Altrincham WW1 - Surnames starting with the letter B. 

Arthur James Balfour Brooke DCM

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:18th Bn
Name of Rgt or Ship:Manchester Rgt (3rd Mcr Pals)
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:France
Cemetery or Memorial:Thiepval Memorial, Somme
Town Memorial:Sale
Extra Information:
Born at 8 Bedford Street, Moss Side, Manchester, on the 31st May 1892 -
birth registered during the September quarter 1892 in the Chorlton R.D. -
ref: 8c/923, the eldest son of Walter Barton Randall. & Fanny Lawton Brooke
(nee Draffin).

His father first married Fanny Lawton Draffin on the 6th December 1882 in
Fanny's Parish at St. Mary's P.C., Prestwich, Manchester during the
December quarter 1882 in the Prestwich R.D. - ref: 8d/556.  Walter was a
Commercial Traveller from Ashton upon Mersey.    Sadly, Fanny died on the
20th June 1900 at 4 Highfield, Glebelands Road, Ashton upon Mersey, the
death registered during the June quarter 1900 in the Bucklow R.D. - ref:
8a/143 - aged: 38.   Even more tragically, this was just six days after the
birth of their last son - Fred Rodulph Brooke, born at the same address on
the 14th.

After Fanny's death, Walter married Margaret Crowe during the September
quarter 1900 in the Chorlton R.D. - ref: 8c/1523.

1901 Census - 2 York Avenue, Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester - son - aged: 8
- born: Manchester.   Head of household - Walter M.R. Brooke - Married -
aged: 40 - occ: Traveller - Commission Agent - born: Ashton on Mersey.  
Also - Margaret Brooke - Wife - aged: 23 - born: Manchester.  Plus 5 full
siblings and 1 half-sibling.

He attended St. Margaret's School, Whalley Range.

His father - Walter Barton R. Brooke died during the March quarter 1908 in
the Stockport R.D. - ref: 8a/79 - aged: 47.

1911 Census - 5 Dargle Road, Sale - Brother in Law - aged: 18 - Salesman in
a Hosiery Warehouse - born: Manchester.  Residing with 4 of his siblings -
the second eldest - Fanny, was now married and it seems that most of the
family were now residing with her and her husband - Samuel J. Peake.

Walter's second wife - Margaret Brooke, now widowed, is residing with her
widowed mother and siblings at 41 Hawthorn Road, Hale.  She was listed as
an Assistant "Boot Seller" to her mother.  (Possibly how she came to meet
Walter - boots & hosiery!).   She has her daughter - Hilda with her, but
not her step-children, who are at 5 Dargle Road, Sale.   By July 1919,
Margaret and her daughter, Hilda were residing at 31 Lloyd Street,

Employed as a Traveller for Messrs. S. & J. Watts, Portland St., 
Manchester.   He was a Teacher at the St. Paul's Mission in Sale.

Watts Warehouse is a large, ornate Victorian Grade II listed building which
stands on Portland Street in the centre of Manchester.   It opened in 1856
as a textile warehouse for the wholesale drapery business S&J Watts, and at
the time it was the largest single-occupancy textile warehouse in
Manchester. Today the building is part of the Britannia Hotels chain.

WO363 - Enlisted into the 18th Battalion, Manchester Regiment at
Manchester, on the 7th September 1914, aged: 23 years 4 months and employed
as a Traveller.   Height: 5 feet 8¼ inches - Weight: 123½ lb - Expanded
Chest: 34 inches with a 2 inch expansion - Complexion: Fair - Eyes: Blue -
Hair: Fair - Church of England.    Promoted to unpaid Lance Corporal on 
the 4th January 1915 and paid Lance Corporal on the 24th March 1915.  
Drafted to France and promoted to Corporal on the 8th November 1915 and to
Sergeant on the 19th February 1916.   Attended the 4th Army School on the
23rd April until the 11th May 1916.

MIC - Entered the theatre of war (France) on the 8th November 1915 and
awarded the 1915 Star, the BWM, the VM and the DCM.

Awarded the D.C.M. in January 1916 - "For conspicuous gallantry on several
occasions, notably when he cut through three lines of barbed wire and after
being discovered by the enemy, opened rapid fire and safely withdrew his
party. Also when he undertook and successfully carried out a most daring
reconnaissance" - London Gazette 30/03/16.   Nine weeks after being awarded
the DCM he was awarded the Bar to it when he was captured whilst in charge
of a scouting party, but escaped from a party of Germans.  Attached to the
4th Army School on the 23rd April 1916 and rejoined his Battalion on the
21st May 1916.

The 18th Bn served in the 90th Brigade, 30th Division.  On the 1st July
1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, they assembled at Cambridge
Copse for their attack that day on Montauban.

Death reported in the 21/10/1917 edition of the Altrincham Guardian which
states that he was with the 1/7th Bn but according to BB's on the Somme,
the 7th Bn was not involved.  He is listed as a Lance Corporal on page 126
of Mcr City Bn's Book under the 18th Bn 'C' Company.   There is a
photograph of his Company on page 127.   The newspaper also states that he
had lived at Sale for 8 years before moving to Altrincham.

Sometime after his death, the family had returned to them a prayer book,
complete with bullet/schrapnel holes, that may have been removed from
Arthur's body - though his body was lost, or it was found in his kit
somewhere behind the lines.  It is inscribed "To Arthur with love from
Beth, 25th June 1916".   Unfortunately, no-one in the family was able to
identify who Beth was.   Being a prayer book, perhaps she was a fellow
worshipper at St. Paul's Church?  The book also contained a card stating
that he had received communion in the field on the 27th June 1916.  On the
reverse of the card, Arthur had inscribed, "To Eveline with love".  
Eveline was his eldest sister and resided at the Albert Hotel, Lytham.

Listed in the Guardian Year Book - Roll of Honour for 1917.   Listed on the
S & J Watts Memorial in the foyer of S & J W - now the Britannia Hotel,
Portland Street, Manchester.

Memorials found on:
St. Paul's (Sale)
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