Harry Brooker (1893-1917) - Gnr 38780 The Royal Garrison ArtilleryHarry Brookerwas single at the time of the 1911 census, but had left the family home in Christ’s Hospital, and was working as an odd job man at a farm in Faygate near Horsham and lodging with the farmer and his family. According to his Regimental Number he enlisted as a full time soldier in the Royal Artillery in Croydon in February 1913. The Royal Artillery was subdivided into three components – The Royal Horse Artillery, The Royal Field Artillery and The Royal Garrison Artillery, the latter being developed from fortress-based artillery located on British coasts. From 1914 when the army possessed very little heavy artillery it grew into a very large component of the British forces. It was armed with heavy, large calibre guns and howitzers that were positioned some way behind the front line and had immense destructive power.We have no records of Harry’s early service but by September 1917 he was with The Royal Garrison Artillery 282ndSiege Battery near Neuve Eglise (now Nieuwkerke) in Belgium.Siege Batteries were equipped with heavy howitzers designed to send large calibre high explosive shells on a high trajectory down into enemy positions to destroy artillery or on dumps, stores, roads and railways behind enemy lines.In early September 1917 the 282nd, with their armament of four 6in Howitzers, were employed mainly on neutralization work on known enemy battery positions as part of the Southern Counter Battery Group. The War Diary records nothing specific regarding Gnr Harry Brooker but it is noted that on the 18thSeptember No 2 gun suffered a “premature” and it is highly likely that it was the resulting explosion that injured Harry and lead to his death in 35th General Hospital, Calais nine days later.Harry is buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery nr. Calais and is remembered on Itchingfield War Memorial. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals for his service.