Ernest Brooks



Village memories: The Common (picture from SWOP website)

Ernest Brooks


LANCE CORPORAL 1478 2ND BATTALION RIFLE BRIGADE
DIED ON 01 JULY 1916 AGED 30YRS
REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, FRANCE
GRAVE REF: PIER AND FACE 16B AND 16C

Ernest Brooks was born in 1885 in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He was the son of John & Susan nee Twitchen who married on 7 th September 1882. In 1901 the family were living at 7,Bedford’s Yard (sic) in High Wycombe. His known siblings were William, George, Mary, Frank, Fanny, Daisy, May, Rose, Alec?, Dora , Frederick, Jack and Clifford. The 1911 Census records the parents having had 16 children of whom 13 were still living at that time.The family were now living at 10, Bedford’s Yard, High Wycombe. Ernest had been a “yard boy” and his father a “gas w(sic) stoker which suggests a connection with the gas works in High Wycombe.
Ernest married Rose Johnson in 1915 and were living at The Common, Flackwell Heath. From his service records we know that the couple had one daughter Gladys Mary born 28 th Oct 1912.
Ernest was a regular soldier and had served in India for ten years. In 1906 his attestation papers reveal that he was 5’6” tall with hazel eyes and dark brown hair and he was a groom. He was with the British Expeditionary Force from 5 th November 1914 and saw action on the Western Front in France and Flanders.
On 1 st July 1916 13 Divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive which cost many lives. This was the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Despite having support from the French in the South the losses were catastrophic. Ernest Brooks was one of those killed in action on this day. He is mentioned in despatches. This was a recognition for men who had been nominated as worthy of a mention in the despatch to the War Office by the Commander-in Chief of each theatre of War. A report in the BFP : Lieutenant Knowles wrote to his mother to tell her he was killed during a heavy bombardment when he had volunteered to bring in the wounded and help wherever he could. A shell burst above him and killed him. He had no wounds so probably died from shock waves from the blast. He was a very brave soldier.
He was greatly esteemed by all his comrades and one of the best NCO’s in the Platoon. His widow Rose was awarded a pension of 10 shillings a week from 22 January 1917.




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