Brooks, John James. Died 30 Aug 1918

Whilst listed on the Rugby Memorial Gates as J. J. Brooke, it should be noted that the family surname is spelt variously in official documents as either Brooks or Brookes.  Where it can be established that it was written by a family member, e.g. in the 1911 census return, ‘Brooks’ was generally used.

John James Brooks was born on 22 April 1896 in New Bilton, Rugby, the eldest of seven children of John Brooks (b.1868 in Swinford, Leicestershire), labourer, and Sarah Ann, née Webb, Brooks (b.1872 in Long Lawford, Warwickshire).  He was baptised at St Oswald’s Church and the 1901 and 1911 census returns show John James living with his parents at 41 Lawford Road, New Bilton.

Unfortunately no Service Record has survived for John James, but it seems that he joined up in Rugby,[1] and his Medal Card shows only that he served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (R.War.R) as a private with the Regimental Number: 28542.  There is no date on his Medal Card for when he went to France, and he did not receive the 1914-15 Star, suggesting he went to France after the end of 1915, but this may have been some time after he had joined up.

However, the WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls,[2] do show that he served as a private with the same regimental number in three separate Battalions (Bns.): the 2nd/7th Bn. R.War.R.; the 11th Bn. R.War.R.; and finally the 1st Bn. R.War.R..  Exactly when he was with each these Battalions is unknown, however inspection of the three Battalions’ War Diaries can be of some assistance.

He was certainly in action on 1 August 1916.  The Rugby Advertiser reported,
Mr J Brooks, 41 Lawford Road, New Bilton, has received an intimation that his son, Pte J Brooks, of the Royal Warwicks, was wounded on the 1st of August.  He was hit in the leg by shrapnel, and sustained a fractured bone.   He is at present in hospital at Nottingham, where he is progressing favourably.[3]

His first Battalion, the 2nd/7th R.War.R. was probably where he received his training.  Whilst formed at Coventry, in October 1914, they went to the Chelmsford area in March 1915, and became the 182nd Brigade, in the 61st (South Midland) Division in August 1915.  They were on Salisbury Plain in March 1916 and landed in France on 21 May 1916.  By examining the Regimental Diary it seems that on 1 August 1916, when John James was wounded, the 2nd/7th R.War.R. were at La Gorgue, some 20 miles south of Poperinge, and well away from the Somme which was then the focus of action.  It was reported to be ‘very quiet’, and this suggests that he was not in this Battalion on that date.

It seems likely that by 1916, he had already joined the 11th Battalion which was formed at Warwick in October 1914, and was attached to 24th Division on the South Downs.  They then joined 112th Brigade, 37th Division in April 1915 on Salisbury Plain and went to France on 30 July 1915.  The Battalion War Diary entry for 1 August 1916, stated that they were taking part in the Battle of the Somme, and had been training, near Becourt Wood, when between 10 and 11am …

Hostile H.E. shells from a heavy gun dropped & exploded in quick succession among the Companies in close bivouacs, involving many casualties before the Batt. Could take cover in the adjoining trenches allotted to the Companies.  3 Officers … were wounded, O.R.s Killed 10, Wounded 37, Missing 2, Total 52.  Previous to this date no serious shelling of the wood had taken place.  The Batt was at once moved about 300yds outside the eastern edge of the wood, where a line of good deep trenches exist.’

This would seem to be a stronger possibility for his Battalion.

The other alternative, the 1st Battalion was quiet on 1 August 1916, ‘… Yser Canal Bank … Beautiful day … Dark night, very quiet’.  This would therefore also support John James being with the 11th Bn. on 1 August 1916 when he was wounded by the shelling which was recorded in the 11th Bn. War Diary.

After being wounded, John James Brooks was evacuated to UK, and hospital at Nottingham.  It seems that when he recovered he returned to France and probably then, or perhaps later, was posted to the 1st Battalion.

On 4 August 1914, the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been stationed at Shorncliffe as part of the 10th Brigade of the 4th Division, and on 22 August 1914 they mobilised for war and landed in France.  The Division took place in many actions on the Western Front from 1914 to 1916, when they fought in the Battle of Albert, and the Battle of Le Transloy.  If John James had recovered from his wounds and joined the 1st Bn. during 1917, he would have taken part in the First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, the Battle of Polygon Wood, the Battle of Broodseinde, the Battle of Poelcapelle, and the First Battle of Passchendaele.

During 1918, when John James Brooks was almost certainly with the 1st Battalion, they were involved in the First Battle of Arras, the Battle of Hazebrouck, the Battle of Bethune on 18 April 1918, the Advance in Flanders, and the further Battle of the Scarpe from 26 to 30 August 1918.  This later period was part of what developed into an advance, and became known as the Allies’ ‘Hundred Days Offensive’,[4] and pushed back the German Armies along an extended front until the Armistice was declared.

The 1st Battalion War Diaries are to be found with the within the records of the 4th Division at The National Archives[5]  and on-line.  The events recorded in the Diary, for the last few days before John James Brookes was killed are summarised below.  Another Rugby soldier, Cecil Austin,[6] who was also in the 1st R.War.R. was killed on the same day as John James Brooks.

26 August – Very wet day … Battalion is to carry out training for the attack … At about 2.30pm a ‘Warning Order’ … to be prepared to move that same night … to proceed by march route at 7pm to MONT ST ELOI area, a distance of about 16 miles …

27 August – Fine day. Battalion rests after the march. …

28 August – Wet day.  Orders … to relieve the 5th Bn Canadian Mounted Rifles at night in front of VIS-EN-ARTOIS.  Battalion embus at MONT ST ELOI at noon & procede to ARRAS, [about 6 miles] … then marches to assembly area at FEUCHY CHAPEL [about 5 miles from Arras, and the same to Vis-en-Artois] … at 6.30pm Coys. move forward … keeping MOINCHY LE PREUX on the north … and relief is gradually carried out.  Hostile artillery is very severe … & we suffer casualties. Relief complete about 2.30am.

29 August – Fine day.  Enemy artillery continues very active … Battalion is ordered to clear REMY village with artillery cooperation.  … At 8pm a ‘Warning Order’ for the attack is issued. …

30 August – … Battalion is to move forward into assembly positions S.E. of REMY WOOD & VILLAGE.  Coys dribble forward, but the movement is observed & a heavy Machine Gun & Artillery barrage is put down.  B & C Coys are much disorganised & suffer severe casualties. … Our artillery is asked to shell opposite ridge & hostile fire is considerably reduced. … D Coy … get into position with only a few casualties.  At noon the C.O. … receives instructions to attack at 4pm, … Orders are issued, but it is impossible to promulgate these effectively.  Capt Mauncell M.C. takes his Coy & elements of A B & C. forward … They have to cross a stream & swamp, some of the men wading through waist deep in mud & water.  Line of 2nd objective is reached without much opposition on the part of the enemy, a number of whom were shot down as they attempted to run away. … Owing to delay in crossing river & swamp, the artillery barrage gets too far ahead.  This … prevents 3 objectives being taken.  Capt. WGB Edmonds MC collects about 60 stragglers & takes them up to reinforce … At midnight orders are received that the Battalion is to be relieved … before dawn. …. Relief is completed about 4.30am, the Battalion comes back into support …

31 August – Coys are reorganised … Owing to reduced strength of the Battn. …

During the three days, 29-31 August, the Battalion lost 2 officers and 21 O.R.s killed and 5 officers and 157 O.R.s wounded, with 24 O.R.s missing.

Among those O.R.s ‘Killed in Action’ during the attack on Rémy on 30 August 1918, was John James Brooks.  He was 22 years old.  John James Brooks’s body was not found or not identified, and he is now remembered, as ‘Brookes’ on Panel 3 of the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt are villages on the road from Arras to Cambrai, about 10 kilometres south-east of Arras.  The Vis-en-Artois Cemetery and Memorial are west of the village of Haucourt.  Vis-En-Artois and Haucourt were taken by the Canadian Corps on 27 August 1918.  The cemetery was begun immediately afterwards and was used by fighting units and field ambulances until the middle of October.  It was increased after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields of April-June 1917, August and September 1918, and from the smaller cemeteries in the neighbourhood. … The cemetery was designed by J R Truelove.[7]  At the far end of the Cemetery, the Vis-en-Artois Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave. They belonged to the forces of Great Britain and Ireland and South Africa; the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces being commemorated on other memorials to the missing.

The Memorial consists of a screen wall in three parts. The middle part of the screen wall is concave and carries stone panels on which names are carved.  It is 26 feet high flanked by pylons 70 feet high. The Stone of Remembrance stands exactly between the pylons and behind it, in the middle of the screen, is a group in relief representing St George and the Dragon.  The flanking parts of the screen wall are also curved and carry stone panels carved with names.  Each of them forms the back of a roofed colonnade; and at the far end of each is a small building.  The memorial was designed by J.R. Truelove, with sculpture by Ernest Gillick.  It was unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Thomas Shaw on 4 August 1930.[8]

John James Brooks’ Medal Card and the Medal Roll showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate.

Some of his colleagues whose bodies were recovered, including Cecil Austin,[9] were buried in the adjacent Vis-en-Artois Cemetery.

In addition to appearing on the Memorial Gates, Whitehall Road, Rugby, where his name is given as ‘J J Brooke’, he is also listed on the New Bilton WW1 Memorial as ‘J J Brooks’.  The New Bilton war memorial is by the chapel in Croop Hill Cemetery, Addison Road, and reads ‘In the Great War these died for England 1914-1919’.

A single man, he was survived by his Mother and Father, and his six siblings.  In 1921 his family placed the following message in the ‘In Memoriam’ section of the Rugby Advertiser:-
 Brooks: – In sacred memory of our dear son and brother, Pte. J J Brooks, 1st RWR, killed in action somewhere in France, August 30th 1918.
“Sleep on, dear boy, and take thy rest,
We loved you well, but God loved you best;
No morning dawns, no night returns,
But what we think of thee.”
Ever remembered by his Mother and Father, Brothers and Sisters.[10]



– – – – – –


This article on John James BROOKS was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by Mike Beare, with additional military research by John P H Frearson and is © Mike Beare, John P H Frearson and the RFHG, August 2018.

[1]      UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

[2]      The National Archives, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls; Class: WO 329; Piece Number: 738

[3]      Rugby Advertiser, 26 August 1916.


[5]      UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 4th Division, Piece 1484/1-7: 10 Infantry Brigade: 1 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1914 Aug – 1919 Jun)

[6]      See Rugby Remembers, for Cecil AUSTIN, on 30 August 1918, which also includes a map of the battlefield.

[7]      Edited from

[8]      Edited from

[9]      See Rugby Remembers, 30 August 2018.

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, Friday, 26 August 1921.

26th Aug 1916. Buy a Flag on War Prisoners’ Day


By so doing you will assist the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to ensure a continuance of the Weekly Parcels of Food and Clothing to our own men.

The men who have fought for you, and are now experiencing the unspeakable hardships of German Prison Camp Life, look to you to help to keep them from starvation.

Here are some of the Messages received from Local Men this week :—

PTE. P. J. COLLOP (Monks Kirby), Suffolk Regt, interned at Friedrichsfeid

“ I now have the pleasure of writing to thank you and your helpers for your kindness to me, which I very much appreciate. The parcels have arrived up to date regularly, and I find them very satisfactory.”

SERGT. B. G. HITCHCOX (Rugby), 28th Canadians, interned at Dulman.

“ I was very surprised and heartily thankful to receive your welcome parcel, which arrived to-day in very good condition. I warmly appreciate your kindness and trust you will not forget me in the future.”

PTE. W. WILTSHIRE (New Bilton), Wiltshire Regt., interned at Osnabruck.

“ Just a line to let you know I am receiving parcels regularly, and in good condition. Again thanking all concerned for the parcels.”

PTE. A. H. DAVIS (Rugby), 8th Beds, interned at Dulmen.

“ The first issue of bread has arrived, for which I beg to thank you very much.”

PTE. J. SMITH (Stretton-under-Fosse), Royal Warwick Regt, interned at Friedrichfeld.

“ Have just received Dujon bread in good condition, with many thanks.”

PTE. T. DOO (Rugby), Suffolk Regt., interned at Doeberitz.

“ Many thanks for the parcels of food and bread, which I received quite safe and in good condition.”

PTE. P. MACE (Hillmorton), Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, interned at Mannheim.

“ I now have great pleasure in answering your most welcome parcel, which arrived in excellent condition, and, also, the contents were just what one needs in Camp.”

These letters contain an Appeal for Help, to which no British heart can remain unresponsive. The Food Parcels are absolutely essential, and they get there.


Hon. Secretary and Offices :
J. REGINALD BARKER, 9, Regent Street, Rugby. Supply Depot: Benn Buildings.

THE parcels sent by the Rugby Prisoners of War Help Committee to local men in Germany contained this week ¼ lb tea, tin milk, tin tomatoes, tin pineapple chunks, 1lb sugar, tin cocoa, tablet of soap, tin tongue, tin health salts, and 4-lb loaf of bread.


A general meeting of this committee was held on Monday.—The Hon Secretary informed the committee that, in reply to the advertisement asking for particulars of men serving, with the date of enlistment, she had only received 150 names of men who had enlisted or been called up between August and December, 1914.—It was resolved to make a start with these 150 names as soon as possible.—After some discussion and the inspection of samples, it was decided to send out to each man a parcel containing a 2-lb tin of best boiled sweets, a pair of socks, and a small packet of boracic powder. Each parcel will also contain a card, bearing the town arms and a suitable couplet, and the name of each man will be written thereon. It is hoped that towards the end of the month the parcels will begin to go out to our splendid men abroad.



A correspondent writes :—

In a letter from the front to his father a member of the Warwickshire Regiment remarks :— “ As you say, the news in the paper is good : ‘ Slow, but sure.’ It looks all very well in print, but you want to be in it to understand what a mile or two advance means. I can’t understand the munition people being praised so much for foregoing their Bank Holiday. It proves how much the people of England know what war is. Do they realise that the men out here do seven days every week, and often twenty-four hours a day ? Some have been doing that for two years now. When the munition workers do finish they have a home and a bed to go to, not forgetting that in their spare time they can please themselves what they do.

“ What about this side of the water ? One is lucky to have a barn with a roof on, and if there is any clean straw it is hotel-de-luxe ! They ought to try a 16-mile march with a full pack on. It would do them a lot of good ; and then, when their clothes are saturated with perspiration, let them sleep in the open with only an overcoat to cover them. After that, if they were asked which they preferred—the Army or munition—I wonder which they would prefer ! What annoys me is, they seem to think they are little ‘ tin gods.’”


At Coventry Munitions Tribunal, on Friday last week, Thomas Fishwick, Rugby, asked for a discharge certificate on the ground of his wife’s health, it being necessary, he said, that she should live elsewhere. He also carried on the business of tobacconist, hairdresser, and furniture dealer.—Mr Carmichael : You have your hands full.—Applicant : No, because I have managers. He wished his discharge so that he could then dispose of his businesses.—The Court refused the application.

J Mulhern, Rugby, was said to have lost time and was fined £2.

Mr Carmichael presided at the sitting of Coventry Munitions Tribunal, held on Monday afternoon, and the assessors present were Mrs Givens for the men and women, and Mr A H Niblett for the employers. The list contained 25 cases, 10 being from Rugby.

Miss A Botterill, lamp operative, 94 Bridget Street, was summoned for absenting herself without leave. She sent a letter from Llandudno explaining her reasons for staying away, these being ill-health and the belief that the works were going to close down for the August-holidays. It was said by the firm that she took the holiday, though told she could not have the time. Her absence delayed several thousand lamps per week on a subsequent operation.—The Court imposed a fine of 15s.

A G Hanks, 2 Russell Street, was summoned for being absent from work in the Bank Holiday week. He was fined 10s, the Court taking into account that he was usually a good timekeeper.

S Fisher, 10 Chester Street, was summoned for absenting himself from work on various dates. He said he obtained permission on one day to spend it with his brother ; on the rest of the dates he was ill with his back. He was fined 5s.

F A Clewlow, handyman, 30 Sycamore Grove, was also summoned for being absent from work on one day. He received permission, it was stated, to stay out one day to attend a marriage, and remained out the next day as well. Fined 15s.

H Williams, fitter, Market St., was similarly charged. He said he had been with the firm for 13 years without a break, and sent a letter to the shop explaining his absence. He met with a cycle accident, and was hurt at the works.—The firm’s representative said the man was an old and good employee.—Defendant was fined 15s.—The Chairman said it was not fair to the other workers that certain men should take French leave.

H Page, 17 Essex Street, was similarly summoned. The condition of his health was the reason he gave for staying away.—Fined £1.—Defendant : Don’t stop any next week because I have got a short week.

A Smedley, 3 Market St., summoned for being absent, said he was absent with leave, and went with his wife and family to Old Colwyn.—The firm’s representative said that no holidays were allowed in Bank Holiday week.—Defendant said he had a day and a-half to cancel his arrangements after he had paid £1 on account of his holidays.-The representative said he never had leave, there only having been a preliminary inquiry with regard to holidays throughout the workshops. The man was a good worker and timekeeper.—The Court adjourned the case for a fortnight, as they would like to see the charge-hand and foreman.

W Bott, 22 Newland Street, New Bilton, was summoned for being absent without leave on Monday, August 7th, to Saturday, the 12th, inclusive; and was fined 15s.

G Hardy, turner, 67 Windsor Street, Rugby, was summoned for being absent without leave on August 11th and 12th and the morning of the 14th ; also with absenting himself from August 3rd to August 10th with a doctor’s certificate for diarrhoea. The firm produced written evidence from a fellow-workman, who had seen Hardy very much under the influence of drink on Friday, August 4th.—Another witness said that he stopped Hardy in the Market Place about 8.20 on Monday, the 7th inst, and informed him that he had had “ more than was good for him.” He appealed to his patriotism to go home, and go to work the next morning.—Evidence was also given to the effect that on August 8th, at 11.15 a.m, Hardy was served with drink in a local hotel.—Fined £3, to be paid by weekly instalments of 10s.

AN ABSENTEE.—At the Rugby Police Court, on Wednesday, before A E Donkin, Esq, Frank Reilly, 1 Lodge Road, Rugby, pleaded guilty to being absent without leave from the Gloucester Regiment.—Sergt Ghent stated that, as the result of a telegram from the O.C the Battalion, he saw defendant at No. 1 Lodge Road, and he then admitted that he should have returned the previous day.—Remanded in custody to await an escort.


In an account of the fighting round Thiepval the special correspondent of the “ Morning Post ” lays stress on the achievements of the Warwicks.

Mr F Stimpson, of Rugby, had three nephews serving on the Falmouth, which was sunk in the North Sea at the beginning of the week. Fortunately all of them were saved.

Gunner G Jones, son of Mr and Mrs M Jones, 49 Claremont Road, is progressing slowly but favourably in the Wellington Military Hospital, Liverpool, where he was admitted on August 5th suffering from shock. He had been at the front one year and nine months, having enlisted on August 26, 1914, in the 119th H.M R.G.A., and was drafted to the front in November of the same year.


The following is an extract from Divisional Orders by Major-General Colin Mackenzie. C.B, commanding the — Division, in which awards of the Military Cross for gallantry were set out :—

“ Captain Evelyn Penn Lucas, 2/4 Battalion Royal Berks Regiment, at Ferme du Bois, on the night 13-14 July, 1916, after careful organisation and training of the raiding party, of which he was in command, for the organisation of which he was solely responsible, proved himself a cool and capable leader ; and though himself wounded early in the attack, led his party up to the enemy wire, and continued to encourage his men to renew their efforts to attain their objective ; he kept communication with his Commanding Officer, and refused to come back to our own lines until he had seen the whole of his men who could be brought in back in safety, he himself being the last to re-enter our lines.”

Capt E P Lucas is son-in-law of the Rev R S Mitchison, of Barby, and this was the attack where Corpl Doyle, of Erankton, lost his life in behaving so gallantly bringing in the wounded.


Mr J Brooks, 41 Lawford Road, New Bilton, has received an intimation that his son, Pte J Brooks, of the Royal Warwicks, was wounded on the 1st of August. He was hit in the leg by shrapnel, and sustained a fractured bone. He is at present in hospital at Nottingham, where he is progressing favourably.


The casualty list on Thursday contained the name of Rifleman F Colbran, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, among those killed. Rifleman Colbran, who was about 22 years of age, was employed on Clifton Court Farm, where his father was bailiff, when the War broke out, and he enlisted in the K.R.R towards the end of 1914. He was a quiet young man, and generally respected by those who knew him.


Second-Lieut Albert E Rainbow, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed on July 23rd, was an assistant at St Matthew’s School, Rugby, and afterwards an assistant master at Richmond British School when war broke out. He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers before receiving his commission. The Commanding Officer, in a letter to his mother, said : “ Lieut Rainbow was with his company advancing through a village under heavy shell fire, and the conditions were trying enough to have caused even the bravest man, however old, to have faltered. But he displayed no hesitation, and his conduct was a fine example and real help to his men.”


MR & MRS S Howard, of Long Lawford, have received news that their son, Pte Stephen Howard, died of wounds on August 1st. He was the third son to join the Army, and had only been in France a fortnight. He was 23 years of age.


DEATH OF RIFLEMAN ERNEST GRANT.—Mr and Mrs Grant, Newbold, received the sad news on Saturday last that their son, Ernest, was killed on the 12th inst. Rifleman Dick Collins, writing to deceased’s brother, Alfred, who had been serving at the front, but was sent home disabled about twelve months ago, said : “ The company was on night work ; they were spotted, and machine guns and artillery played on them. Ernest received a number of wounds from machine gun fire.” The writer adds: “ Well Alf, it is another terrible blow for you all, and I am sure I myself will miss him. He was my best friend out here, and we always did all we could for one another. All his section liked him, and you can take it from me that he will be missed by all. According to the nature of his wounds, he died an instantaneous death. We were both talking only the night before of what we hoped to do when we got home, and now we are not able to do so. It has upset me, and I feel I cannot write more just now. I know almost the exact place where he was buried, and I know everything that could have been done for him has been carried out. We are in a hot place, and you yourself only too well can understand what it is like. Well, Alf, I hope you will accept mine and all the boys’ deepest sympathy in the death of so good a soldier, and you have one consolation—he died doing his duty.” Corpl Arthur Parks also writes :- “

Dear Mrs Grant,—I expect that by now you have received the bad news that Ernest has passed away while doing his duty to God, King and country. I should not he surprised if he was doing something to protect one of his men, or working in what he new was a dangerous place where he would not let one of the men go. He was always doing that—looking after his men first and last—and not bothering about himself, strong was his faith in God. I know the chaps are very sorry, for he was liked by all. He was a fine fellow in every way.” Rifleman Ernest Grant was 26 years of age, and belonged to the Rifle Brigade. He was employed at the time of his enlistment in Kitchener’s Army on September 3, 1914, at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s. He was a member of the Church Choir and a bell-ringer ; also a playing member of the Newbold Football Club. He had numerous friends, and all who knew him could not help admiring his manly principles. This is the second son Mr and Mrs Grant have lost during the War, and a third has been sent homo disabled. Much sympathy is expressed by all with Mr and Mrs Grant and family in their sad trouble.


WEST KENTS.—It will be of interest to many people in the district to hear that Pte Horace Watts was amongst the number of the West Kents who, although surrounded, kept the Germans at bay for two days. He had previously been wounded in the War, but had returned to active service. He is the youngest son of Mr and Mrs G Watts, of Brandon Wood.


FOREHEAD.—In memory of Lance-Corpl. T. W. Forehead, who died of wounds in Gallipoli on August 24, 1915.—From his loving WIFE, DAUGHTER, FATHER-IN-LAW, MOTHER-IN-LAW, and FAMILY.

GOODMAN.—In loving memory of Pte. W. G. Goodman, 1st Royal Warwicks, killed in action between Cambrai and St. Quentin, August 27,1914, aged 29 years.
“ Father in Thy tender keeping
Leave we there our dear son sleeping.”


The adjourned inquest on Lieut George P Rogers and Second-Lieut Cyril de Frece, R.F.C who were killed by the collision of two aeroplanes on August 10th, was held on Wednesday.

Second-Lieut W S F Saundby, who stated that he was a qualified pilot, deposed that he went up in a machine with a mechanic, and engaged in manoeuvres—which he described in technical detail—with another and more powerful machine, which was being flown by Lieut Rogers, a skilled pilot, with Lieut de Frece as his passenger. Both machines were in perfect condition, and were flying well. When at a height of about 2,500ft Lieut Rogers was manoeuvring for close formation over the top, and witness dived down about 500ft. Lieut Rogers also came down, and was apparently endeavouring to pass over him to the front. Witness saw that if he continued at the same speed his machine would have caught the undercarriage of the other. To give Lieut Rogers time to get clear in front he reduced the angle of his descent and slackened speed, but his propellor struck the tail or fusilage of Lieut. Rogers’ machine and cut the whole of it off. It then became unmanageable, and dived to the ground. Meanwhile witness spiralled his machine safely down.

In reply to the Foreman of the Jury, witness said the rule of the Aeronautical Society used to be that machines were not to approach within 100 metres of each other, but it was found necessary to repeal it, and there was now no rule as to distance. They had to use their own discretion when in the air.

A senior officer who witnessed the occurrence said it struck him that the machines were flying too close together to be safe, and he intended to mention it when they came down, but there was no regulation as to distance. A pilot had to judge what was a safe distance from the next machine. He thought the actual proximity of Lieut Saundby’s machine must have been obscured for the moment from Lieut Rogers’s view by the wings of the machine he was flying.

The Foreman expressed the sorrow of the Jury at the loss of such a brave pilot as Lieut Rogers was admitted to be, because at such a time the nation required all the skill they could get. The Jury felt the loss of these brave fellows, who risked their lives in the air for the good of their country.

The Coroner concurred, in these sentiments, and extended sympathy to all concerned.

The Jury returned a verdict of “ Accidental death,” and added that no blame was attached to anyone.