Mr Cecil Brooke Coles
27 October 1913 - 27 September 1993
‘He Was A Truly Good Man’
Cecil Brooke Coles came from a very interesting and devoutly Christian lineage. He was the only son of WW1 war hero and gifted classical composer, Cecil Frederick Gottleib Coles.
His Grandfather was an archaeologist, author and talented watercolour artist who was born in India into a long line of missionaries and whose great great grandfather was the famous Carl Rhenius, Apostal of Tirunelvelli.
Cecil’s only sibling, Phoebe, was a well known children’s author who wrote many children’s story books in the 50’s and 60’s each of which carried the Christian message.
Cecil was given the middle name of Brooke by his father in honour of Miss Nancy Brooke who had looked after him when he was a young music student in London. She later became godmother to his first son, Cecil Brooke Coles.
Cecil (Brooke) didn’t marry. Instead he devoted his life to the army, church and scout movement, becoming a scout master for the 18th Chiswick St Nicholas Church Scout Group.
He preferred to be known by his middle name of Brooke and wrote under the name of C.Brooke Coles. He wrote an in-depth guide to Chiswick Parish Church to inform visitors of the Church history, architecture and its surroundings. The current church archivist still refers to Cecil’s guidebook which is kept in the church archives.
Another book which he wrote was for the benefit of and advice to young men joining the army. It was entitled ‘all young men born between…..’. He also wrote a history of scouting in the parish.
Cecil loved Chiswick and devoted a lot of his time and energy to the community. He was a well liked man who did not seek the lime-light or any thanks for his good work. According to a former scout he was ‘strict but great fun to be with’. Another scout wrote for Cecil’s obituary ‘He was a truly good man’.
Cecil spent his last days in the Star & Garter home at Richmond and was survived by his sister Phoebe. Before she died, she ensured that their father’s wonderful music ‘Behind The Lines’ was published for the world to enjoy and which was performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and is available on CD.
Although Cecil and Phoebe were the last of their line, both they and their ancestors have left their footprints behind in music, writing, drawing and selfless devotion and service to their church and country.
~ Valerie A. St. John-Scott