John Brooks was born in 1884 in Dunstable, 1 of 13 children born to Albert & Emma.
In 1901 John 17 years old & is working at Midland Railway as a greaser. He is living at 27 Grove Road, Luton a 6 roomed house. His father Albert is 46 & working as a furnace stoker at the dye works & mother Emma, 42 is working at home as a straw hat sewer. 8 of his siblings are also living with him, Ada is 24 years old & working as a straw hat machinist, Arthur 19 is a straw hat machine fitter, Henry is 13 years old & working as an errand boy. His younger siblings are 11 year old Fred, 8 year old Walter, 7 year old Gertrude, 5 year old Sidney & Percival who is 2. They also have a boarder, 12 year old Nellie Dyer.
On 14th October 1902 His father Albert died & left Emma widowed with a large family to look after.
In 1911 he is boarding at 14 Collingdale St with the Halsey family & is working as a gelatine maker.
On the outbreak of war whilst working for Messers Laporte Ltd, John enlisted into the 2/5th Bedfordshire Regiment.
An article in the Luton News on 8th April 1915 titled ' Six Sons Serving' was written about Emma Brooks (misspelt Brookes) & 6 of her 9 sons all doing their duty in the war, Albert, John, Sidney, Fred, Percival & Walter. Henry & William also served their country.