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Wilfred da Cunha Brookes MM

Servicenumber : 205684
Rank : Corporal
Regiment : Tank Corps
Unit :
Date of Death : 02-02-1918
Age : 27
Grave : Plot B. Row "C". Grave 397.
Wilfred da Cunha Brookes was a son of Arthur and Annie Brookes, of Morningside, Prince's Road, Cheshire. He was born in Sale, Cheshire, in 1891. He attended grammar schools in Bolton, Sale and Manchester before studying for City and Guilds qualifications at the Manchester School of Technology. He also served in the Manchester University Officer Training Corps from 1 february 1909 to 30 september 1911. Having graduated, Brookes worked as an assistant manager of a cotton warehouse. 
At the outbreak of war he was offered a commission, but was unable to accept because of his employment. He joined the Westinghouse Company as Inspector of Munitions in their artillery shell fuse department. Eventually he enlisted in the Motor Machine Gun Service on 30 april 1916 and, after training, was appointed as an instructor.
He transferred to the Tank Corps and was the NCO in tank D6, which was destroyed on 15 september 1916 whilst attacking the village of Gueudecourt, Somme, France. On that day D6 was the only tank in C Group supporting 41st Division's attack on Flers. D6 followed the main road to Flers until it reached German trenches. Eventually the tank was hit and burnt out. Brookes managed to get back to safety after passing through both German and British barrages. He then volunteered to join another tank crew and went back into action on 1 october 1916 at Eaucourt L'Abbaye. His tank was put out of action when the gearing became entangles with barbed wire. Leaving the tank Brooked attempted to cut the wire to allow the tank to bed extracted but was shot by the Germans. He set fire to the tank and while he was escaping he was wounded in the right forearm by a grenade. For his action at Eaucourt L'Abbaye, Brookes was awarded the Military Medal.
Brookes was evacuated to Bangour War Hospital, near Edinburgh, where he stayed for more then a year. Although he recovered from his wounds, he was not fit to return to active duty until november 1917, so was put in charge of the workshops of the hospital's X-ray department. He was later sent to the Tank Corps Depot at Worget Camp where he contracted cerebrospinal meningitis and died shortly afterwards in Weymouth Isolation Hospital
 Picture: 02-05-2017
 
Sources: Website CWGC and website www.militarian.com 

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