109235 Sgt. Reginald "Rex" Lawrence Brake was born in Bournemouth, Dorset, England, in 1897, the first son of Henry and Mary Brake.


109235 Pte. Geoffrey Bertram Brake was born in Upper Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, England, in 1897, the third son.


The Brake couple had seven known children: Maud (b1886), Othena (b1890), Laura (b1892), Reginald (b1894), Harold (b1895), Dora (b1896) and Geoffrey (b1897).


Geoffrey appears to have emigrated to Canada via Montreal from Liverpool, with at least his mother on September 11th, 1908, on the Allan Line ship, Victorian. His father and two older brothers went out ahead of them on the Lake Erie, on May 22nd, 1907. The family settled in Hamilton, Ontario.


When the call came, both Reginald "Rex" and Geoffrey attested into the 4th CMR, in Toronto, on November 27th, 1914, and were assigned to 'A' Company. Rex's trade at attestation was noted as Electrical Engineer, and Geoffrey as a "cutter". However, both lied about their ages, adding two years respectively.


Serving with the regiment in the meantime without noted incident, both met different fates on the morning of June 2nd, 1916, the 'Battle for Mount Sorrel'. Rex received a shrapnel wound to the head, which aggravated an existing skull fracture injury sustained in an automobile collision in 1913. Although he survived that awful day in June 1916, he was to be plagued by headaches and dizziness until finally struck off strength in 1917 and returned to Canada as medically unfit. Rex went on to marry Mary Larkin in June of 1918.


Sadly Geoffrey was amongst 190 or so men of the 4th CMR lost that morning of June 2nd, 1916. Whilst posted initially as missing believed killed, a comrade reported later that Geoffrey was last seen lying seriously wounded in a trench, having lost a leg. Unlike so many from that day, his body was actually and subsequently recovered for burial, and his correct age was ascertained for the headstone.


Pte. Geoffrey Brake is one of four men of the 4th CMR known to lie at rest in the Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, near Ieper.






Biography credits: Mike Kavanagh; headstone image courtesy of 4cmr.com