Howard Brooks

Rank Motor Mechanic
Service No MB/2003
Date of Death 20/07/1918
Age 19
Regiment/Service Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Motor Boat Reserve)
Cemetery East Finchley Cemetery and St Marylebone Crematorium


Howard was born in Edinburgh on 22nd March 1899. His parents were Alfred George (1865-1913) and Agnes Deborah Brooks, nee Hensler (1869-1942), who were married on 9th June 1898 at St John of Jerusalem Church, South Hackney, London. Howard had one sibling: Agnes (b.1904)

At the time of the 1911 Census, the family were living at 35, Princes Avenue, Finchley. They employed a 19 year old domestic servant. Howard’s father worked as a commercial traveller and was given the Freedom of the City of London on 4th July 1912. Sadly he died just six months later on 17th January 1913, while Howard was at Christ’s College, Finchley, (he was a pupil from 1909 to 1913).

Howard enlisted as a motor mechanic in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Motor Boat Reserve) on 28th March 1917, just six days after his 18th birthday. He served initially on HMS Hermione, a headquarters ship for motor launches and coastal motor boats. On 4th July 1917, he transferred to HMS Shikari, a hired trawler, which was part of an Auxiliary Patrol Base in the Bristol Channel, based at Swansea. His service record indicates that his character was deemed to be very good and his performance satisfactory.

On 20th July 1918, Howard died in Swansea of pneumonia after catching influenza. The total recorded number of deaths from influenza in Swansea was only 10 in 1917 but this rose to 273 in 1918. Spanish influenza was widespread throughout the UK, from July 1918 to April 1919. Indeed it was a pandemic, which affected much of the world.

At the time of his death, Howard’s mother was still living at 35, Princes Avenue, Finchley.

Attended Christ’s College Finchley 1909-13