Vincent Brooks was born in Oldham in 1916 to parents Frank & Lillian. His personal details are somewhat sketchy at the moment but it's thought he had two younger brothers, Eric & Frank. Hewas married to Winnifred Gillions in Northwood,Middlesex in 1943. Whether he had already moved down there or met his wife to be during his training is not yet known. His eventual battalion, the 1st Irish Guards, had landed in Tunisia a little while before his marriage.
Vincent met his death eight days after the battalion had taken part in the Anzio landings. The following are excerpts from an appendix to the Battalion's War Diary (it's very likely Brooks,as a member of 2 Company, met his end along with Lt.Da Costa mentioned below):
APPENDIX WAR DIARY SATURDAY, 29TH JANUARY 1944.
NIGHT ATTACK SATURDAY, 29TH JANUARY - No. 2 COMPANY.
I have the honour to submit an account of the night attack and subsequent withdrawal of my own Company and of No. 1 Company while it is still fresh in my mind, which may be attached to the War Diary and possibly be of use in completing the Regimental History after the War. As far as possible with the latter consideration in view I have mentioned names, particularly of those who did outstanding work.
During the morning of the 29th Company Commanders were sent for and ordered to go up to an O.P., in the area of one of the Scots Guards localities.
The plan was explained.
The object was to capture and hold the road running across the main road, No. 2 Company on the Right, No. 1 Company on the Left, No. 3 Company to provide Left flank protection and No. 4 Company to provide depth on the railway line.
On the capture of the objective, which was to be the Start Line of an attack by the 3rd Infantry Brigade at 1200 hours on the 29th, No. 2 Company had to contact the Scots Guards on the right and No. 1 Company had to contact No. 3 Company on the left.
As soon as possible supporting arms, including Tank Busters would come up, together with Company ‘F’ Echelon transport.
From Zero minus 40 until Zero there was to be an artillery barrage from 200 yards in front of the Start Line which should lift on to the objective.From the O.P., already mentioned it was possible to see only a part of the objective and only certain areas of the ground to be crossed.There was little information of the enemy in this area.
But it soon became obvious that there were enemy localities in the area because Company Commanders were strafed by German machine guns returning to their Companies.
Zero Hour was put back three quarters of an hour and eventually the Companies led off to the Start Line, down the railway in the order:-
No. 2 Company
No. 1 Company, and
No. 4 Company
It is interesting to point out here that over sufficient time cannot be allowed for night movements, especially where Companies have to move in single file.On reaching the Start Line companies got into their deployed positions.
This was somewhat difficult as, first the noise was excessive and second many of the shells were failing very short.
However at Zero the two forward companies moved off, both two platoons up on either side of the railway line.
Both Companies got about half way when German lights went up and one Machine gun from the Left opened up on No. 1 Company and then from the front at No. 2 Company.
On the Right the ground was ideal for enemy machine guns, on the left there was dead ground which extended to about 200 yards to the left of the railway line.Fortunately No. 1 Company had made very good use of this and with one casualty reached its objectives.
On the right owing to the reasons already given also again to the fact which soon became obvious, insufficient artillery support, things were not so easy.Machine gun fire was accurate and unfortunately severely wounded the right hand Platoon Commander Lieutenant H. GILLOW and three or four men.Both forward platoons worked their way into a gully.
Immediately Serjeant Murphy, Platoon Serjeant of the right hand platoon rallied his men and with cover from the left hand platoon, attacked a small house on an old railway bed.The conduct of Serjeant Murphy's platoon in face of the veritable nest of machine gunners was outstanding.
Section Commanders led their sections in a most daring manner, Serjeant Dempsey, Corporal Day and Lance Serjeant Cartledge particularly showing enterprise and dash.
This platoon took one post, which consisted of one machine gun and two rifle posts in the front of the house, the left hand section swung round on the left and took another post.The remainder of the platoon was advancing led by Serjeant Murphy when another machine gun, as yet undetected but situated about 50 yards behind the house with light machine guns and riflemen with grenades opened up at point blank range; this platoon fought it out, just short of their objective but he fire was too deadly and just short of their objective they were overwhelmed.
Meanwhile the left hand platoon had pushed slightly forward on the left which actually was then enemy’s F.D.Ls, as it had passed a machine gun post full of enemy dead.
The reserve platoon (Serjeant Gundel) had been pinned down behind and, shortly, further fire was opened up on the two remaining platoons by enemy machine guns from the right, the objective of the left hand Company of the Scots Guards. Serjeant Gundel, cut off from the Company Commander, together with rear Company H.Q., wisely decided to get on the left of the railway line as they could not go forward.
The left hand platoon, Lieutenant C. Brand, with advanced Company H.Q., then took the only course available, which was to pass round the left and get up to No. 1 Company.Except for a tussle with an invisible German grenade thrower, which wounded Serjeant Wylie in the cheek, this was successfully done.
They linked with Serjeant Gundel’s now weak platoon and the Company Commander got through on the wireless to Battalion H.Q.
No. 1 and No. 2 Companies now formed four strong platoons in the area of the sunken road which was the left of the Battalion objective.It was learned that the left company of the Scots Guards had been unable to get up and so contact with them was impossible.
Both Company Commanders shared their H.Q., as No. 2 Company’s wireless went off the air.Digging was extremely difficult on account of the extreme hardness of the ground; it did not make things any easier when the noise of the approach of tanks became obvious.
It is interesting to note here how the Germans use so effectively three or four tanks in the moonlight.Lieutenant Bartlett, No. 1 Company’s right hand platoon was ordered to prepare a 75 grenade in ordr to prevent tanks coming under the bridge into the sunken road and so into the position.But there is no doubt that although the grenade did no great damage to the leading tank it did frighten them considerably and for the remainder of the time that the Tanks remained in the area they could only be very unpleasant and not deadly.
Shortly Lieutenant Preston arrived with a small patrol from No. 3 Company. He later remained with No. 1 and 2 Companies as he could not get back to his own Company.It was now getting fairly late and the fact that supporting arms could not get up became obvious.Contact was made with Battalion H.Q., and the situation explained.
Very little news was known of No. 3 Company and shortly afterwards the only remaining wireless went off air.At 0600 hours on the 29th just as it was becoming light the situation was not very bright.Too much praise cannot be given to Lance Corporal Holwell, who mending his wireless in the open and in spit of fire from enemy tanks, succeeded in getting in touch at about 0615 hours when the force had orders to withdraw and link up with Battalion H.Q., who were in the area of the Scots Guards.
It was decided to take the obvious route back down the railway line.The Companies were approaching this route when an Officer came running with a revolver from the area of some buildings from the right.The German officer was duly killed, but the fire attracted a nest of machine gunners in the area beyond.
Bren Gun covering fire was not very effective because of the long range and the companies received rather heavy casualties getting into the railway embankment, unfortunately Company Serjeant Major Gilmore who had been invaluable throughout was mortally wounded along with Lance Corporal Holwell who was killed.
Touch was made with Battalion H.Q., again and the only help they could give effectively was asked for, that of providing smoke.The leading platoon - Lieutenant P. Da Costa led off with this platoon, again covering fire was not very effective because of the long range, and enemy machine gun fire very deadly. Lieutenant P. Da Costa was killed leading his platoon back, Lieutenant Bartlett took his platoon slightly left down a gully, this platoon also received casualties.
Lieutenant Brand took his platoon with No. 2 Company’s H.Q., attached down the railway line.
It is time now to mention admirable work done by Corporal Moriarty, No. 2 Company Corporal in charge Stretcher Bearers.
He had an immensely difficult time during the night attack walking under fire and collecting wounded in the pitch dark.
Battalion H.Q. collected all the wounded and harboured them under the railway line.
During the morning of the 30th Lance Corporal Moriarty again, with no consideration for his own safety, collected all the wounded, bandaged them and freed them of any pain, remaining with them all that day and night until they could be evacuated.He reported at about 2400 hours on the night of the 30th as if he had been on a Battalion scheme.
Finally the time came for the covering party to retire.
Unfortunately Guardsman Taylor was wounded in the leg and had to remain with the wounded.Both he and Guardsman Montgomery did invaluable work by providing continuous fire for about an hour.
German mortars and 88 mm. soon put down accurate fire on the railway line, one of which cut Major Sir Ian Stewart-Richardson on the eye, but he remained at duty, and shortly afterwards Lieutenant Preston was killed.
It was owing to admirable leadership of platoon and section commander, that in spite of what looked like a very ugly situation, a company could be formed immediately on reaching Battalion H.Q., and that some of the men of both companies who had been captured had been able to turn on their captors and bring them in.
Valuable information was given to the Officer Commanding the Duke of Wellington Regiment, who eventually was to carry out an attack with tanks at approximately 1800 hours with special reference to ground he had not seen and known machine gun posts.
Signed G.P.M. Fitzgerald, Major,
Commanding No. 2 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards
It is likely that Brooks fell alongside Da Costa as the following notice appeared in The Times:
DA COSTA - In cherished memory of our beloved
son, LT.PATRICK DA COSTA, Irish Guards,killed in
action at Anzio,Jan.30 1944,and of GUARDSMAN
VINCENT BROOKS,killed with him
Perhaps he died going to his officer's aid. 27 other men from the 1st Battalion are registered as being killed that day:
BORLAND THOMAS 26 Lance Corporal 2718680 HUSBAND OF MARTHA BORLAND.
BRADSHAW ABRAHAM 27 Guardsman 2720540 SON OF GEORGE&MARY BRADSHAW, OF WIDNES
BYRNE WILLIAM 28 Guardsman 2721609 SON OF TERENCE&ANNIE BYRNE, OF SALFORD
CARTLIDGE FREDERICK 23 Lance Serjeant 2722791 SON OF WILLIAM&MARY CARTLIDGE, OF BELFAST
DA COSTA PATRICK 23 Lieutenant 156083 SON OF DARNLEY&MARY DA COSTA
DAY FREDERICK 27 Lance Corporal 2721560 HUSBAND OF IRENE DAY, OF WHITSTABLE
DOLAN TERENCE 29 Guardsman 2718647 HUSBAND OF EVELYN DOLAN.
DOWLING EDWARD 32 Guardsman 2722197
DUGGAN JAMES 34 Guardsman 2717006 HUSBAND OF REBECCA DUGGAN, OF BRENTFORD
GIBSON WILFRED 31 Guardsman 2718921 HUSBAND OF IRIS GIBSON, OF PURLEY
GILLOW HENRY 28 Lieutenant 87530 SON OF HENRY&MARIE GILLOW OF BOWDON
GILMORE GEORGE 28 Warrant Officer Class II 2718644 HUSBAND OF MARJORIE GILMORE, OF SURREY.
HOLWELL GEORGE 30 Lance Corporal 4855664 HUSBAND OF BEATRICE HOLWELL, OF HENDON
JOHNSTON WILLIAM 28 Lance Corporal 2722971 SON OF MR&MRS JOHNSTON, OF BALLYMONEY
KELLY EDWARD 32 Guardsman 2717567 SON OF GEORGE&ELLEN KELLY, OF BELFAST
MELIA JOHN 27 Guardsman 2720191 HUSBAND OF ELSIE MELIA, OF LEEDS.
MURPHY GEORGE 24 Lance Serjeant 2718878 from Birmingham
MURPHY WILLIAM 33 Guardsman 2721590 SON OF THOMAS &HENRIETTA MURPHY.
MUSGRAVE CHRISTOPHER 20 Lieutenant 247102 SON OF LT.-COL.SIR C.N MUSGRAVE, 6TH BT
O'BRIEN PATRICK 34 Guardsman 2721861 HUSBAND OF BEATRICE ELLA O'BRIEN.
O'DONNELL JOSEPH 42 Lance Corporal 2716792 HUSBAND OF ANNIE O'DONNELL, OF ATHERTON.
O'NEILL JOHN 20 Guardsman 2723120 SON OF JOSEPH &ELLEN O'NEILL, OF BELFAST
O'REILLY LAURENCE 26 Guardsman 2722478 SON OF JAMES&SARAH O'REILLY, OF CLONES
PRESTON STEPHEN 23 Lieutenant 228338 SON OF VISCOUNT&VISCOUNTESS GORMANSTON OF GORMANSTON CASTLE, CO. MEATH,
STUBBS FRANK 27 Guardsman 2720447 SON OF FRANK &SARAH STUBBS, OF CONGLETON
WELSH JAMES 31 Guardsman 2722241 SON OF ROBERT&MARY WELSH, OF MANCHESTER.
WILLIAMSON HARRY 30 Guardsman 2721306 HUSBAND OF PHYLLIS WILLIAMSON, OF LETCHWORTH
this page is still under construction. If you have any information on Vincent or photographs of him or his gravestone please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date of Death:30/01/1944
Cemetery:Anzio War Cemetery