Brook, James Edward Blythe


War Service:
Private 3019 JAMES EDWARD BLYTHE BROOK of 28th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force was killed in action on 29 July 1916. His draft of reinforcements arrived in Alexandria from Australia on the troopship HMAT Medic on 16 February 1916 and on 21 March sailed for Marseilles on the Oriana arriving there 6 days later. The European climate appears not to have agreed with him as he spent much of April and May in hospital with influenza. He returned to his battalion on 17 June. The 28th Battalion took part in its first major battle at Pozières between 28 July and 6 August 1916. According to the battalion war diary at 10 minutes past midnight on 29 July the battalion attacked the German positions North of Pozieres. They advanced in four waves only to find the preliminary bombardment had failed to cut the enemy wire. After two hours they were ordered to withdraw. During July 1916 the battalion lost 63 officers and men killed and 151 wounded.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial near Amiens and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra

Location of Memorial:
He is remembered on the memorial at St Cyprian’s church, Brockley.

He was the son of Benjamin Blythe Brook and Martha Elizabeth Brook, of 4, Cedars Road, Beckenham. He was born in Camberwell in the summer of 1891. He is probably the James E Brook who sailed from London to Sydney in 1912. When he enlisted on 2 August 1915 at the age of 24 he was a student at St Johns College, Perth, Western Australia. At that time his parents lived in St Margaret’s Road, Brockley. His brother Nevill was killed on 27 April 1915 while serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers.

CWGC; National Archives of Australia

Contributed By: Andy Pepper

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