Brooke, Alan Francis 1st Viscount Alanbrooke “Brookie”.

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Brooke, Alan Francis 1st Viscount Alanbrooke “Brookie”, born on 23-07-1883 in Bagnères de Bigorre in France, had the nickname, Brookie Colonel Shrapnel. Brooke belonged to a prominent Anglo Irish family with a long military tradition as the “Fighting Brookes of Colebrooke”. He was the seventh and youngest child of Sir Victor Brooke, 3rd Baronet, of Colebrooke Park, Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Ulster, Ireland, and the former Alice Bellingham, second daughter of Sir Alan Bellingham, 3rd Baronet, of Castle Bellingham in County Louth. Brooke was educated at a day school in Pau, France, where he lived until the age of 16; he was bi-lingual in French (which he spoke with a heavy Gascon accent) and English. He spoke both French and English very fast, leading some Americans to distrust a “fast-talking Limey”. He was also fluent in German, and had learnt Urdu and Persian.  After graduation from the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich   , Brooke was on 24-12-1902 commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Artillery , as a Second Lieutenant. During World War I he served with the Royal Artillery in France where he got a reputation as an outstanding planner of operations. At the battle of the Somme in 1916 he introduced the French “creeping barrage” system, thereby helping the protection of the advancing infantry from enemy machine gun fire. Brooke ended the conflict as a Lieutenant Colonel with two DSOs . Following the outbreak of World War II, Brooke commanded II Corps in the British Expeditionary Force which included in its subordinate formations the 3rd Division  , commanded by the then Major General Bernard Montgomery. When the German offensive began Brooke distinguished himself in the handling of the British forces in the retreat to Dunkirk.dunkirk.jpg At the London conference in April 1942 Brooke and Sir Winston Churchill seem to have misled George Catlett Marshall the American Chief of Staff, about the British intentions on an early landing in France. Brooke looked forward to taking command of the Allied invasion of western Europe, a post he believed he had been promised by Churchill on three occasions. Alan Brooke was bitterly disappointed that the command was given to Marshall, both at being passed over and of the way the decision was conveyed to him by Churchill. Among the most crucial of his contributions was his opposition against an early landing in France, which was important for delaying Operation Overlord  until 1944. Among the few individuals who Brooke seems to have positive opinion of are General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, English Field Marshal, John Dill and Josef Stalin.

Death and burial ground of Brooke, Alan Francis 1st Viscount Alanbrooke “Brookie”.

  On 17-06-1963, at the age of 79, Field Marshall Alan Brooke, Brookie, suffered a heart attack and died quietly in his bed. He is buried on the cemetery of Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, England.
   Alan Francis Brooke

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