Edward George Heathcote Brook
Edward George Heathcote Brook was born in Orange in 1892, the fifth of seven children born to Edward George Brook and Helena Booth Heathcote.
Edward and Helena had married in 1878 in Goulburn, where Edward was the landlord of the Great Southern Hotel. The couple travelled around the state somewhat; their children were born in Windsor, Berrima, Bathurst, Orange and Goulburn. They later settled in Waverley in Sydney.
After his school education Edward served a five year apprenticeship with the carpenter TD Jones of Kent Street in Sydney.
Edward and his younger brother, William James Heathcote Brook, enlisted together on 11 February 1916. William embarked for overseas service shortly after enlisting, but Edward did not embark for a further nine months. As fate would have it Edward embarked on 11 November 1916, the day after his brother William was killed in action on the Western Front.
On 18 December 1916 Edward’s father wrote a letter to the Minister of Defence requesting that Edward be advised of his brother’s death before disembarking. He was informed that that this was impossible, and was advised to send a cable that Edward would receive upon arrival.
Edward’s father died just eight days later, on 26 December 1916. According to the Goulburn Evening Penny Post:
For the last few years Mr. Brook had suffered from a weak heart.
His end was hastened by the death of Sapper Brook.
Edward disembarked in Devonport on 30 January 1917 and was marched in to training camp at Perham Downs. He proceeded to France on 13 March 1917 and was taken on strength with 2nd Field Company Engineers at Etaples on 21 May 1917. In February 1918 he was detached to 1st Divisional Headquarters for a period of four weeks, and in June he went to the United Kingdom on two weeks furlough.
In August 1918 Edward was admitted to the 2nd Field Ambulance with scabies. He was transferred to England, where he was admitted to Graylingwell War Hospital in Chichester. He returned to Australia in May 1919 and was discharged from the AIF 14 September 1919.
In 1920 Edward married Esther Bradbury in Waverley. The couple had two children: Ted and Bell. The family was living at 43 Robey Street, Maroubra, when Esther died in February 1954. Edward died in Maroubra on 3 March 1968, aged 75 years.
Edward George Heathcote Brook is commemorated on Waverley Soldier’s Memorial 1914-1918 in Waverley Park, Sydney.