Willie Brook (1894-1916)

This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.


Willie Brook was born on 29 December 1894 in Outlane, the son of Fred and Elizabeth Brook, of 43 Coal Pit Lane, Mount, Huddersfield.

Fred Brook was a weaver who came from Outlane and his mother was probably Elizabeth Gledhill from Sowood in Halifax. Willie was their only child.

In 1901 the family lived in a three-roomed house in Coal Pit Lane (now Moorlands Road), Mount, and Willie attended the Outlane Council School.

The family were at the same address ten years later, by which time Willie, aged 16, was working as a "twister in" in at Messrs. Waterhouse and Sons, Parkwood Mills, Longwood.

Willie was a member of the Mount Wesleyan Mission and the Outlane Cricket Club. Fred and Elizabeth had been married eighteen years by 1911 and Willie was their only child.

Willie attested under the Derby Group on 28 February 1916 and was taken into the Army on 1 April.

He cannot have been there long when the Battalion along with 1/4th with the 1/7th in reserve went "over the top" on 3 September in order to attack the so-called Pope’s Nose feature of the Schwaban Redoubt in the Battle of the Somme. It was a disastrous failure with a large number of local casualties. At least five Lindley men died that day and another later from wounds received in the attack.

The Huddersfield Examiner warned readers to expect high casualties and that there would be many "sad hearts" locally. Willie was at first reported missing and then presumed to have died on 3 September. His body was never found and he is commemorated of the Thiepval Arch memorial to the missing on the Somme. He is also commemorated on the memorial at Outlane Trinity Methodist Church and the memorial at the Bethal United Methodist Church, Outlane.

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

BROOK, WILLIE. Private. No 242073. 1/5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Born Hurstpond, Outlane, 29.12.1894. Son of Fred and Elizabeth Brook, 43 Coal Pit Lane, Outlane. Educated at Outlane Council School. Employed as a twister-in for Messrs Waterhouse and Sons Limited, Parkwood Mills, Longwood. Attended the Mount Wesleyan Mission and was a member of Outlane Cricket Club. Attested under the Derby scheme on February 28th, 1916, and joined the forces on 1.4.1916. Reported missing, presumed killed, 3.9.1916, aged 20. Has no known grave. Commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL TO THE MISSING.
ROH:- Outlane Trinity Methodist Church; Bethel United Methodist Church, Outlane; Huddersfield Drill Hall.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission