Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Seabrook brothers, 3 died in two days, Polygon wood 1917


21 replies to this topic

#1 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:42 PM

Hello everybody,

I'm looking for more information on the Seabrook brothers.

- William keith Seabrook: age 21 when died of wounds (Polygon Wood) 21 September 1917 at Lijssenthoek Casualty Clearing Station
- George Ross Seabrook: age 25 when killed in action at Polygon Wood 20 September 1917
- Theo Leslie Seabrook: age 24 when killed in action at Polygon Wood 20 September 1917

It has been told that the three brothers were struck by the same high explosive shell. George and Theo were killed instantly, their brother Keith died a day later in a CCS behind the front.

This story is both facinating and touching. The parent's grieve must have been unimaginable. They lost three children in less than 24 hours time.

I'm looking for the relatives in Austrlia. Has anyone researched these boys already?

Kind regards,

Jan

archives@passchendaele.be

#2 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:58 PM

Hello again,

It occured to me, that the information listed above is a bit short dry.gif

Here we go again.
There are extended records on all three of them on the Australian War Memorial-website. (wounded and missing red cross part).
Does anyone know of a local monument or something like that?

I picked this up from the CWGC-database:

Name: SEABROOK, GEORGE ROSS
Initials: G R
Nationality: Australian
Rank: Private
Regiment: Australian Infantry, A.I.F.
Unit Text: 17th Bn.
Age: 25
Date of Death: 20/09/1917
Service No: 6174
Additional information: Son of William George and Fanny Isabel Seabrook, of Great North Rd., Fivedock, New South Wales.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 7 - 17 - 23 - 25 - 27 - 29 - 31.
Cemetery: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL


Name: SEABROOK, THEO LESLIE
Initials: T L
Nationality: Australian
Rank: Private
Regiment: Australian Infantry, A.I.F.
Unit Text: 17th Bn.
Age: 24
Date of Death: 20/09/1917
Service No: 6147
Additional information: Son of William George and Fanny Isabel Seabrook, of Great North Rd., Fivedock, New South Wales.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 7 - 17 - 23 - 25 - 27 - 29 - 31.
Cemetery: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL


Name: SEABROOK, WILLIAM KEITH
Initials: W K
Nationality: Australian
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Regiment: Australian Infantry, A.I.F.
Unit Text: 17th Bn.
Age: 21
Date of Death: 21/09/1917
Additional information: Son of William George and Fanny Isabel Seabrook, of Great North Rd., Five Dock, Sydney, New South Wales.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: XXIII. B. 5.
Cemetery: LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY

#3 BatterySergeantMajor

BatterySergeantMajor

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 711 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Roeselare, FLANDERS

Posted 20 December 2005 - 05:18 PM

I don't believe they were all three killed by the same shell. To my knowledge the two brothers on the Menin Gate belonged to the same platoon, their brother was in a different company or platoon, which makes this story very unlikely. This sounds a bit like Capt. Jeffries who won his VC in capturing the bunker near his grave (also very unlikely).

Didn't I post something about them here a while ago?

Erwin

#4 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:36 PM

QUOTE (BatterySergeantMajor @ Dec 20 2005, 06:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't believe they were all three killed by the same shell. To my knowledge the two brothers on the Menin Gate belonged to the same platoon, their brother was in a different company or platoon, which makes this story very unlikely. This sounds a bit like Capt. Jeffries who won his VC in capturing the bunker near his grave (also very unlikely).


So you've heard of them, have you? That's a start! I'll have to go through their wounded and missing filed tomorrow. That might point us in the good direction.
I really hope we can't find their relatives. It's a kind of Verhaeghe story (see the Verhaeghe topic in the Passchendaele Archives)


cheers,

Jan

#5 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 22 December 2005 - 02:04 PM

Hi Jan,

Have a look at their Red Cross Enquiry files on the Australian War Memorial site:

http://www.awm.gov.a...urname=seabrook

All three of them are there ; these files often run to 30+ pages each.

Below is an extract from one showing how they died - to give you an idea of what is there:

Attached Files



#6 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 22 December 2005 - 02:11 PM

QUOTE (Paul Reed @ Dec 22 2005, 03:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Jan,

Have a look at their Red Cross Enquiry files on the Australian War Memorial site:

http://www.awm.gov.a...urname=seabrook

All three of them are there ; these files often run to 30+ pages each.

Below is an extract from one showing how they died - to give you an idea of what is there:


Hello Paul,

Thanks for the info, but as posted in my previous posting on this topic, I already have found the documents re Seabrook on the AWM. That's how I came across this story. I'm sure the extract you've posted will be for use for others reading this topic.
Don't hesitate to go deeper in this matter!

Kind regards and thanks,

Jan

#7 Hedley Malloch

Hedley Malloch

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,283 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 22 December 2005 - 02:29 PM

I see there is a note in Theo's Red Cross file that a fourth brother was killed at Gallipoli. See:

http://www.awm.gov.a...=17th Battalion

There is one Seabrook recorded on the CWGC date base as an Australian casualty at Gallipoli, but his personal details don't match that of his 'brothers'. See:

http://www.cwgc.org/...casualty=718979

Odd.

#8 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 22 December 2005 - 02:52 PM

QUOTE (Hedley Malloch @ Dec 22 2005, 03:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I see there is a note in Theo's Red Cross file that a fourth brother was killed at Gallipoli. See:

http://www.awm.gov.a...=17th Battalion


Hi,

I don't think that is correct. I have checked the CWGC-database and there are only 9 Seabrooks listed as Australian WW1casualties. There is only one of 1915 and his parents names differs from the ones next to the three brothers.

There parents actually had 7 children: 5 boys and 2 girls. One of the girls died at the age of 1. Three brothers died in the war, two others lived a long life. They died in 1964 and 1977. I'm not sure what happened to the other girl.

There are a lot of differences between the eyewitness-account of the Red Cross files. Not only with the Seabrook brothers but for others as well. It makes it more difficult for the historian, but much more interesting as well.

Kind regards,

Jan

#9 ceebee

ceebee

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 507 posts

Posted 26 December 2005 - 11:12 AM

A photo of the three brothers, Pte Theo Seabrook, Staff Sergeant (later 2nd Lieutenant) William Seabrook and Pte George Seabrook may be seen on the Australian War Memorial database through this link.

I went back to check the link and it seems it have timed out. Therefore, follow these steps:

1. Access the AWM home page at www.awm.gov.au
2. Click on collection database.
3. Click on collections search
4. Enter Seabrook in the "enter search terms"
5. Select First World War 1914-1918 from the drop down menu in the "conflict"box.
6. Click on search.

The Seabrook photo is ID Number HO 5568.

Chris

Edited by ceebee, 26 December 2005 - 10:50 PM.


#10 BatterySergeantMajor

BatterySergeantMajor

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 711 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Roeselare, FLANDERS

Posted 26 December 2005 - 12:35 PM

QUOTE (ceebee @ Dec 26 2005, 12:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A photo of the three brothers, Pte Theo Seabrook, Staff Sergeant (later 2nd Lieutenant) William Seabrook and Pte George Seabrook may be seen on the Australian War Memorial database through this link.

Chris


Thanks Chris. I'm very happy with this.

Erwin

#11 ianw

ianw

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 6,037 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 December 2005 - 02:42 PM

Interesting that we have brothers as an officer and 2 privates in the same battalion - although apparently in different companies. Would this have been allowed in the British Army ?

A tragic story - and a very deadly single shell.

#12 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 26 December 2005 - 04:54 PM

Thanks Chris.

Kind regards,

Jan

#13 BatterySergeantMajor

BatterySergeantMajor

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 711 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Roeselare, FLANDERS

Posted 26 December 2005 - 06:12 PM

QUOTE (ianw @ Dec 26 2005, 03:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting that we have brothers as an officer and 2 privates in the same battalion - although apparently in different companies. Would this have been allowed in the British Army ?

A tragic story - and a very deadly single shell.


Ian

As I mentionned before I don't believe the single shell theory. It doesn't seems very likely that they would have been all three in the same platoon, especialy with one of them being an officer. If it was the same shell which wiped out a whole company it must have been a double calibre railway gun.

The same attack would be more acceptable.

The link on the AWM tells a different story also.

Maybe we should open a thread "battlefield legends" for these stories (something as Great war urban legends) wink.gif ?

Erwin

#14 ianw

ianw

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 6,037 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 December 2005 - 07:46 PM

Erwin - yes, it seems clear that they were in different companies and were almost certainly killed in separate shell incidents but during the same 24 hour period - although the detail is confusing , as one might well expect.

But whether it was one, two or even three shells, this was still a family tragedy of some magnitude. What a pity , they were not split up - although they would have given each other much comfort together.

May they rest in peace.

#15 ceebee

ceebee

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 507 posts

Posted 27 December 2005 - 02:36 AM

Erwin and Jan

I have edited my original post because the link to the AWM appears to have a timed out function which prevents connection after 20 minutes have lapsed.

Jan, I see that you have already done considerable research, so you might have come across the photo.

I can have a look at the Petersham and other local memorials to see if the brothers are listed. If so I will take a digital photo and email it to Passchendaele Archives. No doubt they will be commemorated at the AWM and I can get a photo there too. There is a history of the 17th Battalion in the AWM research centre, which I will visit soon. I'll take a look at the history and other material to see what I can piece together inconjunction with Bean's Official History.

Another source of information is the local council history archive. I will see whether they have anything.

Jan, I've also searched the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and can only find six of the seven children mentioned in your post of 22 December. If you have their names I'll do a further search. If I have the correct details, the parents, William George and Fanny Isobele, died in 1956 and 1929 respectively.

Chris

#16 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:39 AM

Hello Chris,

Sorry for the late reply. I have been busy. smile.gif
I have already contacted the Marrickville Historian who has been more then very helpfull in researching the three brothers. I'm pretty sure so more good info will turn up.

I will email you with some more info.
If you would go and look into the history of the 17th Bn, could you copy the part dealing with Third Ypres? I will pay for it of course.

Kind regards,

Jan

#17 ceebee

ceebee

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 507 posts

Posted 04 January 2006 - 08:29 AM

Jan

Thanks for the response. I'll send you an email about the local history search and my findings from the AWM.

Cheers

Chris

#18 ceebee

ceebee

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 507 posts

Posted 05 February 2006 - 09:13 AM

prhjty

I am currently researching the Seabrook brothers inconjunction with a local historian. I have viewed several sources including the Red Cross material, two service records, a history for the 17th Battalion AIF and the Battalion's war diary (at the Australian War Memorial). The material is confusing and in many cases contradictory. I must say from what I have seen to date the "single shell" suggestion is not a certainty.

If you have any information that could assist with my investigations I would be very greatful. Feel free to post the material here or if you wish PM me.

Cheers


Chris

#19 6th Shropshires

6th Shropshires

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,832 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shropshire
  • Interests:Shropshire L.I. during Great War
    Great War in General
    Hockey
    Drawing Great War Soldiers
    Motorcross
    History of Clee Hill

Posted 05 February 2006 - 10:13 AM

Hi prhjty

There is no doubt that they were all mortally wounded on the same day but I do not think Erwin should delete his post. He makes a valid point that all three may not have been hit by same shell. Chris also says the material is confusing and in many cases contradictory, this is not surprizing, I would think being in a battle is very confusing so much going on in a short space of time (in a few hours), the brain would merge events.

Annette

#20 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 23 February 2006 - 05:20 PM

Hello everybody,

I have received some good news regarding our search for the three Seabrook brothers who were killed in two days time... .

As soon as I know more, you'll be the first to know....

Stay tuned...

Kind regards,

Jan

#21 greatspywar

greatspywar

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 501 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brussels - Flanders

Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:02 PM

Hello,

Thanks to a good contact in Marrickville Australia we have been able to find the relatives of the three borthers. They have letters, photos, medals, documents,... in their possession.

This is a very well documented story!

kind regards,

Jan

#22 ATNOMIS

ATNOMIS

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,484 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chester

Posted 26 March 2012 - 12:43 PM

Hello everybody,

I'm looking for more information on the Seabrook brothers.

- William keith Seabrook: age 21 when died of wounds (Polygon Wood) 21 September 1917 at Lijssenthoek Casualty Clearing Station
- George Ross Seabrook: age 25 when killed in action at Polygon Wood 20 September 1917
- Theo Leslie Seabrook: age 24 when killed in action at Polygon Wood 20 September 1917

It has been told that the three brothers were struck by the same high explosive shell. George and Theo were killed instantly, their brother Keith died a day later in a CCS behind the front.

This story is both facinating and touching. The parent's grieve must have been unimaginable. They lost three children in less than 24 hours time.

I'm looking for the relatives in Austrlia. Has anyone researched these boys already?

Kind regards,

Jan

archives@passchendaele.be


Picture of the boys. RIP

IWM collection

Regards

Simon