Walter Brooks’ grave, Pont-du-Hem cemetery


1911 Census (Cowley Barracks, Littlemore and Cowley)
Name Walter Harry Brooks
Address: Cowley Barracks, Cowley, Oxford
Age: 17
Born 1894, Oakley, Bucks
Occupation Labourer, Cowman on Farmer
Other people on census: 290 people (229 men, 61 women; 6 Commissioned Officers, 194 other ranks, 26 wives, 53 children, 11 other persons)

1911 Census (Brill, ref 129)
Address: Little London, Brill Bucks
People on census
Father (Head): John Brooks, 62, widower, Groom and Gardener Domestic working at the Vicarage, born Oakley, 1849
Brother Albert E. Brooks, 19, horseman at wood merchant, born Little London, 1892
Sister Nellie Brooks, 27, Housekeeper, born Oakley 1884
Niece Lilian Scutchings, 10, School, born Tiddington, Oxon, 1901,

1901 Census (Brill, ref 36)
Name Walter H. Brooks
Address: Little London, Brill Bucks
Age: 8
Born 1893, Brill, Bucks
Other people on census
Father (Head): John Brooks, 53, Gardener Domestic, born Oakley, 1845
Mother Ann Brooks, 47, Housekeeper, born Worminghall, Bucks 1854
Brother Arthur W Brooks, 20, General Labourer, born Oakley 1881
Edward C. Brooks, 19 Cattleman on Farm, born Oakley 1882
William Brooks, 13, born Oakley, 1888
Joseph H. Brooks, 11, born Brill, 1890
Albert E. Brooks, 10, born Brill, 1891
Sister Nellie Brooks, 17, General Servant Domestic, born Oakley 1884
Matilda C. Brooks, 15, Housemaid Domestic, born Oakley 1886

1891 Census (Brill, ref 72)
Address: Little London, Brill Bucks
People on census
Father (Head): John Brooks, 42, Gardener (Domestic Service), born Oakley, 1849
Mother Ann Brooks, 37, born Worminghall, Bucks 1854
Brother John T, 14, Farm Labourer, born Worminghall, Bucks 1877
Arthur W Brooks, 10, Scholar, born Oakley 1881
Edward C. Brooks, 9, born Oakley 1882
Sister Ada, 11, born Oakley 1880
Nellie Brooks, 7, born Oakley 1884
Matilda C. Brooks, 5, born Oakley 1886

Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, France

Pont Du Hem Military Cemetery
Pont-du-Hem was in German hands from mid-April to mid-September 1918. The Cemetery was begun, in an apple-orchard, in July 1915, and used until April 1918, by fighting units and Field Ambulances; these original burials are in Plots I, II and III, and Rows A and B of Plot IV. In April and May 1918, German burials were made in Plots III and IV. After the Armistice, 426 German graves were removed to other cemeteries; the Portuguese graves of 1917-1918 were removed to the Portuguese cemetery of Richebourg-L’Avoue; and British graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields and from smaller burial grounds. There are now over 1,500, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over half are unidentified and special memorials are erected to nine soldiers from the United Kingdom believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 44 soldiers from the United Kingdom, two from Canada, two from Australia and one of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry, buried in this or other cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire, and of five Indian soldiers whose bodies were cremated. There are 107 German burials and 1 American

Sergeant Walter Henry BROOKS
Known as Walter Henry Brooks
Born: 30th May 1893 Oakley, Bucks
Baptised: 4th September 1893 Oakley Church
Married Unmarried
Died: 25th September 1915
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age at death 22 years 4 months
Buried Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery

Father: John Brooks (born 18 Oct 1847, Oakley; bapt. 6 Feb 1848, Oakley; 8 Jun 1930, Thame, Oxon)
Mother: Ann Brooks, nee Goodson (born 22 Oct 1853, Worminghall; died 18 Jan 1908, Oakley, age 54)
Brothers (6) John Thomas Brooks (born 9 May 1876 (twin), Worminghall, died 1939)
Arthur William Brooks (born Jan 1881, Oakley)
Edward Charles Brooks (born Apr 1882, Oakley)
William Brooks (born 22 Sept 1887, Oakley; bapt. 11 Dec 1887)
Joseph Henry Brooks (born 16 May 1889, Little London; bapt. 21 July 1889)
Albert Ernest Brooks (born 4 Jun 1891, Little London; bapt 6 Aug 1891)
Sisters (5) Mary Elizabeth (born 9 May 1876 (twin), Worminghall; died Jan 1902, Headington)
Annie Brooks (born 1878, Oakley)
Ada Brooks (born 1879, Oakley)
Nellie Brooks (born 30 Jan 1884, Oakley; bapt 6 April 1884)
Matilda Catherine Brooks (born 20 Oct 1885, Oakley; bapt. 24 Jan 1886)
Paternal Grandfather: William Brooks (born 1799, Oakley; bur 1 Nov 1853, age 53)
Paternal Grandmother: Mary Brooks, nee (Tubby) Skidmore (born 1807, Yarnton – Hannah Skidmore and James Tubby unmarried; died 21 Jan 1891, age 84)
Maternal Grandfather: Thomas Goodson (born 1825, Worminghall; died 2 Dec 1878, Thame, age 53)
Maternal Grandmother: Elizabeth Goodson, nee Jones (born 28 Dec 1826, Worminghall, died Oct 1882, Thame age 55)

Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, France

Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

First Name: Walter Harry (Henry)
Surname: Brooks
Birth Town: Oakley, Oxon
Resided Town: Thame, Oxon
Nationality: British
Date of Death: 25/09/1915
Fate: Killed In Action
Rank: Serjeant
Service Number: 9492
Duty Location: France And Flanders
Regiment Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Battalion 2nd Battalion
Enlistment Place Thame

Stone of Remembrance, Pont-du-Hem Cemetery

William Harry BROOKS 2/Oxf & Bucks L.I. Cpl 9492
2/Oxf & Bucks L.I. Sgt 9492
Victory Roll L/106 B3 Page 548
British Roll L/106 B3 Page 548
Star Roll L/48 Page 451
Clasp 2/3099
Date of Entry 14/08/1914

UK Army Registery of Soldiers’ Effects,
Credit £24 19s 3d Date of Authority 15/01/16 to Father John £24 19s 3d
War Gratuity £9 0s 0d Allocated on 31/07/19 to Father John £9 0s 0d

Memorials/notes etc.
Oakley War Memorial.
Pont Du Hem Military Cemetery, Grave reference V. G 18.
Waddesdon Deanery Magazine. Mar 1915 – Roll of Honour
Waddesdon Deanery Magazine. Nov1915 – Sgt MG Sect kia

Sword of Sacrifice, Pont-du-Hem Cemetery

Military background

2th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
On 29 September 1911, the 2nd Battalion joined the 5th Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Division, in which it was to serve until 1919. War with Germany was declared on 4th August 1914 following its entry into Belgium. The battalion was at Albuhera Barracks, Aldershot in 1914 when war was declared. (The 2nd Division had exercised a practise mobilisation on 27 July 1914 little realising that it would be involved in the real thing within another week. The Battalion strength was then 508 men of all ranks, half its war complement; within the third day of mobilisation, 7th August, all its Reservists had re-joined the Regiment and the whole thing had been achieved without a hitch.
On 13 August 1914, the end Battalion embarked at Southampton on the S.S. ‘Lake Michigan’ and landed at Boulogne next day.
The Battalion was engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Aisne and the First Battle of Ypres.
On 1st August 1915, the battalion was in the Cuinchy trenches. General Joffre and Sir John French planned another attack on the Germans in the Loos sector. The Battle of Loos, began on 25th September, died out on 13th October. From Givenchy on 25th September, the Brigade made a subsidiary attack, using gas for the first time, but in fulfilling its mission of holding the enemy to their front and preventing them moving their reserves elsewhere, suffered heavy losses without gaining any ground. . Up to then the British Army had never had engaged more men or suffered more casualties. The Battle of Loos can hardly be considered a British victory although the first assault was a magnificent success. Yet we were unable to hold all the ground gained and our losses were very heavy amounting to 2000 officers and 50,000 men. German casualties were in excess of ours.

Saturday 25th September 1915

OBLI Regimental Chronicle – Record of 2nd Battalion (Pages 216-222)

The Battle of Loos – Subsidiary Attack at Givenchy
The 2nd Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry was part of the 5th Brigade (under General Cochrane) to the North of La Bassée Canal at Givenchy. The whole plan was an assault between Artois and Champagne. The British on the left of a front of some seven miles from La Bassée Canal southwards to the village of Grenay. The 5th Brigade would attack half an hour before those to the south.

25th September 1915
5:50 a.m. Gas and smoke (known as the accessory) were discharged from our front for the first time in the area. The air was motionless and as a result the gas hung very considerably and did more harm to us than the Germans.
6:00 a.m. ‘A’ company attacked, got 200 yards and gained a footing in a good length of the Huns’ front trench and others got further to the support trench (behind the front trench), but by 11:00 a.m. had been pushed back by German reinforcements.
8:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m. A platoon of ‘C’ company sent to assist ‘A’ – could not make no headway across No Man’s Land – under enemy artillery fire. ‘D’ company – advanced with even less success – opposite them was gas hanging in places. Moreover, in front of the company were strongly held craters with enemy machine guns.

Total casualties (for battalion 25th September): 236 officers and men

Killed 4 officers 33 men
Wounded 5 officers 124 men
Missing 1 officer 69 men

Of the missing: 1 officer and 61 men were later presumed killed

Commonwealth War Graves list 298 OBLI deaths on 25th September 1915 (3 buried at Pont-du-hem, 180 at Ypres)