From medal recommendation:


“24th Guards Brigade, 1st British Division, 6th American Corps

P/101405 Dom Rudesind BROOKES, OSB, Ch. D., Chaplain to the Forces 4th Class, acting 3rd Class, attached 1st Battalion Irish Guards


Father Brookes has been the chaplain attached to this Battalion ever since it came abroad.  He has now served in both the Tunisian and Italian campaigns.  In both these campaigns he has show almost unbelievable devotion to duty and bravery.  No wounded or dying man wherever he may be has gone without Father Brookes’ attention. 


He has been in places where the fire was impossibly heavy and yet he has given comfort to the dying without any thought for his own safety. 


During the last few weeks, in probably the fiercest fighting the British Army has yet seen, this Priest moved through shot and shell never appearing too tired to go to the furthest points to help a wounded man.  He acted as the Medical Officer’s assistant and on many occasions helped the stretcher bearers in their dangerous tasks of carrying men in. 


There are not words strong enough to describe the wonderful and shining example Father Brookes gave to all ranks, and all the officers and men of this Battalion would give testimony to the tireless kindliness, inspiration, and help they all received from his hand.  His personal bravery in addition to his priestly qualities gain him the admiration of all.  The sight of Father Brookes pacing up and down reading his Breviary under heavy fire has restored the confidence of many a shaken man.


In recognition of this Chaplain’s extreme gallantry and unsparing devotion to duty, I recommend he be awarded the Military Cross.


Signed C.A. Montagu-Douglas-Scott

Commanding 1st Battalion Irish Guards”



From The Universe, 21 December 1984:

“Dom Rudesind Brookes, OSB, OBE, Titular Abbot of Sherborne, who won the Military Cross while serving in Anzio, Italy, as a chaplain to the Irish Guards; at Downside Abbey, Bath, on Monday; aged 85.


He served as a subaltern with the Irish Guards in the First World War. His commanding officer who became a life long friend was the future Field Marshall Lord Alexander.


In 1921 he went as ADC to the Governor of Malta where he probably gained his vocation; because at the end of his training in 1925 he resigned his commission and entered the Benedictine novitiate at Downside.


In the Second World War he returned to his old regiment as chaplain and was with the Irish Guards in Tunisia and at Anzio where he won the M.C. for “extreme gallantry and devotion to duty.”


After the war he was parish priest of Beccles, Suffolk, before returning in 1956 to Malta as a chaplain and unofficial liaison officer between the Governor and the Archbishop at the time of the Mintoff dispute. While there he also became Headmaster of St. Edward’s College.


In 1966 he was appointed a titular abbot and went as Abbot Procuator to Rome where he remained for 11 years.”



From The Times, 19 February 1985:

“A requiem Mass for Chaplain the Right Rev. Dom Rudesind Brookes, OSB, Titular Abbot of Sherborne, late Irish Guards, will be celebrated at the Little Oratory, alongside the Brompton Oratory, at 5.30pm on Wednesday, February 27, by Dom Eric Phillips and Father Alastair Russell.”



Publications: Father Brookes wrote his own memoires entitled ‘Father Dolly: The Guardsman Monk’ in which he describes his early life, his commission in the Irish Guards during WW1, his life as a monk and subsequent service as Chaplain with 1Bn Irish Guards in WW2.



Click here to view 1Bn group photo, Chelsea Barracks, 1944




Quis Separabit


Sources: TNA; The Universe; The Times

Photo: IG Journal; D. Gallagher

 

BROOKES, DOM RUDESIND, r.a.cH.D., attd. 1bn IG