THE ADMIRABLE item in the Catholic Herald, by James Rockett last week, made reference to "Fr Dolly" Brookes, whom I was privileged to know until his death at the age of 86 and who was a monk of Downside Abbey and titular Abbot of Sherborne (Somerset).
Abbot Brookes had a fascinating background, with a Russian Count and a Swedish mother as parents, who subsequently divorced so that John eventually acquired an English step-father, Warwick Brookes, distantly related to the Earls of Warwick, ancestrally. As a young subaltern in the first World War, John was wounded and had a distinguished service record. In 1925 he became Bro Rudisend, receiving the habit from Abbot Ramsay and was fully professed in due course, and then taught at the Abbey School.
At the outbreak of the second World War, Dom Rudisend obtained permission to apply for commissioned rank as an army padre and he served in several theatres of war, receiving the Military Cross for conspicuous acts of bravery, under fire.
After hostilities Dom Rudisend, or "Fr Dolly" to his many friends, was sent to Malta and appointed Head Master of St Edmund's College. In due course he was asked to accept a post in Rome and Abbot Procurator in Curia where he remained for 12 years.
A fine man, warm friendly and loved by all who knew him, his story is told in "Father Dolly" — The Guardsman Monk, published by Henry Melland Ltd. and well worth reading at £10.95.
Ls Sear Northampton