Pte Elliot H. BROOKS [1889-1949]
Flickr, State Records of SA, GRG26/5/4/1998

Elliott Harvey BROOKS

Regimental Number
Known As
War Service
Egypt, Western Front
Prior Military Service
17th Battalion, Light Horse Militia - 4 years
18 Aug 1915 at Adelaide, SA
12 Jan 1916 from Adelaide, SA, on the HMAT A7 Medic
Next of Kin
Mother – Mrs Mary BROOKS, Jamestown, South Australia
Date & Place of Birth
24 May 1889, Yarcowie, SA
Mary (nee ROSS) and Frederick BROOKS
Marital Status
4th of 9 siblings – 3 sons, 6 daughters Brother - 16222 Pte David Thomas BROOKS, 8th Field Ambulance, Returned to Australia, 16 May 1920
Physical Description
5 feet 10 1/2 inches, 148 pounds (179.1cm, 67.1kg)
Eyes hazel, Hair dark, Complexion fresh
Returned to Australia
11 December 1918
Fought at Fromelles, survived. Died 26 May 1949, Jamestown, South Australia - aged 60
Place of Burial
Buried in Jamestown Cemetery, SA
Positively Identified

The Brooks of Jamestown

In the writing of this story we are indebted and acknowledge the support of David Brooks, nephew of Arthur Brooks, and of our kindred organisation, the FFFAIF. David’s full article, The Brooks Brothers, appears in the FFFAIF magazine - Digger, Volume 49, December 2014 (p 39ff)

Sons of Frederick and Mary Brooks

Private David T. Brooks (1888-1950)
source Flickr, State Records of SA, GRG26/5/4/1997
Private Elliot H. Brooks (1889-1949)
source Flickr, State Records of SA, GRG26/5/4/1998

Sons of Thomas and Laura Brooks

Major Joseph J Brooks, DSO, VD, MiD (1887-1953)
source Virtual War Memorial Australia
Private Arthur E Brooks (1890-1916)
source AWM P09293.001

Of four grandchildren of Richard and Jane Brooks known to have served in WW1, and all from Jamestown, South Australia, three survived and Arthur perished at Fromelles. This is not to say that survival meant a lifetime without the demons of memories for those that returned. The four cousins (two sets of brothers) are pictured below.

Jamestown Lacrosse Premiers, 1914. Joseph Brooks, Arthur’s older brother, was team captain and is in the middle row, fourth from left. In the back row. Elliot Brooks (cousin to Joseph and Arthur), is third from left, while Arthur is fourth from left.
source Photo courtesy of David Brooks and FFFAIF

This is a story primarily of Arthur. He was born on 8 July 1890 in Jamestown, South Australia and his mother, Laura Jane, passed in 1895. It is unknown if a relative supported the children while Thomas carried on the family business in those early years. It is known however that Thomas remarried in 1901 to Scottish born, Annie Ferguson, and there were two more sons born to that marriage.

To War

In 1915, Arthur’s older brother, Joseph Brooks, was already serving at Gallipoli and his brother Arthur and cousin, Elliot, (nicknamed Scotty and Bronco, respectively) were serving in the 17th Light Horse Militia. Along with about nineteen other Jamestown young men, the two cousins enlisted in August 1915 and were allotted consecutive service numbers. In his attestation papers, Elliot declared his 4-year service with the militia but, for reasons unknown, Arthur did not, claiming to have no prior military experience. Researchers suggest that Arthur may have been avoiding the legislative provisions that prohibited militia units serving overseas – apparently a prohibition that many ignored, including Arthur.

Photo: 17th Light Horse circa 1915. In the middle row, Arthur is 4th from the right and his cousin, Elliot, is on his immediate left.
source Photo courtesy of David Brooks and FFFAIF

The two cousins spent time in the 27th training Battalion before leaving Adelaide on HMAT A7 Medic and arriving in Egypt in March 1916. Three weeks later they were both transferred to the 32nd Battalion.

They arrived in Marseilles on 23 June and were quartered at Morbecque for ten days before moving onto Fleurbaix. At this time Elliot was hospitalised. It is fair to state that Elliot has an extensive record of hospitalisations and would carry the scar of war for the rest of his life. We can only surmise what hell he had endured. Suffice to say, he married, although late in life, and on occasion preferred to sleep alone in a tent, and displayed death-facing follies for years. Today, we recognise that he was suffering from PTSD.

Arthur “Scotty” Brooks was one of the many casualties at the Battle of Fromelles on 20 July 1916, reported missing immediately after the battle – fate unknown.

Notifying family

From documents on army personnel records it seems that the first notification family received that something was amiss for Arthur came via a cable from a mate in September and other letters to local families to say that Arthur and other local lads were missing or had been killed on 20 July 1916 in France.

His father desperately sought information through YMCA and Red Cross channels and also by the following personal letter to Melbourne Base Records.

Letter dated 29 September 1916 from Arthur’s father, Thomas Brooks, seeking information about Arthur’s fate.
source NAA: B2455 – BROOKS, Arthur Edmond – First AIF Personnel Records 1914-1920, page 32

The army cabled a reply within a week to advise that:

no official report to any effect received here concerning your son.

Investigations commenced but the outcome took many months. Confusion and doubt arose from the outset as some reports indicated that Arthur had been killed and others that he was wounded and hospitalised in England. Unfortunately, it seems that this confusion was compounded as his cousin Elliot was mistaken for Arthur by one comrade giving evidence. Elliot had been evacuated to England around this time, was in the same Battalion, was similar in build and had a similar service number. Elliot gave evidence in May 1917 and clarified the confusion.

Sadly, though, it was not until March 1917 that Thomas Brooks was officially advised as next of kin that his son, Arthur, was missing and it was September before he was officially notified that Arthur had been killed in action on 20 July 1916. More than twelve months living with the uncertainty of not knowing must have taken a dreadful toll. In fact, in a letter written in 1921 by Joseph, the eldest son, he asked authorities to direct all correspondence related to his deceased brother to him as:

it upsets the old people a great deal when they get anything in ref. to their late son.

For those soldiers who did return to Jamestown (mainly members of the 32nd Battalion), they built their own “shed” as a meeting place, called the DMob shed. In all likelihood it was to become a safe place for those like Elliot who continued to battle their demons long after the war. It was a space for returned servicemen to support each other as they attempted to fit back into the peacetime world and also to remember those like Arthur ‘Scotty’ Brooks who did not return. The shed is still in use by community groups today.

Modern day photos of the DMob shed built by local returned servicemen in Jamestown after the Great War.
source Photos: courtesy of David Brooks and Clive Palmer

And today

To the current day, Arthur is still remembered and honoured by family but he still lies in an unknown grave. DNA donors were located in 2014 but no identification has been made to date.

The names of all four of the Brooks cousins appear on the Jamestown War Memorial in South Australia – left hand pillar.
source Virtual War Memorial Australia website
Jug with inscription of the Brooks family
source Photo courtesy of David Brooks
source Courtesy of David Brooks

The Fromelles Association would love to hear from you

Fromelles Association of Australia


The Fromelles Association welcomes all contact regarding this soldier.
(Contact: royce@fromelles.info or geoffrey@fromelles.info).
We also urge any family members to contact and register with the Australian Army
(Contact: army.uwc@defence.gov.au or phone 1800 019 090).


The Fromelles Association maintains this web site, purely by donations received.
If you are able, please contribute to the upkeep of this resource.
(Contact: bill@fromelles.info ).