Clifford Harold Brazier was born and raised in the Moulsham area of Chelmsford. He joined the army in 1916, and was killed in action near Ypres in October 1917. His father ran a greengrocers in Duke Street, Chelmsford where Clifford had worked before his call-up.
Clifford was born in Chelmsford in 1897, the youngest of ten children of the gardener Thomas Joseph Brazier and Rebecca Brazier (nee Gage). His father had been born in 1856 in Galleywood; his mother c1854 in Coggeshall. The couple had married on 3rd December 1881 at Galleywood. At the time Clifford’s father was a 26 year-old gardener living at Galleywood Common. His bride was aged 27 and living in Chiswick in Surrey.
A decade later they had been living in Bridge Road, Chelmsford (now Upper Bridge Road), with Clifford’s father employed as a domestic gardener. For more than 30 years he worked in that role for Walter Gray of Phoenix House in New London Road, Chelmsford.
Clifford was baptised at the London Road, Congregational Church in Chelmsford on 31st October 1897. Eight of his siblings were also baptised there - the ninth died when only three days old presumably before there was time for the baptism.
Those nine siblings, all Chelmsford-born, were: Percival Thomas Brazier (1882 – 1965), Albert Charles Brazier (1884 – 1960), Laura Harriet Brazier (1885 – 1886), Frank Hector Brazier (1887 – 1888), Gertrude Minnie Brazier (1888 – 1960), Louisa Kate Brazier (1890 – 1895), Charles Brazier (1892 – 1892), Hilda Daisy Brazier (1893 – 1975), Herbert Leonard Brazier (1895 – 1895). Four died in infancy.
The 1901 census listed three year-old Clifford accompanying his parents and four siblings at 38 Bridge Road, Chelmsford. His father was still a domestic gardener. His mother died in 1906, aged 50, after a period of poor health.
BRAZIER, CLIFFORD HAROLD,
Private, 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
The paper also reported:
“Pte. Clifford H. Brazier, Lewis gunner, Norfolk Regt., killed in action, was the youngest son of Mr. Thos. J. Brazier, greengrocer and fruiterer, Duke-st., Chelmsford. He was only 20 years of age, prior to which he had assisted his father in his business.”
Clifford is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and by the Chelmsford Parish Great War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral. He was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
On 4th October 1918 the Essex County Chronicle carried an in memoriam notice for Clifford:
“Brazier. - In fond memory of our dearly loved youngest son and brother, Clifford Harold Brazier (Pte., Norfolk Regt.), who was killed in action in France, Oct. 7th, 1917. never forgotten by his Father, Sisters and Brothers - 46 Duke Street, Chelmsford.”
The 1918 register of electors listed his father remaining at 46 Duke Street,
In 1921, after a dozen years at Duke Street, Clifford’s father moved to 121 Springfield Road, Chelmsford where he continued his business. He eventually died in 1933, aged 77 and was buried in the London Road Cemetery alongside his wife. Their grave inscription mentions Clifford: “In loving memory of our dear mother & father Rebecca Brazier died March 1905 aged 50, Thomas Brazier died May 1933 aged 77, also Clifford Brazier son killed in action France October 1917. Rest in Peace.”
On 7th October 2015, 98 years after Clifford's death a group of regular diners at the Verde Restaurant in Duke Street, Chelmsford held a short ceremony commemorating Clifford. A journalist, Steve Clow, produced a film of the event which can be found here.
Clifford enlisted into the army at Chelmsford in August 1916 and landed in France that December. He was killed in action on 7th October 1917 while serving as Private 26302 in the 1st Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment. He was aged 20.
He was initially buried at the Menin Road Pill Box Cemetery, Zillebeke, between Herenthage Chateau and Gheluvelt in Belgium, where 20 soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in October, 1917. His body was exhumed on 8th May 1919 and buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery, near Ypres in Belgium, where he remains to this day in grave: VIA. K. 8. After his death his gratuity and wages were paid to his sister, Mrs. Hilda Daisy Linnett.
By that time his father had left his profession of gardener and opened a greengrocers and florist at 46 Duke Street, Chelmsford.
On 26th October 1917 the Essex County Chronicle carried a family announcement regarding Clifford:
“Brazier. - Killed in action, in France, on Oct. 7th, 1917, Pt. Clifford Harold Brazier, Lewis Gunner, Norfolk Rgt., dearly beloved youngest son of Thomas J. Brazier, 46 Duke Street, Chelmsford, aged 20.”
The same edition also carried a short report on Clifford:
“Pt. Clifford Howard Brazier, Norfolk Regt., Lewis Gun Section, killed in action on Oct. 7, was the youngest son of Mr. T. J. Brazier, fruiterer, 46 Duke Street, Chelmsford. He was 30 years of age, joined up in August 1916, and went to France last December. He was assisting his father prior to entering the Army.”
The day’s Essex Weekly News also carried a family announcement:
“Brazier. - On Oct. 7th, 1917, killed in action in France, Pte. Clifford Harold Brazier, Lewis Gunner, Norfolk Regt., dearly beloved youngest son of Thomas J. Brazier, 46, Duke Street, Chelmsford, aged 20 years.”
In 1911 the census recorded Clifford, aged 13, living with his father and sisters Gertrude and Hilda at 135 Upper Bridge Road, Chelmsford.
He was a time office boy at an electrical engineer’s. His widowed father was a gardener and his sister Hilda, a dressmaker.