Private 40373 Joseph Brookes

Died of Wounds on Thursday, 20th September 1917, age 24.
Commemorated on Panel 75 to 77 of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

10th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 57th Brigade of 19th Division.
Formerly 24835 South Staffs Regiment.

Son of Elijah and Mary Ann Brookes, of 5, Dial Lane, Hill Top; husband of Winifred Brookes, of 219, Dial Lane, Hill Top, West Bromwich.
Born: West Bromwich, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Luke's, and St. Paul's, Golds Hill memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/843112/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
99 Harvills Hawthorn, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Mary A. Brooks (33, Widow, born West Bromwich), and her 4 children: Samuel (10, born West Bromwich), Joseph (8, born West Bromwich), Lizzie (6, born West Bromwich), and Thomas (3, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
5 Dial Lane, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Elijah (33, Puddler, born West Bromwich), Mary Ann (44, born West Bromwich), 3 of Mary's 4 children by her first marriage: Samuel (20, Labourer, born West Bromwich), Joseph (18, Labourer in Tube Works, born West Bromwich), and Thomas (13, Moulder's Help, born West Bromwich), also Elijah and Mary's 3 children: Charlotte (8, born West Bromwich), Elijah (6, born West Bromwich), and Annie (9 months, born West Bromwich).

Marriage of Joseph Brookes and Winifred Bates registered in September quarter 1915 in West Bromwich. A son, Joseph, was born in June quarter 1917, his birth was registered in West Bromwich.

Personal Data

J H Brookes is recorded on the St. Luke's Memorial, but no trace of J H Brookes can be found relating to Tipton. It is probable that Joseph Brookes is the man commemorated on St Luke's Memroial but he lived in Hill Top, West Bromwich all his life. It is possible that he appears on the memorial because his mother or wife was a member of St. Luke's church which was close to the West Bromwich border. He is also commemorated on the memorial at St. Paul's, Gold's Hill, West Bromwich.

After Joseph's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/2/3d (2 pounds, 2 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his widow, Winifred, in January 1918. His War Gratuity was £5/10/0d (5 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to Winifred in January 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Joseph had enlisted in May 1916.

Action resulting in his death

The 10th Worcesters, as part of 19th Division, attacked on the morning of 20th September at the commencement of the Battle of the Menin Road. The 19th Division were at the very south end of the battle zone with their right flank on the Ypres-Commines canal, the 10th Worcesters were to attack south-eastwards from just in front of Klein Zillebeke towards Wood Farm and Moat Farm.

The Germans had anticipated the attack, but not expected it to stretch this far to the south. Although German resistance was stubborn, there was no strength in depth and the attack was completely successful in this area. Casualties were caused by German machine-guns in Hollebeke Chateau and Wood Farm, but by 9.00am the Worcesters were digging-in and consolidating the newly won ground.

The 10th Worcesters had 43 Other Ranks killed on 20th September, amongst them Joseph Brookes who is recorded as dying of wounds. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

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