RUPERT BROOKE’S BROTHER

This is a photograph of the grave of Rupert Brooke’s Brother

A further family tragedy was to follow soon after Rupert’s death. His younger brother, 2nd Lt. William Alfred Cotterill Brooke who was serving with the 8th Battalion London Regiment (Post Office Rifles) was killed in action near Le Rutoire Farm on the historic Loos battlefield on 14th June 1915. He is buried in Fosse 7 Military Cemetery (Quality Street), Mazingarbe. The contrast today between the picturesque setting of Rupert’s grave and that of his brother located amid the drab surroundings of the slag heaps and miners’ cottages of this former French coalfield, could not be greater.

2nd Lt. W.A.C. Brooke was one of the two machine gun officers in the Post Office Rifles. In April 1915 it was decided that in order to make the maximum use of the machine guns available, his section would not always go out of the line with the battalion, but would remain in the trenches to give machine gun support to the incoming unit. (This was a prelude to the formation of the Machine Gun Corps) Accordingly, as the Post Office Rifles left for rest in Reserve, 2nd Lt Brooke remained in the line for a further period of duty. On the afternoon of the 14th June, William (known as Alfred) Brooke was in a dug-out when it received a direct hit. He was killed instantly. The Regimental History remarks that Brooke had only joined the battalion on 25th May but already he had made a name for himself for his coolness under fire.

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