Robert Matthew James BROOKS

Badge Number: S6985, Sub Branch: Robe
S6985

BROOKS, Robert Matthew James

Service Numbers: 50, S76804
Enlisted: 11 April 1942
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: London, England, 6 May 1896
Home Town: Queenstown, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Wood Machinist
Died: 14 April 1958, aged 61 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Kingscote Cemetery (Kangaroo Island), S.A.
Memorials: Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Queenstown Christ Church Honor Roll
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World War 1 Service

18 Nov 1915: Embarked Private, SN 50, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
18 Nov 1915: Involvement Private, SN 50, 32nd Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

11 Apr 1942: Involvement Lance Corporal, SN S76804
11 Apr 1942: Involvement Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lance Corporal, SN S76804
11 Apr 1942: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
11 Apr 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lance Corporal, SN S76804
12 Sep 1943: Discharged

World War 1 Service

Date unknown: Wounded SN 50, 32nd Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Enlisted in July 1915 and following his basic training he joined 32nd infantry battalion. Robert took part in the attack around Delangre witch at that time was a strong hold of the German forces, he was taken prisoner by the Germans at Fleurbaix suffering grenade wounds.  On the 15 August 1916 to a prison camp and it is unknown how my Grandfather was treated as there are no known family records or personal diaries. He was later transferred to an enlisted mens camp at Mannschaftslager where he remained  until late November 1917 when records show he was transferred back to the original camp Langensalza again. Life as a POW was at times overwhelming, not only for my grandfather, but for all those captured. Langensalza was known for its inadequate facilities and harsh conditions. As the days and weeks and months rolled by, little changed in the life of a prisoner. Robert and his fellow prisonrs were however supported by the Red Cross as much as they were allowed. 1918 provided hope that the war would be over, the armistice agreement was signed on the 11th November 1918 and Robert was Repatriated to London just after Christmas 1918 where he welcomed in the new year as a free man.  Robert's family were advised that he had arrived in London and would soon to be repatriated on February 5th 1919. He was on a nine-week voyage to Australia. I was five years old when my grandfather died but was told he had a lot of problems from his war expierences throughout in his life. He was only a young man when he went and to war for all of our freedom. And I pray that none of the young men today have to go through what both my grandfathers and father went through.  These men were heroes and their stories should live on for ever, and we all should learn from them that we do not need wars but peace. - Cherie harrison 

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