Posted 30 December 2006 - 03:43 pm
Holmfirth’s Corporal Thorp Brook was with the gas company, and was awarded the Military Medal for his actions in November 1917, I would be interested in any information about this incident. Here is all the information I have on this man:
Thorp Brook enlisted with Tom Horsfall at Huddersfield on January 11th 1915, with B Company, 9th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment.
Tom Horsfall was hit while part of a working party of twenty men, including Thorp Brook, who were digging in No Man’s Land on Saturday August 7th 1915 and he died due to loss of blood from severe wounds in both legs, though he remained conscious to the end. Private Thorp Brook remained with him, holding his head in his arms until he could be brought in.
Thorp Brook was withdrawn from the trenches for a while for training with hand grenades. He wrote home saying:
“Our work is that of throwing hand grenades and bombs, and there is rather more risk attached to the game than ordinary rifle firing. There is much more sport and interest to be had in it, and always a sporting chance at whatever game you are at. Whatever you are doing in warfare, the job has its dangers. While we were in the trenches things were of a very lively character. The battalion we were with had been in the same trenches a fortnight, and they said they had not experienced anything like it. We did not catch the actual fire, but a regiment [this part excluded by censor] I was watching the shells drop in their trenches, and I saw one poor fellow blown up in the air right above the trees, something like ten or twelve yards. The dangerous part of the trenches, unless you get shelled or attacked, is going into them and coming out. Stray bullets are flying about in all directions and snipers are apt to be about. Bullets seem to be whistling all around you. The distance of the German trench from the one we were in was about 180 yards.
“I am writing this letter just behind one of the hottest parts of the whole line. During the night the cannonading of both the German guns and our own has been most extraordinary. We were quite close to some of our guns and the thunder from them was more than I can describe to you. Many of the German shells went crawling over us, and, thank goodness they did. I have seen one of the German aeroplanes brought down by one of our airmen. It is a daily occurrence to see then shelled. Many of our local lads are not far from where we are, but I have not come in contact with them yet.
“I have not had my trousers off yet since I came out here, only just to get a bath as best I could. At night we just take our boots off and lie down, throwing our overcoats over us. When I get back home, after what I have gone through and expect to go through, home life and civilian life will feel like heaven when compared with the conditions here, which might be termed as hell. However, through all the difficulties we have to encounter, we are not in the least downhearted. And why should we be down in spirits? We might as well be happy amongst it as otherwise. We know, at least believe, we are on the winning side, and that ere long we shall help to bring glory to our country by securing a complete victory over our enemy, the kultured Germans.
“I am sorry to know that local lads have suffered the loss of their lives in this awful struggle. It is a consolation to those to whom they belong to know that they died fighting for their country and for the homes therein, and also because we know we are fighting for the right, and we must help a right cause on to victory.”
Thorp Brook was promoted to Corporal and transferred to the Royal Engineers around September 1915, and was wounded when he was hit on the head by a piece of shrapnel in October 1915.
In November 1918, Thorp Brook was awarded the Military Medal for his actions the previous year in getting a fatally wounded sergeant out of shellfire, and later the same night undertaking dangerous work preparing for a gas attack at Cambrai. According to the local paper he was serving with E Special Company, Royal Engineers.
He finished the war a Sergeant (143011), Royal Engineers.
He was demobilised in January 1919 and returned to his pre-war work at Gledhill & Brook, grocers, Holmfirth. He was the second of their employees to be awarded a Military Medal.