Date of birth: 1891
Date of death: 15.9.1916
Regiment: King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Family information: Husband of Isobel Brook nee Hartley
Service number: C/7163
Herbert Brooke worked at Wrenthorpe Colliery until late 1915, when he joined the 18th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps.
The 18th Battalion, a “Service” battalion, was attached to the 122nd Infantry Brigade of the 41st Division, which left for France in May 1916. After some weeks training, the 41st Division moved south to the Somme battlefield. The Battle of the Somme had commenced on 1st July 1916, but it was not until 15th September that the Division was involved in any attacks against the German lines.
On the night of 11th September the 41st Division moved towards the front line, with 122nd Brigade on the left of the divisional front. The 18th Kings Royal Rifle Corps were on the Brigade left, with the 15th Hampshire’s and the valley of Flers on their right flank. The attack was to take place on 15th September and be accompanied by tanks, the first time that tanks were used in battle.
At 06.15 hours on 15th September the 18th KRRC advanced behind the barrage in waves of 150 men each, towards the village of Flers. The first wave soon reached the German front line, the first objective, though machine guns inflicted heavy casualties. The second wave followed taking the second line. At 08.10 hours the 18th KRRC, along with the 15th Hampshire Regiment and four tanks, entered the village of Flers. By 10.00 hours the enemy had been cleared from the village, but it was then heavily shelled by the German artillery. Soon afterwards the third objective was reached and a position established north of the village. Though the attack was renewed the following morning, no further gains were made. However the 18th KRRC remained in their positions until relieved on the morning of 18th September, having incurred over 360 casualties.
One of these casualties was Rifleman Herbert Brooke, who was killed in action on the 15th September 1916. He was buried at the Quarry Cemetery at Montauban, a village about 10 km east of Albert. The cemetery, which is north of the village and was the site of an Advanced Dressing Station, now contains 740 burials, of which 157 are unidentified.
Herbert Brook(e) is not included on the Outwood memorials, but he is remembered on the Wrenthorpe Colliery War Memorial at St John’s Church, Wakefield.
Born in 1891, Herbert Brook was the son of Walter and Mary Brook of Langley, Lofthouse. In 1901 the family was living at Dealtry’s Cottages, Lofthouse. Herbert continued to live with his family in the Lofthouse area, but in 1906 his father, Walter Brook, died at the age of 40 years. Two years later his mother, Mary Brook, married John Bedford, a widower of Westgate, Lofthouse. At this time Herbert had started work at Wrenthopre Colliery, where he was employed as an underground trammer. On 1st October 1913 Herbert Brooke, a coal miner of Abson’s Buildings, Potovens Lane, Outwood, married Isobel Hartley, of Lee Moor Road, Stanley at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood.