The 16th Battalion’s first Western Front death

The Australian 16th Battalion lost only one man during June 1916 when, on 23 June 1916, a very heavy thunderstorm passed over the area occupied by the battalion in northern France and a lightning strike killed Private Alfred Brooke.  Several other men were injured.

Brooke was buried at Erquinghem, a nearby town, on 24 June 1916. He was the first member of the 16th Battalion to die on the Western Front during the war.

Alfred Brooke was originally from New Zealand but had been living at Fremantle, Western Australia, when he enlisted. Efforts to track down his family history have been unsuccessful.