Edward Brooks was born in Oakley, Buckinghamshire, on 11 April 1883 and baptised in Oakley Church on 20 January 1884. He was one of twelve children of Thomas (born in Oakley in 1855) and Selina Brooks (born in Halesowen, Worcestershire in 1857).
He was 34 years old, and a Company Sergeant Major in the 2/4th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 28 April 1917 at Fayet, near Saint-Quentin, France, Company Sergeant-Major Brooks, while taking part in a raid on the enemy’s trenches, saw that the front wave was being checked by an enemy machine gun. On his own initiative he rushed forward from the second wave, killed one of the gunners with his revolver and bayoneted another. The remainder of the gun crew then made off, leaving the gun, whereupon the company sergeant-major turned it on the retreating enemy, after which he carried it back to Allied lines. His courageous action undoubtedly prevented many casualties and greatly added to the success of the operation.
On the 28th April 2017 a stone will be laid in Oakley Church grounds in memory of this event.
Location Of Commemoration Ceremony
The Unveiling Ceremony will take place from 10:15 at St. Mary’s Church, Oakley, Bucks, HP18 9QF (see map opposite).
After the ceremony, all attendees are invited to go to the World War One exhibition in Oakley Village Hall.
PLEASE NOTE B4011: Bicester Road will be closed from 09:30 to 11:45 on 28th April.
- 09:30 The B4011, Bicester Road from Manor Road to Brill Road will be closed to traffic
- 10:05 All official Guests, Councillors, Clergy, Readers and other spectators in place
- 10:10 Ceremony starts
- 11:15 Ceremony Ends
- 11:45 B4011 will be re-opened
Programme (Dry weather programme)
The ceremony will start at 10:10 and will last approximately 65 minutes.
- 10:05 All Official Guests, Councillors, Clergy, Speakers and other spectators in place in St. Mary’s churchyard
- 10:10 The Guards of Honour
- 10:14 Bugler – Major Heaver will sound a fanfare
- 10:15 Arrival of Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire; Mr John Mole, Chairman of Oakley Parish Council (OPC) and M. Christophe Donnette, adjoint to Maire of Fayet, Aisne, France
- 10:18 OPC chairman Mr John Mole to address the Event
- 10.22 Adjoint to Maire of Fayet, to give short speech (with English translation)
- 10:26 Hymn – I Vow to Thee My Country – supported by the Oakley Church Choir
- 10:30 The Rev David Kaboleh to conduct ‘a field service’ to include a short playlet by the children of Oakley School
- 10:48 Résumé of Edward Brooks’ life by Mr Rod Ellis
- 10:58 The Citation of Edward Brooks VC is read by Colonel Simon Plummer
- 11.00 OPC Chairman Mr John Mole announces that the Commemorative Stone will be unveiled
- 11:01 Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher and Mr Keith Brooks will unveil the Commemorative Stone by removing and folding The Rifles Regimental flag
- 11:02 Prayers led by The Rev David Kaboleh
- 11:04 Reading of the names of the fallen Oakley by John Mole and Fayet men by Christophe Donnette
- 11:06 Exhortation by Lt. Col. Simon Wilkinson
- 11:07 Last Post; 1-minute silence
- 11:10 Reveille sounded by bugle
- 11:11 Dedication: Kohima Epitaph, recited by Lt. Col. Simon Wilkinson
- 11:13 Wreaths to be laid by: Lord Lieutenant; Colonel Simon Plummer; OPC Chairman, John Mole; Adjoint to Maire of Fayet, Christophe Donnette; the Brooks family; the scholars from Oakley School and Wheatley Park School for The Fallen
- 11:15 French National Anthem [1 verse and chorus] and National Anthem [1 verse] – supported by Oakley Village Choir
- 11.17 Guards of Honour march off
Programme (Wet weather programme)
If torrential rain is forecast, then an alternate programme will be published ahead of the event. If ‘normal rain’ is forecast, the programme will remain outside the church – attendees are recommended to bring umbrellas.
‘When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.’