The outstanding Reconquest of the Sudan Battle of Omdurman September 1898 Distinguished Conduct Medal and Royal Victorian Medal in Silver with Second Award Bar grp. to Sergeant Master Cook J.M. Brooke, 1st Bttn., Grenadier Guards; one of five Grenadiers decorated with the D.C.M. for the Sudan 1898 operations. Decorated as a member of the Grenadier Guards bearer party at the funerals of Queen Victoria,1901, and King Edward VII,1910. Awarded an annuity Army Meritorious Service Medal in Feb.1945.
John Miles Brooke was born in Saint Michaels, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, and worked as a labourer, and also saw service with the 3rd Militia Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, before attesting for service with the British Army at Bristol on 18th July 1892, joining in London, as a Guardsman (No.3810), the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards on 21st July 1892, being appointed to Lance Corporal on 3rd February 1894, and awarded his 1st Good Conduct Pay on 18th July 1894, being then promoted to Corporal on 2nd September 1896, after which he extended his service to complete 12 years with the colours on 7th December 1896.
Brooke was appointed to Lance Sergeant on 28th December 1896, and promoted to Sergeant on 5th May 1897, being then posted overseas to Gibraltar from 28th September 1897. Brooke's good service came to a temporary end on 13th April 1898 when he was found drunk, and was convicted of drunkenness by District Court Martial on 18th April 1898, being sentenced to be reduced to the rank of Corporal, though he returned to duty the same day. Brooke was then immediately re-promoted to Sergeant, and then appointed to Sergeant Cook on 25th April 1898.
Several factors combined to persuade Prime Minister Lord Salisbury to send an expedition to reconquer the Sudan. He could see the need to secure the upper reaches of the Nile against French, and possibly, Italian encroachment. Additionally there was pressure to take revenge for the humiliation suffered by the failure to relieve General Gordon in 1884 to 1885. At the same time, the British dominance of Egypt presented the means in the form of the Egyptian Army, newly reorganised by Sir Herbert, later Lord, Kitchener, and the healthy state of the Egyptian economy. Hence Kitchener, in command of the army of reconquest, set out up the Nile supported by a river gunboat flotilla.
Brooke landed in Egypt as a Sergeant Cook with the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards from 19th July 1898, and was then present in the battle of Omdurman on 2nd September 1898, followed by the entry into Khartoum. Brooke was decorated for his bravery at the battle of Omdurman with the Distinguished Conduct Medal, being one of five men from the Grenadier Guards decorated as such in the London Gazette for 15th November 1898.
Brooke was posted home from 8th October 1898, and having qualified in Cookery at Aldershot on 1st May 1899, he married Annie Sarah Chase at the Parish Church in Little Ilford, Essex on 26th July 1899, and the couple went on to have three children, all daughters, Doris Ivy on 9th July 1900, Muriel Olive on 12th January 1909, and Phyllis Irene on 9th July 1910.
Brooke formed part of the bearer party of the Grenadier Guards at the funeral of Queen Victoria on 2nd February 1901, for which he was decorated with the Royal Victorian Medal in Silver, and was then promoted to Colour Sergeant on 1st April 1902, though he reverted again to Sergeant at his own request on 23rd April 1903, and then reengaged to complete 21 years with the colours on 15th December 1903, being then granted service pay a 7 pence per day on 1st April 1904, being then promoted to Sergeant Master Cook on 8th August 1904, though he discontinued in this role on 6th July 1906, he was then re-appointed on 18th August 1908, and was then present with the bearer party of the Grenadier Guards at the funeral of King Edward VII on 29th May 1910 for which service he was awarded the Second Award Bar dated May 1910 to his Royal Victorian Medal in Silver, and was then discharged after 21 years service exactly, in the rank of Sergeant Master Cook on 17th July 1913.
With the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, Brooke was recalled from the Army Reserves, and attested as a Driver (No.T2-SR-03533) into No.1 Company, Army Service Corps on 17th April 1915, being immediately promoted to Staff Sergeant, after which he was promoted to Staff Sergeant Major on 17th June 1915, and was ultimately demobilised on 27th November 1919, having been awarded his Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in the Army Orders 106 for 1918, being then awarded as annuity Meritorious Service Medal in the London Gazette for 10th February 1945. Brooke died on 11th July 1952 in Walstead Hospital when aged 77.