Lieutenant Commander 

Francis John 


Royal Navy

Died On:
3 June 1943


Francis John Brooks was born in Hendon, Middlesex on 9 June 1910, the son of Henry Arthur Brooks and Frances Beatrice Brooks. He joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet, and his first ship was the battleship HMS ROYAL OAK (First Battle Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet) which he had joined on 25 August 1928. He was promoted to Midshipman on 1 September 1928. and, on 17 December 1929, he was appointed to the cruiser HMS CORNWALL on the China Station. He was promoted to Acting Sub Lieutenant on 1 January 1931and in July 1931 he was completing his Gunnery Course at Portsmouth.

Brooks was appointed to HMS DOLPHIN for the Submarine Course on 9 May 1932 and was appointed to HMS PANDORA (Fourth Submarine Flotilla) as the Navigator on 19 August 1932. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 October 1933. On his return home he joined HMS H32 on 31 May 1935. On 28 August 1935 he joined the Submarine Flotilla Leader HMS MACKAY (Second Submarine Flotilla, Home Fleet). An appointment to HMS L26 as First Lieutenant followed in January 1936. On 6 November 1936 he was appointed to HMS L23 as First Lieutenant and, on 24 May 1937 to HMS OXLEY as First Lieutenant.

Francis Brooks was appointed to HMS DOLPHIN on 2 May 1938, and he completed his Commanding Officers Qualifying Course on 24 April 1939. On 24 July 1939 he was appointed to HMS L23 in Command. Then followed an appointment to HMS UNITY in Command to date 20 April 1940.

HMS UNITY was sunk in collision with the Norwegian Merchant Vessel Atle Jarl in the North Sea off the East coast North of Blyth on 29 April 1940. He was Court Martialled over the loss of HMS UNITY, but no action was taken against him.

After the loss of HMS UNITY Francis Brooks was appointed to HMS UPRIGHT ‘in Command – completing at Barrow’ to date 5 July 1940. He conducted two patrols in Home Waters and one in the Mediterranean and Lieutenant Brooks was relieved in command in December 1940.

He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 1 October 1941 and was appointed to HMS DOLPHIN as a Staff Officer on 28 February 1942. In July 1942 he was appointed to HMS PRESIDENT for the Operations Division at the Admiralty.

Francis Brooks was killed on 3 June 1943 when a Beaufighter (Aircraft ‘W’ of 236 Squadron, RAF) in which he was flying as an Observer was attacked by a flight of Ju88’s. Both the Navigator and Francis Brooks were wounded and, although the aircraft crash landed at Predannack, Francis Brooks died of his wounds.

He was the thirty-two years old husband of Helen Maria Brooks (née Bernays) and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval War Memorial on Panel No. 67 Column No. 3.


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