Sir William Robert Brooke 54,76
- Born: 1842, Barnstaple, Devon
- Marriage: Evelyn Simons in 1870
- Died: 8 July 1924, Albertgate Mansions, Knightsbridge aged 82
From The Times, July 9, 1924
Sir William Robert Brooke, K.C.I.E., who died suddenly yesterday at
his residence n Albert-gate Mansions, Knightsbridge, at the age of 82,
was one of the very small band of surviving civil servants who were in
India at the time of the Mutiny. A son of Mr. Thomas Britannicus
Brooke, of the East India service, he was appointed to the then infant
Indian Telegraph Department in September, 1857, when he was only 15.
His memories of those critical days were strong, and were reinforced
by the formation of a considerable collection of letters and papers
throwing light on this and subsequent periods of the British-Indian
connexion. That he developed rapidly under the responsibilities which
fell to young men in the technical departments of mid-Victorian years
is shown by his reaching the grade of superintendent in the Bombay
Presidency at the age of 24. Later he served in the Punjab, and for a
time officiated as Director of Traffic for the whole country. In 1883
he was appointed Director of the construction branch, became Deputy
Director-General six years later, and was in charge of the Department
for the five years preceeding his retirement in April, 1895.
Brooke shared in the responsibilities of the remarkable extension of
the telegraph system in the Indian Empire during his 37 years of
service. One of his outstanding achievements was to develop, on the
occasion of a campaign in Waziristan, the organization of field
telegraphy for the frontier wars. He also supervised the junction of
the Indian and Chinese systems on the Burmo-Chinese frontier after the
annexation and pacification of Upper Burma. The C.I.E. was conferred
on him in January, 1894, and the knighthood of the Order followed on
his retirement. Sir William lived very quietly in London after his
retirement, and was often at the Oriental Club. He married in 1870
Evelyn, daughter of Mr. John Simmons.
Noted events in his life were:
1. He appeared on the census in 1851 in 2 Litchdon Terrace, Barnstaple, Devon.
2. Knighthood: 1895.
3. Census UK 1911: 1911, 219 Knightsbridge, London. 10
4. Resided: 8 July 1924, 219 Knightsbridge, London. 13
5. He had an estate probated on 27 August 1924 in London. 13
William married Evelyn Simons, daughter of John Simons and Unknown, in 1870. (Evelyn Simons was born c 1844 in London 10 and died on 19 December 1926 in Hereford 13,54.)