Private Joseph Sydney Brooks

Date of Birth c.1881
Age at Death 36
Date of Death 5 March 1917
Service Number G/17828
Military Service 6th Battalion, East Kent Regiment
Merton Address 9 Park Road
Local Memorial St. Lawrence Church, Morden

Additional Information

Joseph Sydney Brooks was born in Kensington in early 1880. He was the fifth child of Henry and Alice Brooks. By 1881 the family was living at 6 Archer Street, Kensington. Henry was an oil and colour man – dealing in oils and pigments for house decoration. His eldest son, 17 year old Thomas was now an Oilman’s assistant, possibly at the same firm. His 15 year old sister, Annie, had yet to find work whilst brothers William (13) and Henry jnr (10) were still at school.

By 1891, the fortunes of Henry snr had improved to the point where he could employ two people at his oil and colour premises. Alice ( now 55 ) was also working alongside her husband, together with their daughter. The Brooks boys had moved to 3a The Terrace, Barnes – they appear to have been living above their father’s shop ( H Brooks & Sons, Oil Merchant). William Brooks, now 23, was a successful grocer and may also have employed his brother, Henry, as a grocer’s assistant.

In 1901, 21 year old Joseph was working as a Horse groom from the large family home at “North Lodge” London Road, Morden, which he shared with his parents and Henry (jnr.) His father was still a successful Oil Merchant, whilst his brother was working as a Sign writer. North Lodge is still standing today – it was subsequently the office of the local Express dairy but is now known as 166-168 London Road, Morden.

During the Spring of 1904 Joseph married Jessie McLean. The couple subsequently moved to 8 Stanley Road, a five room house not far from North Lodge. By 1911 Joseph was a painter and carpenter with two sons, Joseph Jnr aged 6 and 3 year old Leslie. His parents were still alive but two of his siblings had sadly died.

Following the outbreak of war, Joseph (now 33), travelled to Wimbledon where he enlisted in the 6thBattalion, East Kent Regiment ( also known as “the Buffs”). This was a Service regiment formed in 1914 as part of General Kitchener’s Army. Joseph’s unit was sent to France in June 1915 and fought with distinction as the Battle of Loos ( 25 – 28 September 1915). The following year the men fought at the battles of Albert ( 1-13 July 1916), Pozieres ( 23 July – 3 September 1916 ) and Le Transloy ( 5 November 1916 ).

At some point during the Spring of 1917 Joseph was wounded. He died of his injuries on 5 March, aged 36 and was buried at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. He is also commemorated at St. Lawrence’s church, Morden.

After the death of Joseph his widow moved from Stanley Road to 9 Park Road.

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