OW James Anson Otho Brooke Victoria Cross Anniversary

29 October 2018

Today, 29 October, we remember Old Wellingtonian James Anson Otho Brooke, who died on this date in 1914 in an action for which he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

James was in the Hopetoun, 1898-1900. At College he took part in rugby, cricket and athletics. In 1903 he went to the Royal Military College Sandhurst, where he was very successful. He received the Sword of Honour for the best cadet of his intake, was Captain of the Shooting Eight, and represented Sandhurst at rugby. In 1905 he was commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders.

In 1914, as a 30-year-old lieutenant, James was involved in the 1st Battle of Ypres. On 29 October, near Gheluvelt, Belgium, he led two attacks on the German trenches under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, regaining a lost trench at a very critical moment. By his marked coolness and promptitude on this occasion, Lieutenant Brooke prevented the enemy from breaking through the British line at a time when a general counter-attack could not have been organised. Having regained the lost trench, he went back to bring up supports, and while doing so, was killed.

James is buried at Zantvoorde British Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium, and his VC is displayed at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen.