Friday, 10 April 2015

Two Soldier Families

Private Reginald Sims, Private James Sims, and Sapper Fred Sims

Saturday 10th April 1915: While towns and villages across the county continue to send their young men to fight for their King and Country, there are a handful of Bedfordshire families which have contributed five or more sons to the Forces. Among these are the Sims family of Bedford and the Brookes family of Luton. Five brothers from the Sims family of Albert Street, Bedford were either already serving or joined the Forces when the war broke out. Sadly First-Class Stoker Alfred Sims died when HMS Hawke was sunk by a German torpedo on 15th October last year.[1] Privates Reginald and James Sims have been at the Front with the 1st Bedfords: Reginald was shot through the base of the skull at Ypres; James, although he has taken part in all the Bedfords’ battles, has been fortunate enough to escape injury. Sapper Fred Sims went out to France with the 1st Field Company of the East Anglian Royal Engineers and was injured in the face and eye, becoming the second man on the Company’s casualty list. The fifth brother, Sadler Horace Sims, is serving with the Bedfordshire Imperial Yeomanry.

The widowed Mrs Brookes of 75, Beech Road, Luton, has no less than six sons and a grandson serving in the army. Her eldest son, Sergeant Albert Brookes is a veteran of twelve years in the Bedfordshire Regiment. At the start of the war he was working in a local foundry, but joined the 1st/5th (Territorial) Battalion and was made a sergeant. His son is serving with him. Private John Brookes, previously an employee of Messrs. Laporte Ltd. is now at Newmarket with the 2nd/5th Battalion of the Beds Regiment, along with his youngest brother, 18 year old Percy. Private Fred Brookes is in the Royal Army Medical Corps stationed at Woodbridge and Private Sidney Brookes is at Bury with the 1st/5th Bedfords. So far the only brother to serve in France is the fourth in age, 22 year old Walter. He joined the 1st Notts and Derby Regiment four years ago and served with them in India. As the regiment returned he had an accident on the boat and was invalided home in October. After rejoining his comrades in January he fought with them at Neuve Chapelle. In March he wrote home that he had “been in some very stiff fighting” and had “seen some most awful sights, some that are too horrible to describe”. 

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 9th April 1915 and Luton News 9th April 1915

[1] The Hawke was sunk off the coast of Scotland, with the loss of 524 officers and men. There were only 70 survivors.

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