James first appears in a census in 1901. He was living with his family at Windy Arbour Shotton. The head of the family was John Brockley aged 35 a labourer in the (iron?) works. He had been born in Cheshire. His wife was Frances M Brockley 35 yrs born in Liverpool. Their children were Emily 11, James 7, May 5 (all born in Ashton under Lyne) and Harold 3 and Rose 1 both born in Northop Flintshire.
Ten years on in the next census finds the family living in 3 rooms in 32 Princess St Connah’s Quay. John now 44 was an Iron worker (this census says he was born in Ashton under Lyne), Frances his wife of 20 years was now aged 44 and had given birth to 11 children all of whom survived. Ten of them are listed as living at home, J W Brockley 20 an iron worker, James 17 an ironworker, May 15, Rose 12, Harold 14, Frances 8, Roger 5, Walter 3, Arthur 1 and peter 10 months.
(J W Brockley aged 20 was John who wrote the letter below)
It seems that both James and John William Brockley enlisted on the same day, the 28th June 1915, according to the UK, WW1 Service Medal and Award Rolls (Ancestry), and they had consecutive regimental numbers. James was Killed in Action on the 9th of August 1915. John William was discharged on the 17th May 1916
There is a card for James in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Archives Office in Hawarden. It gives the address as 19 Primrose Street, Connah’s Quay. It says he served from 8th August 1914 until his death in the Dardenelles. The card was signed Mr Brockley.
John and James Brockley were together as soldiers in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The letter shown below was written by John on behalf of himself and James. It is to one of the other brothers. It seems to have been written in the UK before they sailed off to Gallipoli. This dates it pre August 1915.(Many thanks to Laraine & John Blythyn)
Transcript of the letter.
Just a line hoping to find you all in the pink as it leaves us both at present. I hear you are courting very strong but its better to do that than join this lot. I hope that Father gets that money soon as I’m about sick of this lot. You get a fat lot when it is Friday. A bob we got last week. That was three pints + three packets of woodbines. I am going to see if we can tell a tale to that girl at the Quay House. I heard Jim say that he had some cigs off her the last time he was home.
I had some socks this week + two parcels from the Quay so we haven’t done bad this week. We have had our photo took, a big one. Jim and I but when you see me on it you will drop in a ruck. It was with the bugle band but I am a bit lob sided. But I’m going to send it, so that will be 2/0d so that’s our money gone for next week unless you like to drop a couple of coppers in the hat. I think that is all now. Tell Jo I haven’t any money for a stamp or I would write to him but tell him I will write when I get some overtime in. I don’t know when we are going away but I hope it is soon to out of it. I will send the photo on Saturday
We remain your loving brothers
Jim and John.
UK soldiers who died in The Great War 1914 -19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms that James was born in Ashton under Lyne and that he enlisted in Shotton. It also gives regimental details as at the top of this page.
James Brockley in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was father John W. Brockley who was paid £5. 9s 3d on the 23rd November 1915 and his War Gratuity of £3. 0s 0d on the 2nd August 1919
James’s Medal Card tells us that the first theatre of war he served in was the Balkans and that he entered it on 28th June 1915.
James is also commemorated on the memorial inside St Mark’s Church Connah’s Quay.
James had two brothers who also served, but survived. Below are their cards in theFlintshire WW1 Roll of Honour in the County Record Office in Hawarden
Index Card (Connah’s Quay L 38) Brockley Harold,(Private) of 49, Primrose Street, Connah’s Quay. Regimental No. 61205 of the 17th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He served from the 6th May 1917 to the 21st January 1919. France. Card signed by H. Brockley on the 1st October 1919.
Index Cards (Connah’s Quay L 39) Brockley, John William (Private) of 9, Saltney Sq., Connah’s Quay. Regimental tl No. 12134 of the Royal Welsh .Fusiliers He served from 22nd August 1915 to the 17th May 1916 Gallipoli. Card signed by W.M.Fitzpatrick 18th September 1919.
The item below is included in a larger item in the newspaper naming other casualties.
James’s younger brother Roger was to lose his life on the 25th January 1946, a Gunner in the Royal Artillery, Service No. 1818680; Additional information: Son of Jack and Frances Brockley, of Connah’s Quay; husband of Rosina Brockley, of Connah’s Quay. He is comemerated on the Commonwealth War Graves Database, and is buried in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire (Sec. T. Grave 15.)