Pte. Horace Brook, 4609087, King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster), KIA India, 16 Feb 1944

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by malcwayland, Apr 26, 2020.

  1. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    I am researching the circumstances leading to the death of the above, a distant relative of mine. Horace was the son of Horace and Florence Brook, and was born at Rotherham in 1911. He married Mary Elizabeth Gray at Halifax in 1934. According to the CWGC he was serving with the 1st Bn. of the Regiment when he was killed, but as I think that Bn. was elsewhere at that date I suspect he may have been transferred to the 2nd Bn.which did serve in India.
    I believe that the Japanese launched an attack in the Arakan on the 6th of February 1944 as a diversion to their main assault in central Burma, planned for one month later.
    Horace is buried at Imphal War Cemetery, Manipur.
    I have a photograph, supposedly of Horace, in uniform, but the date and location of the taking of the picture are unknown. I have my suspicions that this could be a WW1 photograph of his father (Also Horace). A second image of Horace wearing a slouch hat looks far more likely to be him.

    Can anyone shed any light on the images and/or give some more detail of what happened on the day Horace died? Many thanks, Malcolm Horace Brook, 1911-1944 query.jpg Horace Brook, 1911-1944 2.jpg
  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    He was reported to have "Died" in the casualty lists. This generally means from sickness. If it was an accidental death it is usually stated.

    Imphal was a huge military base that had hospital facilities and many wounded and sick men were flown out of Burma to hospitals in the area.

    The first photograph shows a bugler or drummer in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). I think that it is a post Great War photograph.

    Horace Brook's service number (4609087) falls in the number block 4601001-4680000 that was allocated to the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) so it is entirely possibly that it is him in both photographs.

    download (1).png
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Might be worth sending off for his service records to officially confirm his unit(s) etc - the forms for that are in this link Request records of deceased service personnel - you wont need a copy of his death certificate but you will need to download a copy of the CWGC sheet on his page as he died in service


    Download commemorative certificate (PDF)

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  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Just for informational purposes. The 2nd KORR were at Saiton Camp on the Imphal/Tiddim Road in February 1944. According to the war diary, they were preparing for the second Chindit expedition by practicing air supply and light plane casualty evacuation.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Deffo Post-WW1 photo as he has collar dogs (badges) . They were introduced in the 1920s.
  6. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Found this transcription on FMP

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  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just checking his details on and there are at least 17 family trees that include his details

    Birth 16/07/1911 Rotherham Yorkshire England
    Marriage 27/01/1934 Halifax Yorkshire England
    Residence 1941 Huddersfield Yorkshire England
    Death 06/02/1944 Imphal Manipur India

    Father Horace Brook (1883-1948)
    Mother Ethel Malyan (1886-1949)
    Spouse Mary Elizabeth GRAY (1910-1987)

    + 4 children

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  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    His death is recorded here - Casualty

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  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Sorry TD, I meant to say cause of death.
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  11. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Gentlemen, thank you one and all! Once again I have been impressed with the depth of knowledge displayed by Forum members and their willingness to share it.
    High Wood - based on what you say I agree that it appears his wasn't a death in combat, and, TD, yes, I have already downloaded the Service Record forms ready to send off once I have completed them with as much information as I can. One of the Trees on Ancestry is my own, and while I'm still working on it at the moment I think those that give Ethel Malyan as his mother are incorrect - the CWGC data clearly states that Horace was the son of Horace and Florence Brook. I think Florence might be a Florence Shaw, and possibly Ethel died and Horace (Snr) re-married a Florence (I'm still looking for a record) and the CWGC took her to be Horace (Jnr)'s mother? A work in progress!
    Owen - thanks a lot for the image date info, certainly wouldn't have got that myself!
    Sorry if this appears somewhat rambling - I'm rushing to at least record my appreciation to all who have responded as quickly as I can!
    Keep safe.
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  12. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Progress and (more) questions. By good fortune I have made contact with a relative of Horace who already has his Service Record, and who has been good enough to photograph parts of it for me. It does confirm ‘High Woods’ earlier comment that his death was not combat-related, and it does show that he was transferred to the 2nd Bn. However, some of the entries and abbreviations are beyond me, and so I turn once again to the Forum to ask for their help in deciphering them.

    My present understanding of his Service Career is now:
    Enlisted (aged 15 yrs. 3 mos.) at Huddersfield into 5th Bn. Duke of Wellington’s
    as a TA ‘boy soldier’, 25 Oct 1926

    Home Service with 5th Bn TA Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regt. 14 May 1931 - 31 Aug 1939

    Embodied 01 Sep 1939

    I believe the 58th Anti-Tank Regt., RA, was originally created using Troops from the 4th Bn., Duke of Wellington’s. Horace appears to have transferred from the 5th to the 7th Pioneer Bn. (The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions were all formed in 1940 as hostilities–only pioneer battalions. All four units served with the British Expeditionary Force as GHQ (General Headquarters) troops during the 1940 campaign in France and Belgium.)

    With the BEF 25 Apr 1940 – 05 Jun 1940

    (I believe this indicates he would have been among the very last to be evacuated, and although there is no mention of it in his record, it does give credence to the statement in Malcolm Bull’s “Calderdale Companion” web-site that he was wounded at Dunkirk. Possibly gleaned from contemporary local newspaper reports?)

    Home 06 Jun 1940 – 26 May 1942

    Ceylon 27 May 1942- 01 Feb 1943

    (While in Ceylon I believe his Record indicates he received he received a financial punishment on
    21 December 1942 for having lost his rifle on 26 July 1942, but don’t fully understand the Entry)

    India 02 Feb 1943 - 06 Feb 1944

    (At moment have mislaid the note stating the source the above 3 ‘facts’ were taken from – unforgiveable!) 3 sm.jpg Img_1336 (a).jpg Img_1357(a) sm.jpg Img_4143 sm.jpg

    So if anyone can decrypt the Roman numerals and ‘RAZQ’ (or anything else) on the ‘Postings’ image I would be most grateful!
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  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    RAZAQ is a five digit draft recognition code for when he voyaged overseas. It does not stand for anything, it just relates to his journey to the east and the unit he was with.

    We have disussed this before on this thread, it seems most of these codes began with R.

    Draft recognition codes.
  14. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Ever have that feeling when you wish the earth would open...? So sorry, bamboo43 - it was the 'RA' that must have given me the confirmation bias that it was a prefix for a Royal Artillery troop movement. I thank you for directing me to the explanatory thread and apologise for wasting your time! I take some small comfort in the fact that some far more experienced WW2 researchers than I also thought the codes were abbreviations - thanks again for your input.
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  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Don’t worry about it. I made the same assumption with my grandad’s code which was RZGHA, so at least you had good reason to suspect Royal Artillery for Horace’s. :)
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  16. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    Missed that before now... we live and learn, me Ol' China... :D
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  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    The other entries, xii and xiv are explained on the attached pdf:

    Attached Files:

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  18. Maureene

    Maureene Well-Known Member

    I looked on Findmypast, in the India Office Deaths (post 8 above, bamboo43) but did not see a record. There is however (on Findmypast) an index record of a death record at the UK GRO.
    "Source Gro War Death Army Other Ranks (1939 To 1948)

    Archive reference ARR2

    Volume 4

    War Second World War, 1939-1945

    Record set British Armed Forces And Overseas Deaths And Burials

    First name(s) Horace

    Sex Male

    Last name Brook

    Death year 1944

    Birth year -

    Service number 4609087

    Rank Private

    Unit or regiment King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

    Type Armed Forces

    Page 343

    Records year range 1944

    Line number 46

    Archive General Register Office

    Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records

    Subcategory Civil Deaths & Burials

    Collections from Great Britain, UK None"

    A copy of the record could be requested from the GRO (payment required). There is a POSSIBILITY the cause of death may be given, but there is also the possibility it may just say died of disease, or similar.
    For details of how to request a copy of the record, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Chaplains Returns


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  19. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Thanks Maureen - your interest and post are much appreciated!
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  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Maureen is spot on with her advice. My grandfather died as a POW in Rangoon and his Army death certificate (shown below) is extremely thin on information. Others I have acquired, do go into slightly more detail, as the other example shown below illustrates:

    Death Cert copy.jpg Saffer Death Cert. copy 2.jpg
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