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LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive

Amended 9.5.11

1508, Private Charles BROOKES / BROOKS - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born at Bourton, near Morton, Gloucestershire.

Enlistment

Enlisted at Hounslow on the 6th of January 1853.

Age: 19.

Height: 5' 9".

Trade: Groom.

Fresh complexion. Hazel eyes. Brown hair.

At the Scutari Depot from the 22nd of September 1854 and sent to rejoin the regiment on the 3rd of October.

Sent to Scutari on the 22nd of November 1854 and rejoined the regiment on the 15th of January 1855.

Sent to Scutari again on the 25th of july 1855 and from there to England on the 27th of August.

Re-engaged for 12 years further service on the 5th of January 1865.

Discharged from Canterbury on the 15th of March 1874, at "Own request, after 21 years service."

Served 21 years 59 days. In Turkey and the Crimea: 1 year 6 months.

Canada: 2 years 10 months.

Aged 41 years 1 month on discharge.

Conduct: "very good". In possession of five Good Conduct badges.

Once entered in the Regimental Defaulter's book. Once tried by Court-martial.

Next of kin (in 1868): Wife, Mary Ann Brookes. He is shown on the Regimental "married roll" from the 12th of April 1861. There were five children in the family at the time of his discharge.

To live at Grange House, Uxbridge, Middlesex.

Medals & commemorations

Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Inkerman, Sebastopol and the Turkish medal.

Documents confirm the award of the Crimean medal with clasps for Inkerman and Sebastopol, and the Long Service & Good Conduct medal.

Awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal on the 23rd of December 1871.

Life after service

1881 Census

Couch Common, Chiddingfold, Godalming.

The 1881 Census shows him as a "Coachman", aged 45, married to Mary Ann, 39, born Belfast, a "Housekeeper". They were living with a son, W. H. T. Brookes, 20, born at Perth, another son Charles, 16, born at Hounslow. Also a daughter Ann, 13, and a son John, 11, both born in Montreal, Canada, and George, 9, born Bromley, Kent. [RM]

1891 Census

1, Spring Place, Godalming.

Charles Brooks [sic], 56, widower, Coachman & Domestic Servant, born Bourton, Glos.

Three children shown: Charles, Ann and John.

1901 Census

Meadow [Fountain Inn], Godalming.

Pub run by James Marshall and his wife.

Charles Brooks [sic], 65, widower, boarder, Army Pensioner, born Moreton in Marsh, Glos.

plus 2 boarders.

Death & burial

Extract from the United Services Gazette for the 15th of August 1907:

"13th Hussars - A Balaclava veteran, Charles Brooks. formerly of the regiment (as 13th Light Dragoons,) died a few days back at Godalming, Surrey. He was born in Gloucestershire in 1833 and took part in the famous charge when only 21 years of age."

Extract from the "Surrey Times" for the 17th of August 1907:

"Old Soldier dies in Meadrow Almshouses. - In Godalming Old Cemetery last week were laid to rest the remains of Private Charles Brooks, a veteran soldier who had served his Queen and country well, and took part in the famous Balaclava Charge. He died in the Meadrow Almshouses during the previous week. Brooks was born in Gloucester in 1833 and when nearly twenty years old, enlisted in the 13th Light Dragoons at Hounslow.

In May of 1854 he was sent to the Crimea, and was present at the siege of Sebastopol and the battle of Inkerman. He also took part in the famous charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava on the 25th of October 1854.

He received the Crimean, the Turkish War and the Long Service & Good Conduct medals. His Crimean medal, originally had the clasps for Sebastopol, Inkerman and Balaclava, but Brooks had the misfortune to lose the Balaclava clasp in the Long Valley at Aldershot some years ago. Although he made great efforts to find the clasp he was unsuccessful.

Deceased was pensioned after 21 years service, and for the past six years he had lived in the Carpenter's Company Almshouses in Meadrow, Godalming.

The scene at the funeral was a picturesque one. The Revd. J.B. Francis officiated and in addition to Mr. Charles Brooks (the deceased's son and daughter-in-law) who live in Ockford Road, the Superintendent of the Homes (Mr. T.G. Davis) and six of the inmates were present - they wearing the uniform which consists of a three-quarter length coat and broad-rimmed silk hat.

Another son of the deceased, who is in the 7th Dragoons, was unable to be present."

References & acknowledgements

Census information for 1891, and additional information for 1901, kindly provided by Chris Poole.


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