Rupert Brooke was one of three brothers. His older brother, Richard, sometimes referred to as ‘Dick’, was born in 1881. Rupert’s mother gave birth to a daughter but he was never to meet her, as she died in infancy. Rupert was born on 3 August 1887. His younger brother, Alfred, or ‘Podge’ to his family, was born in 1891.
The range in their ages was possibly reflected in their interests and their relationships. Rupert and Alfred were close but Rupert seemed to look up to Richard. On Rupert’s first day at Hillbrow, Richard had to help him across the road. Inevitably, Richard was the first to leave home. When he was older, Rupert met up with Richard in London whenever he could. Rupert was also close to Alfred though and went on holiday with him.
On 13 January 1907, Richard, who had been working for a firm of engineers, died of pneumonia. Rupert, who was due to return to Cambridge, must have found this hard. He offered to stay in Rugby and help his parents but they insisted he return to his studies.
World War One was particularly cruel to Mary Ruth Brooke, who lost both of her remaining sons. Rupert died of blood poisoning on 23 April 1915, while serving in the Royal Naval division. Alfred Brooke served as a lieutenant in the Post Office Rifles and died in France on 14 June 1915.