Lance Corporal Robert William Brooks



Robert William Brooks was born on 27 July 1873 at Oak Mount, Castletown, County Cork, one of at least three children of labourer Joseph Brooks and his wife Johanna (née Harrington).

He married Margaret Pratt at the Church of Ireland's Trinity Church in Belfast on 4 July 1900, the couple having two children in the next three years.

In the 1890s Brooks had enlisted in the 3rd (Prince of Wales's) Dragoon Guards (No.4087). He served in the Boer War, during which he was accidentally wounded at Hopetown on 27 February 1901.

By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 62 Leopold Street, Belfast, with his wife and surviving child, and working as a shipyard labourer.

Brooks enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 August 1914 (No.1034). In December 1914 he embarked with D Squadron for England, where they camped at Cople, near Bedford, awaiting orders for France.

Early in the following year, however, it became apparent that Brooks was suffering from an old injury to his shoulder – perhaps it was his Boer War wound. He was returned to Ireland, and on 24 April 1915 was discharged, being no longer physically fit for military service.

After his discharge Brooks lived for many years at 29 Ballyclare Street, Belfast, working as a labourer. By 1957 he was living at nearby 255 Oldpark Road. He died there on 21 August that year and was buried in the City Cemetery – Glenalina Extension.


The image above shows Brooks at Cople in early 1915 (see here for full picture).