Sunday, 12 June 2011

J Brancker

James Donaldson Dulaney Brancker
Born c Jan 1878 in Baltimore, USA  Killed in Action 1 May 1917 at Tilloy, Pas De Calais
Major 116th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

James was the third son of John Sefton Brancker and Anne Caroline (Carrie) Dulaney.  J Sefton Brancker was born a British subject in Hamburg.  He spent some years in England and then moved to the USA where he carried on a business as a merchant.  He later became a British Vice-Consul in Baltimore.  He and his wife are listed in society visiting books of the 1889/1890 season as living at Mount Washington, Baltimore.  The couple's eldest sons were Sefton Dulaney Brancker and Grafton Lloyd Brancker (Grafton Lloyd Dulaney was the father of Mrs Brancker).

J Sefton Brancker died in Baltimore in 1891.  The two eldest brothers definitely spent some time travelling following their father's death.  They tried gold prospecting in Bendigo, Australia at the turn of the century and then went to South Africa.  Their stay in Australia was reported in the Adelaide Advertiser in 1930 when that paper reported on the death of Sir William Sefton Brancker, who had been killed in an aircrash.  The paper confused Sir W Sefton Brancker with (I think) his first cousin, Sefton Dulaney Brancker.  A Baltimore newspaper's society column mentioned the Brancker brothers visit to South Africa in 1901 and speculated that they would "see something of the (Boer) war".  Sadly, Grafton did; he joined the British Army (South Staffordshire Regiment) and was killed at Ficksburg on 25 June 1900.  Sefton moved to England where James had already joined the Royal Artillery.

In 1901 James was serving as a Lieutenant in the RA and was based in Kent.  A 1910 report in The Times mentions a Captain Brancker, RA, in connection with No. 2 Mountain Battery stationed at Dera Dun (this could well be his cousin, W Sefton Brancker though).  In September 1912 James is recorded landing at Ellis Island,  giving his home address as "Dilkhusha", Newquay.    He had travelled First Class aboard the St Louis. James' next appearance is three years later in an announcement in The Times of his impending marriage to Bryda Millicent Pennycuick, the wedding to be "quiet".  The low-key event took place in Frimley (near Camberley) on 26 June 1915, Mrs Brancker's address being given as "Dilkhusha", Newquay.  The bride's came from a military family, her father and grandfathers being mentioned as army officers.

Sadly, I cannot find out much information about Major Brancker's 116th Siege Battery.  I have found that several other men from this battery were killed on the same day.  James was buried in the British cemetery at Tilloy.  On 4 June 1917 The London Gazette listed his award of the Distinguished Service Order.

James' wife, Bryda, did not remarry.  She died in Kent in 1970 aged 86.  His mother lived in Newquay for several years at "Dilkhusha", a property that no longer exists, but as far as I can tell was on the Headland Road, and the rear of which would have looked up toward the site of the war memorial.  James' brother Sefton went on to become a Lieutenant Colonel.  The Brancker's cousin, Sir William Sefton Brancker, was Air Vice-Marshal and is acknowledged as being a pioneer in British civil and military aviation.

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