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James Brookbanks, Age 23

Guardsman , 28101, 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards.

Grenadier Guards cap badge
Grenadier Guards cap badge.

James was the son of Mr Brookbanks of 6 Stone Row, Dawley.

I was unable to find out anything about James life except for the fact that he was killed in action in Flanders on November 27th 1917 alongside another Dawley lad, James Yapp and is remembered on the Cambrai Memorial panel 2 as his body was never found.

Brookbanks J HS

Notes: James was the son of Mr. Joseph Brookbanks and Eliza Brookbanks, he was baptised at Malinslee on the 24th Sep 1896, in 1901 they were living in Little Eyton Fold, but by 1911 they had moved to No 6 Stone Row, James occupation was a horse driver, after his death the army pension was paid to his mother at 3 Single Row, Hinkshay.

Battle Of Cambrai - Capture Of Bourlon Wood - 24/11/1917
Location: Fontaine-Notre-Dames. British victory. The Allied attack on Bourlon Wood was part of a larger battle to take Cambrai, an important railway junction and supply point for the Hindenburg Line.

If Cambrai and the higher ground of Bourlon Wood fell to the Allies, then German supply lines from the coast would be vulnerable to attack. British success on the first day of the battle for Cambrai were countered by heavy losses to the Tank Corps, mainly due to mechanical breakdown rather than enemy action.

However more critically the strategically important high ground of Bourlon Wood remained in German possession, before the majority of it was captured by 40th Division on 23rd November. German counter-attacks being held off during the following days, on 27th November the British called a halt to their attack and began to consolidate their positions.

The Guards Division was in general reserve during the initial attack, moving forwards during the night of 23rd and 24th November to relieve 51st Division outside Fontaine-Notre-Dames, 1st Guards Brigade moving into the front line with 3rd Guards Brigade in support around Flesquieres.

With 40th Division on the left in Bourlon Wood coming under pressure from German counter-attacks, on 25th November 3rd Guards Brigade were dispatched to assist them.

2nd Scots Guards and 4th Grenadier Guards attacked during the day, the Germans were pushed back again through the wood and south-west of it.

62nd Division relieved 40th Division during the night of 25th-26th November, 2nd Scots Guards and 4th Grenadier Guards were relieved in their advanced positions on 26th November, 3rd Guards Brigade then returning to the Division.

2nd Guards Brigade took over the Fontaine-Notre-Dames line from 1st Guards Brigade in the early morning of 27th November, at 06.20am the Brigade along with 62nd Division staged a major attack on Bourlon Wood and Fontaine-Notre-Dames village. 2nd Irish Guards on the left, 1st Coldstream Guards in the centre and 3rd Grenadier Guards on the right, 1st Scots Guards forming a protective flank on the right.

Despite very heavy resistance, both 1st Coldstream Guards and 3rd Grenadier Guards were able to fight their way into Fontaine-Notre-Dames, reaching as far as the railway station, they were not in enough numbers to hold it and were forced to withdraw. 2nd Irish Guards on the left having similar problems in Bourlon Wood, the attack was called off for the loss of 1081 casualties.

The Guards Division was relieved by 50th Division during the night of 27th-28th November.


victory-medal britishwar-medal
Victory Medal British War Medal