Hubert BrooksMC CD was born in 1921, in Alberta, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Brooks who later moved to Montreal. On August 14, 1940, Brooks enlisted in Montreal with the RCAF. He took his air crew instruction at various training schools in Canada graduating from his Canadian training on August 18, 1941.
On one of a number of dangerous and risky bombing sorties, Flight Lieutenant luck against heavy odds of not returning, ran out. On April 9, 1942, Brooks' aircraft was shot down and he was taken prisoner. The citation reads as follows:On April 8, 1942, Flight Lieutenant Brooks was a navigator/bomb aimer of a Wellington aircraft, detailed to attack Hamburg, Germany. Prior to reaching the target, the aircraft caught fire and had to be abandoned. Flight Lieutenant Brooks landed near Oldenburg.
Despite an injury to his knee, he disposed of his parachute and attempted to evade capture. Eventually his injuries caused so much pain that he was compelled to seek assistance and in doing so, was handed over to the German authorities. He was taken to a prisoner of war camp at Lamsdork on April 16th, 1942, and remained there until May 10th, 1943.During this time, Flight Lieutenant Brooks made two unsuccessful attempts to escape and finally, in May 1943, he succeeded in getting away to join Polish partisans with whom he remained until liberated by Russian forces in January 1945. The first escape entailed cutting the barbed wire on the hut window and also the wire of a double fence, brilliantly lighted and patrolled by guards. Flight Lieutenant Brooks and a companion succeeded in doing this and were traveling towards Gracow, moving by night and existing on food saved from Red Cross parcels, when they were recaptured owing to information given by pro-German Poles. After a long interrogation, Flight Lieutenant Brooks was placed in solitary confinement for fourteen days and, when this was over, had to go to hospital as his feet had been badly blistered. On September 10th 1942, Flight Lieutenant Brooks made his second bid for freedom, escaping this time with five other prisoners from the top story of a building despite the armed guard on the ground floor. He walked to Lunenburg and successfully concealed himself on a train to Vienna where he was again arrested. While en route to another prisoner of war camp, Flight Lieutenant Brooks was confined in a dugout for eight days and was severely beaten by a German non-commissioned officer for trying to escape. On arrival at the camp he was put in solitary confinement for 14 days. Finally, in November 1942, Brooks was sent to work at a saw mill at Tost. While there, he planned an escape but details became known to the Germans and was warned that he would be shot if an attempt was made. Undeterred, this officer revised his plans. He made several useful contacts with Poles outside the camp and obtained civilian clothing and maps. On May 10th, 1943, Brooks and a sergeant cut through bars and escaped. They successfully evaded all efforts to capture them and reached Czectochowa where they remained hidden until January, 1945.
Throughout the whole period, Flight Lieutenant Brooks showed great determination. He was not dismayed, or deterred from attempting to escape, by punishments or hardships and even when he knew he was a marked man, he continued to make further plans and efforts to escape.
His award of the Military Cross (MC) for valour was dated October 8, 1946. He was awarded the Polish Silver Cross of Merit with Swords and the Polish Cross of Valour by the government of Poland. He had a sister named Doris Brooks and had 3 uncles on his mother's side who lived in Ottawa, Ontario, namely Moise, Omer and Edward Farrant.