b. 05/07/1908 Westhampnett, near Bognor Regis, Sussex. d. 29/09/1948 Bognor Regis, Sussex.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 31/05 – 01/06/1935.
Arthur Reginald Brooks (1908-1948) was born on 5th July 1908 in Westhampnett near Bognor Regis, Sussex, the second son of Albert Benjamin and Josephine Brooks (nee Gazley). He had four sisters and two brothers called Albert and Joseph. His father worked in the coalmines as a carman. Arthur enlisted with the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) as a Private.
On the afternoon of 31st May 1935, following the Quetta Earthquake, a party of military policemen located a man lying 18ft beneath debris and close to a wall in a very dangerous condition. They dug down to a point within 5ft of the man, but due to the imminent danger of the wall collapsing they were unable to get any further. Brooks then dug through the remainder of the wreckage with his bare hands, reached the man and removed him uninjured. Throughout he was in imminent danger of being buried alive. He also was involved in the rescue work at the Quetta Grammar School.
On 19th November 1935, the London Gazette announced the award of nine Empire Gallantry Medals of the Military Division, including to Arthur Brooks. Arthur served throughout World War II, being posted to Burma, and also exchanged his EGM for the new George Cross following its creation in September 1940. It is believed that Arthur married in 1944 possibly to Joan C Plumb in Chatham, Kent, and following the end of the war, he returned to Bognor Regis where he became a labourer.
Arthur tragically died young, aged just 40, on 29th September 1948, and he was buried in Bognor Regis Town Cemetery on 4th October. In his will, he left his medals including his GC, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, and War Medal 1939-45 to the Queen’s Royal Regiment and replicas were displayed at the Regimental Museum at Clandon Park until the devastating fire destroyed the Museum in 2015. Fortunately, the real medals were in storage.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: QUEEN’S ROYAL SURREY REGIMENT MUSEUM, CLANDON.
BURIAL PLACE: BOGNOR REGIS TOWN CEMETERY EXTENSION. GRAVE 142A(B)
Kevin Brazier – Image of the unmarked grave of Arthur Brooks GC in Bognor Regis Town Cemetery.