brigade, formed in December 1915, and arrived in Mesopotamia in the same month. It was attached to the 7th (Meerut) Division until February 1916. While with the division, it took part in the attempts to relieve the 6th (Poona) Division besieged in Kut , including the Action of Shaikh Saad (6 – 8 January 1916), the Action of the Wadi (13 January 1916) and the First Attack on Hanna (21 January 1917). After a short bombardment on 20 and 21 January 1916, the 7th Division charged the Ottoman lines. In an advance across 600 yards of flooded no-man’s land, the British sustained 2,700 casualties. The well-prepared Ottoman positions, notably the well-sited machine gun nests, forced them to abandon the assault and withdraw the relief force to the base of Ali Gharbi. Medical care was practically non-existent, and the night after the attack saw freezing temperatures. Many British wounded suffered unnecessarily, and morale plummeted. The besieged garrison in Kut-al-Amara could hear the distant sound of the fighting relief force, and when it remained distant, morale there suffered as well. Despite two more relief attempts, the garrison at Kut-al-Amara was forced to surrender to the Ottoman forces on 29 April 1916. Brian Flood was lucky to survive this. The 35th Brigade moved to 14th (Indian) Division in May 1916. The battalion saw further action undertaken by the 14th Division in December 1916 in the Advance to the Hai and capture of the Khudaira Bend, followed by the Capture of the Hai Salient from 25 January to 5 February 1917 (see maps). It was on the first day of that Divisional attack that Brian Stewart Flood would have lost his life.
He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, on panel 6. It commemorates more than 40,500 members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921 and whose graves are not known. The memorial was designed by Edward Warren.
Brian’s sole legatee was his “landlady” in Chiswick, Helen Turner. None of his medals were accepted by his legatee. He had been awarded the Territorial War Medal, the rarest of the five World War One Campaign awards, as he had been a Territorial soldier at the start of the War, but not eligible for the 1914-15 Star having not seen his first action until 1916. He also was awarded the British War and Victory medals.