Gunner Herbert Brooks
Saturday 15th September 1917: Gunner Herbert James Bartlett Brooks, the only son of Mrs. Brooks of St. Martin’s Dairy in Foster Hill Road, Bedford, has died of wounds received while fighting with the Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. Before the war Gunner Brooks was an enthusiastic Conservative and the honorary secretary of the St. Paul’s North Branch of the Bedford Unionist Association. Coincidentally, while in hospital in France he was treated by Sister M. J. Branson, the daughter of Mr. Branson, who some years ago was also a prominent member of the Conservative Party in Bedford. Sister Branson wrote to Gunner Brooks’ mother that:
“Your son … died in this hospital at 1.30 a.m. on September 4. He passed quietly and peacefully away, and was unconscious at the end. He had a very bad gunshot wound in the thigh, with fracture of the bone, and a gunshot wound in the arm. It will be some slight comfort to you to know that he suffered little pain, and also it must be a comfort to know that one you loved best bravely did his duty.”
However, a letter from Gunner Brooks’ commanding officer gives a different account of his injuries, stating that he “died from a penetrating gunshot wound of the abdomen”. He has been buried at Wimereux Cemetery near Boulogne.
Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 14th September 1917