At the age of 43, Thomas Brookbank volunteered to join the army in September 1914 just weeks after the start of the war and when the wounded from the first encounters with the German army at Mons and Le Cateau were arriving back in England. There was nothing special about Tom Brookbank. He was a painter and a decorator by trade, but he was swept along in the surge of patriotism that drove hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and women to respond to the Kitchener's call for the raising of a great volunteer army - an enterprise that most military men of the time, friend and foe alike, regarded as a ludicrous waste of time and money. This much was known by family legend, together with knowledge that he had gone to Italy in November 1917 with the 41st Division in response to the near collapse of the Italian army at Caporetto that he ended the war in Belgium with this Division.
Tom Brookbank need not have volunteered at all. He was too old to be fighting a soldier and was well over the age group that Kitchener was calling for, but there was also a need for men in the support services behind the lines - the men of the Army Services Corps - and this is where Tom Brookbank and fellow men like him ended up. Early research showed that he did not start the war with the 41st Division, so, what happened to him, what did he do and where did he go?
'Searching for Pop' is the story of a grandson's search for the answers to what he did and where he went between the time he volunteered and his discharge at the end of the war. It illustrates what might be achieved from a very limited amount of initial knowledge by perseverance and the use of the records available in National Archives.