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Home - Remembrance & Memorials - UK Memorials - Brookwood Military Cemetery

Introduction

Brookwood Military Cemetery is located 3 miles west of Woking (Surrey), located right next to Brookwood Rail Station and the privately-owned Brookwood (Civil) Cemetery.

In May 1917, with the establishment of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it was recognised that a cemetery for the burial of Commonwealth personnel who had died as a result of war wounds on the Western Front, of sickness or in training accidents was required. The Military Cemetery was expanded for the burial and commemoration of Second World War casualties. It is unique for a CWGC war cemetery, in that there are two Stones of Remembrance and two Cross of Sacrifices.

WWI Section

Cross of Sacrifice & Stone of Remembrance in the WWI Section (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

Canadian WWII Section

Cross of Sacrifice & Stone of Remembrance in the Canadian WWII Section (Stephen Stratford 2010).

Brookwood Military Cemetery is divided into several sections, according to the nationality and the war in which the casualty died.

Canadian Records Building and Section

Records Building

Canadian Records Building (Stephen Stratford 2010).

The Canadian Records Building, designed by Edward Maufe, was a gift of the Canadian Government and was constructed by Canadian Royal Engineers. One of these engineers sculptured the Canadian beaver, located above the door. Inside the building are painted pictures of the Canadian coat of arms and battle honours and badges of the Canadian armed forces.

Canadian Graves

Graves in the Canadian Section (Stephen Stratford 2010).

Brookwood Military Cemetery contains 326 WWI and 2405 WII Canadian casualties; the vast majority in the Canadian Section.

On 19 August 1942, a force (of over 6000 men) with a large Canadian contingent attacked the French port of Dieppe (Operation Jubilee). Over 60% of this force were either killed or captured. The Canadian wounded who managed to return, but then died of their wounds, are located in Plot 38.

Dieppe Graves

One of several rows of Canadians who died of wounds on the Dieppe Raid (Stephen Stratford 2010).

The Canadian Section also contains the graves of two Canadians who were posthumously awarded the George Cross: Corporal James Hendry and Sergeant John Rennie.

B/28593 Corporal James Hendry, 1st Tunnelling Company, Royal Canadian Engineers was aged 29 years' old when he was killed.

On 13 June 1941, Corporal Hendry was in charge of a working party in a powder magazine at Loch Laggan in Scotland. Upon detecting that a fire had broken out, Corporal Hendry managed to get all his working party clear of the danger area. He then went back into the magazine to try and extinguish the fire. However, the magazine then exploded killing Corporal Hendry.

Cpl Hendry

Corporal James Hendry, GC (Stephen Stratford 2010).

B/45960 Sergeant John Rennie, 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) was aged 23 years' old when he was killed.

On 29 October 1943, Sergeant Rennie was conducting a grenade training exercise at a Canadian Training Camp at Slough, Buckinghamshire. A grenade had been thrown, but did not clear the protective embankment and rolled back into the throwing area. Despite having plenty of time to get clear, Sergeant Rennie ran forward putting himself between the live grenade and the rest of his training party. Whilst attempting to pick up and throw the grenade clear, it exploded mortally wounding Sergeant Rennie.

Sgt Rennie

Sergeant John Rennie, GC (Stephen Stratford 2010).

The Brookwood Memorial

Brookwood Memorial

Brookwood Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2010).

The Brookwood Memorial was designed by Ralph Hobday and unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 1958. It commemorates 3438 men and women of the Commonwealth land forces who died during World War II and have no known grave. They died in the 1940 Norway campaign, in raids on Occupied Europe (including the 1942 Dieppe raid) and as special agents.

Executed criminals on the Brookwood Memorial

There are 17 people convicted of murder, executed by hanging and commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial. As was the usual practice, executed persons were buried within the prisons where they were executed. The Army failed to follow the example of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, who discharged the condemned person before their execution.

The Army's policy meant that the men were executed whilst members of the Army during the 1939 to 1947; the period used by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for World War Two casualties. As they were members of the Army when they died, and they have no 'known' grave then they met the criteria for commemoration on the Brookwood Memorial. In reality, they have all known graves; the prison where they were executed.

Name Rank Unit Executed Prison Panel Column
Jennings, David Pte South Lancs 24 Jun 41 Dorchester 12 1
Peach, Arthur Pte South Staffs 30 Jan 42 Birmingham 12 1
Johnson, Cyril Pte West Yorks 15 Apr 42 Wandsworth 10 1
Austin, Frederick L/Cpl RASC 30 Apr 42 Bristol 16 1
Rayner, Dudley Cpl Pioneer 31 Mar 43 Wandsworth 20 3
Sangret, August Pte RCIC 2 Mar 43 Wandsworth 23 3
Raymond, Charles Pte RCASC 10 Jul 43 Wandsworth 25 1
Gauthier, Charles Pte RCIC 24 Sep 43 Wandsworth 24 2
Casey, Terance Pte RAMC 19 Nov 43 Wandsworth 18 2
McEwan, Mervin Pte RCOC 3 Feb 44 Leeds 25 1
Digby, Ernest Sgt RA 16 Mar 44 Bristol 2 3
Kemp, Ernest Gnr RA 6 Jun 44 Wandsworth 3 2
Davidson, John Pte RAOC 12 Jul 44 Liverpool 19 1
Gordon, Horace Pte RCOC 9 Jan 45 Wandsworth 25 1
Thompson, Arthur Pte GSC 31 Jan 45 Leeds 21 2
Grossley, Joseph Bdr RCA 5 Sep 45 Cardiff 23 2
Schurch, Theodore Pte RASC 4 Jan 46 Pentonville 17 3
Clayton, Walter L/Cpl Cameronians 7 Aug 46 Liverpool 11 1

NOTE: Theodore Schurch was convited of offences under the Treachery Act 1940.

 

George Cross Recipients on the Brookwood Memorial

There are two GC recipients commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial: Violette Szabo and Captain Thompson.

Capt Thompson

Captain J.R.O Thompson, GC, on the Brookwood Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2010).

Captain Jenkin Robert Oswald Thompson was a Doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps. For most of the war, Captain Thompson served aboard various hospital ships.

The Great Western Railway ship St. David was taken over for service as a hospital ship during World War Two. The St. David was built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in 1932. The ship had dimensions of 327.2 x 46.7 x 17.7 feet and a displacement of 2702 tons. Powered by 1590 nhp turbine engines, the ship had a maximum speed of 21 knots.

On 24 January 1944, when 25 miles south-west of the Anzio beachhead the St. David was bombed by German aircraft. Captain Thompson organised parties to transfer the patients from his ward to safety on anoher ship. However one injured patient remained trapped below decks. Captain Thompson refused to leave the ship and returned to make further efforts to free his trapped patient. It was not possible to release the trapped patitent, so Captain Thompson remained with him as the St. David sank.

The St. David's Master, Evan William Owen and 56 others went down with the ship. The Merchant Navy casualties are commemorated on Panel 90 of the Tower Hill Memorial.

Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial

Graves & Memorial

Some of the US Graves & Memorial Chapel (Stephen Stratford 2010).

Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial are owned and maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The graves are arranged in four plots around a flagpole. The cemetery commemorates American personnel who died of wounds received in France, died of illness or died in accidents during WWI. The memorial chapel commemorates American service personnel who died at sea and have no known grave.

Brookwood United Kingdom 1914-1918 Memorial

1914-18 UK Memorial

The United Kingdom 1914-1918 Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2010).

The Brookwood United Kingdom 1914-1918 Memorial was created in 2004. It commemorates the 217 Commonwealth casualties who died in the UK during World War One but for whom no grave could be located.

Non-Commonwealth Sections

In addition to the American graves mentioned earlier, Brookwood Military Cemetery also contains the graves of the following non-Commonwealth countries: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Serbia.

Belgian Graves

Belgian WWII Graves and Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

Czech Graves

Czechoslovakian WWII Graves and Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

French Graves

French WWII Graves and Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

German Graves

German WWII Gaves (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

Italian Graves

Italian First World War Graves (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

Polish Graves

Polish WWII Graves and Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2010).

Main Commonwealth Section

The Main Commonwealth Section contains the graves of all Commonwealth nationalties from both World Wars. They are grouped by nationalty and the war in which they died.

NZ WWI Graves

Some of the New Zealand WWI Graves (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

NZ WWII Graves

Some of the New Zealand WWII Graves (Stephen Stratford 2010).

 

Knowles, TA

Private T.A. Knowles, aged 15 years' old (Stephen Stratford 2010).

20216 Private Thomas Andrew Knowles, 1st Regiment South African Infantry, was from Kimberley, South Africa. On 22 October 1918, Private Knowles (aged 15 years' old) became one of many who died in the great Influenza Pandemic.

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