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Kisby Brook

Kisby BrookOrdinary Seaman Kisby Brook, J/67874, Royal Navy, HMS "Recruit"

Kisby Brook was born on the 20th August 1896 in Ossett and, in 1911, he was living with his mother Jane Elizabeth Brook and brother Silvester S. Brook (aged 4 years) in a three-roomed house at 16, Sandbed Terrace, Flushdyke, Ossett. Jane is a rag sorter and Kisby, now aged 14 years is working as an errand boy for the Co-operative. Kisby's father John Brook was not around in 1901 and his mother Jane is listed as the head of household on the census forms. John Brook had married Jane Elizabeth Thompson in 1895 and it is not known if he had died before 1901.

Kisby Brook, who was 5' 5½" tall, joined the British Navy during WW1 and his first ship was the 'Victory', which he boarded on the 1st March 1917. On the 17th July 1917, he joined HMS 'Recruit', a British 'R' Class destroyer of 1,075 tons, which had been built by W. Doxford and Sons at Sunderland in 1916. HMS 'Recruit' joined the 10th destroyer flotilla in May 1917, operating with the Harwich Force.

On August the 9th 1917, HMS 'Recruit' was sunk by the German mini submarine UB-16, commanded by Captain Wilhelm Rhine, three miles north of the Noord Hinder light vessel off the Dutch coast. 54 men were lost out of the 562 men on board, including Kisby Brook, whose body was never recovered.

The "Ossett Observer" 1 had this report concerning the death of Kisby Brooks: "An Admiralty report has this week been received by Mrs. Brook, 16, Sandbed Terrace, Wakefield Road, Ossett, stating that her elder son, Able-Seaman Kisby Brook (21) who for several months has been training for the navy, was on board a light-cruiser, which was sunk on the 9th inst., and as he did not appear among the list of survivors, it must be regarded that he had lost his life. Seaman Brook was well-known in Ossett. At the time he joined the navy, he was a porter at Flushdyke railway station, having previously been the ticket-collector at Ossett (town) station, and he had also worked for the co-operative society and Messrs. M. Riley and Sons, pyrotechnists."


HMS Recruit

Above: British 'R' Class destroyer HMS 'Recruit' circa 1917.

The UB-16 2 was herself sunk on the 10th May 1918 after being torpedoed by the British submarine HM submarine E-34 in the North Sea off Great Yarmouth. However, up to then, the UB-16 had sunk 24 British merchant ships with another one damaged and one taken as a prize in addition to the sinking of the British destroyer HMS "Recruit".

Submarine UB-16

Above: German submarine UB-16, which torpedoed HMS 'Recruit' on Thursday, 9th August 1917, killing Kisby Brook.

Ordinary Seaman Kisby Brook is remembered at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial 3, Panel 25. After the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided.


1. "Ossett Observer", August 17th 1917

2. SM UB-16 Wikipedia article

3. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site