BROOKS, George R.

No. 42873, Private, Robert George BROOKS
Aged 19

Essex Regiment, 10th Battalion
formerly 10530, Bedfordshire Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday 26th April 1918

Presumed to be: Robert George BROOKS, born Well Hill, near Orpington, Kent according to "Soldiers Died" (Sevenoaks Q2-1899 2A-733). Baptised 25th June 1899.

1901 census...Aged 2, he was living at 5 Sunny Bank Cottages, North Cray, Kent with his father- George E BROOKS [35] foreman on farm born Shoreham; mother Sarah (née PENFOLD)[35] born Westerham, Kent; sister- Margaret L [4]; sister- Winifred C [3]; brother- Frank E [1]. All the children were born in Shoreham. Also present was aunt Harriett PENFOLD[37].

1911 census...Aged 11, he was living at Ditton Green, Maidstone with his father- George Edgar BROOKS [45] fruit man on farm; mother- Sarah [45]; sister- Margaret Lillie [14]; sister- Winifred Charlotte; plus sister- Dorothy Agnes [4] born Ditton, Kent; brother- Sidney John[3] born Ditton and sister- Elsie Millie [1] Ditton. (Shoreham is close to Well Hill). 2 siblings had died.

His connection to Lakenheath has not been established but "Soldiers Died" has him as resident in Lakenheath.

George enlisted in Newmarket. He is recorded on "Soldiers Died" as resident in Lakenheath.

26 April 1918 [at Hangard Wood near Villers-Bretonneux] was statistically the worst for the 10th Essex with 77 deaths. The village of Hangard was the junction of British and French forces on the Somme, standing in the way of the German advance on Amiens. Legend has it that very early on the morning of 26th April the Brigade Major, Captain H James VC was seen riding his horse nearly up to the German line and surviving. The advance at around 5 am was not well supported by artillery and the battalion's leading companies suffered dearly from a German machine gun, the tanks being unable to find it. The battalion was reduced greatly but managed to reach and hold their objective, a road running north/south through the wood.
12 officers and 200 other ranks were casualties. Companies were reduced to around 60 men and these survivors had to endure hours of shelling through the night.

© Roy Beardsworth

No Known Grave
George BROOKS is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France, panels 51 & 52

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details