This is the first of a series of  posts about Gallipoli Prisoners of War. Lance Corporal Vivian Brooke  12th Battalion, from New Town Hobart, was wounded and taken prisoner on 25/26 April 1915. He died of his wounds and is the only PoW to be  buried at Anzac – at Ari Burnu.  He was mortally wounded while in hospital at Maidos.

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Lance Corporal Vivian Cyril Brooke 271 12th Battalion

Vivian Brooke was a 27-year-old bank clerk from New Town Tasmania when he enlisted on 20 August 1914 in the 12th Battalion. He was a well-known amateur athlete, footballer and cricketer.

Brooke was with the 12th when they were among the first ashore at Gallipoli at 4.30 a.m. on 25 April 1915.

Private Trevor Young, a fellow athlete and also from New Town, of the 12th reported that he was last seen in the neighbourhood of White’s Gully on the day of the landing. The Turks were making an attack on the rear and a withdrawal was decided upon but Brooke refused to retire. He was evidently wounded in this action and was taken prisoner, and taken to Maidos (now Eceabat).

[Young, Lance Sergeant in  1917, was killed during the 12th Battalion’s extraordinary participation in the attack on Boursies in France in early April that year. Captain James Newland and Sergeant John Whittle of the 12th Battalion were both awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery in this action – and survived the war. Trevor Young was buried near Boursies, but his grave was lost in later fighting, and he is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Soldier’s Walk Hobart.]

Sergeant Alfred John Rawlings 890,  2nd Battalion  originally from  Smythesdale near Ballarat who was taken prisoner in the first week at Anzac. He was in the hospital with Brooke at Maidos,  and told the Red Cross in 1919 that Brooke’s arm was torn off when the hospital was shelled about 29 May.

Brooke was operated on by the Turkish doctors at Chanak and ‘I saw him about two hours after he had been wounded and was with him until he died at Biga where we both had been taken in bullock wagons. [Biga is about 90 kilometres east of Çannakale.] He was barely conscious most of the time and was buried in the Christian cemetery at Biga.’

[Rawlings was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 1920 ‘in recognition of devotion to duty and valuable services rendered whilst prisoner of  war.’ Rawlings returned to Australia  in 1919,  joined the Militia in  1931 and subsequently saw service in the Second World War in training battalion s in Australia. He was demobbed in 1946 aged 52.]

Brooke’s body was disinterred in 1922 to buried in the Anglo French Cemetery and transferred to Ari Burnu  in 1926.

There are a series of letters from different family members in his record regarding the inscription on his headstone.

From brother EA Brooke in 1926  ‘ I would say the inscription on our Mother’s headstone, on which his name also appears, is “Beneath, the Everlasting Arms” and same might be repeated on his grave at Gallipoli.

Base Records replied that ‘in March 1922 a short verse or epitaph was submitted for this purpose by the  deceased’s sister Miss IAA Brooke on behalf of the late Mrs Amy Brooke, and duly brought to the notice of the responsible authorities.’

The CWGC inscription at Ari Burnu is ‘Faithful Unto Death’ and the date 4 May 1915 the same date as on the Roll of Honour circular completed by his mother.  His Roll of Honour record, however,  at the Australian War Memorial lists it at 29 August, in accordance with correspondence to be found in his record.

Brooke is also remembered in Soldier’s Walk Queen’s Park Hobart, at Tree 271.