Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 26, 1884
Place of BirthBirmingham, Warwickshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinThomas Brookes, father, 69 Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, England
Trade / CallingPostal Clerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number35256
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion7th Infantry Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Postal Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentJune 25, 1915
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 15, 1964
Age at Death79
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Brookes, John Henry

John Henry Brookes was born on 26 June 1884 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. His parents Thomas Brookes and Mary Jane Dean were both from Warwick, Warwickshire where they married on 22 April 1875. The couple were to make Birmingham their home where Thomas worked as a printer’s compositor. Known children born to the family were Edith Mary (1879-1964), Percy Thomas (1880-1962), John Henry, Thomas Edward (1885-1948), Ethel Minnie (1888-1977), Elizabeth Dean (1890-1974), William George (1895-1972), Ada (1898-1986), and Dorothy Mary (1899-1988).

John immigrated to Canada in June of 1905, arriving in Quebec aboard the Victorian on 1 July on his way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The 1911 census found John boarding in a tent on Jubilee, listed as a camper and occupation as clerk at a post office.

John signed his attestation papers with the Canadian Postal Corps on 25 June 1915 in Winnipeg. His date of birth was given as 26 June 1885, occupation as postal clerk, and his father Thomas back in Birmingham as next of kin. By late September he had arrived in France for mail duty with the Railroad Supply Detachment.

In late October of 1915 John was attached to the 3rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters, appointed Acting Sergeant in January 1916. After a brief stint in a Canadian Field Ambulance in November 1916, John was transferred to the 7th Infantry Brigade Headquarters as Sergeant where he was to serve to the end of the war. He proceeded to England in early February of 1919 where he went through a series of transfers before embarking for Canada aboard the Tunisian on 5 November 1919. John was discharged from service in Quebec on 21 November, intended residence given as Winnipeg.

Two of John’s brother’s saw service during the war. Back in England William had enlisted with the Royal Artillery in January 1915 and served as a Driver overseas July 1915 – January 1918. Discharged in April 1919, his pleurisy was attributed to his service. John’s brother Thomas had immigrated to Canada and enlisted in Montreal with the 42nd Battalion in 1915. He sustained a gunshot wound to the forearm in October of 1916 and was returned to Canada where he was discharged in Montreal as medically unfit on 18 January 1919, rank of Company Sergeant Major.

John continued to make Winnipeg his home after the war, returning to England in the spring of 1923 as his father was ill. He stayed until late July, embarking for Canada on the 27th. Unfortunately his father had passed away before he had arrived.

On 31 August 1926, in Winnipeg, John married Christine Marion McAskill Burnside. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 15 April 1894, Christine was the daughter of John Burnside and Ann McAskill. Along with her mother and some of her siblings she had immigrated to Canada in 1908, arriving aboard the Grampian on 31 October on their way to join her father in Winnipeg. The family ended up farming near Oakland, Manitoba, just south of the south end of Lake Manitoba. By the time of the 1921 census Christine was living in Winnipeg and working as a clerk in a department store.

John and Christine gave birth to two children, Norman John in 1927 and Dorothy Ann in 1931. John was to work for the Postal Services for 42 years, Post Master in Kenora, Ontario in 1943. He was a member of the Duke of Kent Branch of the Canadian Legion and was active in sports with special interest in lawn bowling and curling.

John died on 15 February 1964 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Christine and son Norman at home, daughter Dorothy (Jack) McGreevy, and siblings Ethel (Ernest) Crathorn, Elizabeth (Bertrand) Baggs, William (Irene), Ada (Herbert) Robbins, and Dorothy (Leslie) Leaman, all back in England. He was predeceased by his parents Thomas (1923) and Mary Jane (1942) in England and siblings Thomas in 1948 in Montreal, Percy (1962), and Edith (Reginald) Hammond (1964), the latter two in England. Christine later moved to Port Alberni, British Columbia where son Norman and family were living. Christina died on 14 February 1987 in Port Alberni. Along with John she is interred in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

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