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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
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Harry Brooker (1893-1917) - Gnr 38780 The Royal Garrison Artillery Harry   Brooker    was   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   282 nd    Siege   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   282 nd ,   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   18 th    September   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 35 th  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.
The Fallen
Siege Battery Howitzers (135 Battery)