Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 21, 1874
Place of BirthLindley, Huddersfield, Yorkshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinElizabeth Noble (wife), c/o Mrs. S. Richardson, Simcoe, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarm labourer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number796143
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion12th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentSimcoe, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentSimcoe, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 15, 1916
Age at Enlistment41
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 12, 1948
Age at Death74
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotAngel Crest Block, 49E-39-4

Noble, Brook

Sapper Brook Noble enlisted in February 1916 at age 41 and served for three years in Canada, England and France.

Brook was the son of George and Harriett Noble of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. He was born in Lindley, Huddersfield on 21 August 1874 and he had at least two sisters and four brothers: John, Dyson, Betsy, Clara, George and James. His father worked in local quarries as a stone miner. At the time of the 1891 census the family was living in Lindley and Brook, age 16, was employed as a brickfield labourer. He was married in Lindley on 20 May 1899 to 24-year-old Elizabeth Hinchcliffe. His occupation by then was gardener and he was living in the nearby village of Fixby. Brook and Elizabeth had one son, George, born in 1906 and baptized on 22 July that same year in Lindley.

Early in 1913 Brook immigrated to Canada, arriving in Halifax on 27 March on the SS Pretorian, his occupation listed as gardener and his destination Toronto. By the time his wife and son joined him in September he had settled in the town of Simcoe in Norfolk County, Ontario. The war started a year later and he trained with the local militia, the 39th Regiment (Norfolk Rifles). Late in 1915 the 133rd Battalion (Norfolk’s Own) was organized in Simcoe and Brook enlisted with the unit on 15 February 1916. After eight months of training he headed to the east coast with the battalion and they embarked from Halifax on the SS Lapland at the end of the October, arriving in England on 11 November. The recruits were absorbed into the 23rd Battalion at Dibgate Camp in Kent.

Overseas service:
-on 20 December 1916 Brook was transferred to the 12th Reserve Battalion
-two weeks later he was drafted to the 2nd Labour Battalion, a new unit that had just been organized at Seaford
-the battalion left Seaford on 8 February 1917 and the following day they embarked from Southampton for Le Havre, France
-they were based near the coast at first but over the next few months the unit moved southwest to the Lens/Arras area
-the men mostly worked on the construction and maintenance of railroads, both light and broad gauge; railways were essential or evacuating the wounded and transporting troops, equipment and supplies
-work mentioned in the war diary of the 2nd Labour Battalion included excavating chalk pits, grading, ballasting, laying steel, repairing track, loading and unloading materials, clearing debris, building loading platforms, digging ditches, constructing culverts and installing wells
-the unit also provided work parties for the engineers and carried out infantry training in case they were called on for front line service
-by August the battalion was west of Amiens and they spent the next year in that area, between Amiens and Cambrai
-on 21 November 1917 the 2nd Labour Battalion was re-designated as the 12th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops
-on 15 February 1918 Brook was awarded a Good Conduct Badge for two years of service and in March he had 14 days leave
-in November when the Armistice was signed the battalion was south of Cambrai
-the men carried on with the usual work; the weather was rainy and at times very cold
-in December they entrained for Etaples, arriving there on 24 December and getting billeted at the Canadian Base Depot
-the battalion moved to Le Havre and embarked from there on 6 January 1919 on the SS Kashmir
-they arrived at Southampton and went to Camp Borden; most of the men were immediately given eight days leave
-Brook embarked on the Empress of Britain on 17 February and arrived in Halifax on 25 February

Brook was discharged on 22 March in Hamilton, his intended residence listed as Simcoe where his wife was living. When the 1921 census was taken his occupation was gardener/farmer and they were enumerated in the township of Woodhouse, a farming area that included the town of Simcoe. In the late 1920s Brook moved to Kenora, Ontario where he lived for about twenty years. When the 1940 voters list was compiled he was working as a fisherman. He passed away at the Kenora General Hospital on 12 December 1948, at age 74. He was predeceased by his wife in 1938 and survived by his son George of Kenora. George died in 2000 and he and his father are buried in Angel Crest Block in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

Noble-Brook-4 Noble-Brook-90 Noble-Brook-6

Veteran death card courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

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