Whilst researching my great grandfather Allan Brookes ( the man in the front row in the peaked cap), I was intrigued to learn that he was born just next door to where I went to secondary school. His father was head gardener at Lugwardine Court and Allan was born in Garden Cottage Lugwardine in December 1891 to Allan Albert Brookes and Anna Maria Brookes nee Ward. The family were still there at the time of the 1901 census when Allan was joined by a brother Wilfred.
By 1911, the family had moved to Acton Villas, Venns Lane, Hereford (next to the thatched cottage) and Allan had begun his career as a lawyer’s clerk.
He signed up in March 1916 and had previously served in Army Service Corps as a Lance Corporal and also served in the 53rd Welsh. At the end of August 1914 the 53rd Welsh were based in Northampton and this is when I believe he met my great grandmother Annie Louise Tanser. Later, he was a driver for the 479th company 11th Northern Division. the Somme.
Home 6/3/1916 until 30/06/1916
France 1/7/1916 until 16/12/1916
Home 17/12/1916 until 25/4/1917
Allan kept his links with the army throughout his life, as we shall see and i believe he was a member of the Territorial Army after war had ended.
Although he is not mentioned on my grandmother’s birth certificate ( probably because he was not present at her birth in Northampton in October 1916), she was given the name Gwendoline Betty Brookes Chamberlain which indicates to me that he was the father. My great grandmother had a complicated romantic history and her eldest son was only 5 years older than Allan. After searching high and low, although they called themselves man and wife, I cannot find a marriage and it is most likely that Annie was still married to her first husband. the couple went on to have another child together, a son, Allan John Brookes, who was born in Hereford in 1920.
1921 saw Annie, Allan, children John and Betty and her sons Terry and Arthur living in 8 Grove road Hereford. Allan was Clerk to the Ministry of Munitions at Rotherwas and he kept a connection there as the 1939 register lists him as being a Sergeant at the Royal Ordnance Factory as well as being a commercial clerk. By the time of his death he was a staff manager at the Three Counties Hotel, Hereford ( a different one to the one now).
Allan died in January 1955 of a Cerebral haemorrhage/hypertension. He was in the bath when the stroke happened and Mum remembers the door being locked and them having to break it down to get to him. She remembers him as a quiet, respectable man who was always well turned out. He is buried with my great grandmother in St Martin’s Hereford.