Griffith William Teck Brook (1922 - 2017)
Griffith had a choppy start to his school life after his father, a highly educated man who was qualified as both a lawyer and an engineer, joined in the gold rush setting up gold mines for large companies in the gold fields.
In the mid 1930s however, Griffith won a scholarship to Mentone Boys Grammar school. Here he excelled at sport and acquired a huge and sophisticated vocabulary and gained a beautiful writing hand. Somehow, and at a young age, he was introduced to the game of golf, and with his great love of the outdoors already there, golf became his number one sport and passion.
Griffith joined the Australian army in 1942 and was selected for the Officers Training College at Puckapunyal where he was subsequently commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Shortly into his officer training Griffith was out on night patrol on a motorcycle and was thrown off the motorcycle into a ditch fracturing his skull and various other bones. He was unconscious for several days and his mother was receiving telegrams warning her that he was ‘gravely ill’. He ultimately regained consciousness but was frail, had difficulty with speech and suffered from incapacitating migraine headaches. As a result he was considered to be medically unfit and medical discharge was being mooted. He was fortunate enough to be sent to a farm in Warnambool for rehabilitation were he found himself in the company of a group of American soldiers who, as it happened, were acrobats and were skilled at building physical strength. They motivated Griffith to join in their exercise routines and through them he rebuilt sufficient strength to resist medical discharge. For the remainder of his life Griffith felt enormous gratitude to the young American men who had helped put him back on his feet. Griffith had acquired a stutter due to his head injury however and if he were to remain in uniform he realised that he needed to teach himself to speak fluently again, which he did with self-developed exercises, to the extent that throughout his life he was a clear and fluent speaker with a vast vocabulary who revelled in public speaking.
Griffith married and in 1945, shortly after his first daughter was born the British army, which was short of officers in Burma, requested 13 officers from the Australian forces. Griffith applied, was accepted, and within a month had boarded the USS troop ship ‘The Hayes’ for Calcutta where, upon disembarking, he took off his Australian army uniform and donned the uniform of the Scottish regiment The Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) where he served for 20 years. He served in India, the Kyber Pass, Egypt, Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland. During that period he gained the commissions of Captain and later of Major. In the Scottish regiment he made many lifelong friends and took to Scottish dancing with a passion.
Griffith retired from the KOSB in 1958 and trained in the UK and the US with the large American print firm Coates, and in 1960 he returned to Australia with his wife Dorothy and his 3 daughters where he started his own manufacturing business making what were at that time state-of-the-art polyurethane printing rollers.
Griffith joined Legacy once back in Australia and during the 50 years in his role as a legatee he got great joy from ‘his families’ and from watching the children growing up into fine adults. He retired from business in 1982 and, in 1983, having developed a love of clocks, went back to the UK to study horology at the West Dean College in Chichester where he qualified as an Antiquarian Horologist. Once home he opened his own clocks Museum in Hampton where he displayed the clocks that he had lovingly and painstakingly restored.
Throughout these years, both in the British army and upon his return to Australia, Scottish dancing, clocks, and golf were his great passions. He is said to have been the oldest member ever to have still been going to the Royal Melbourne Golf Club at the age of 90 on a regular basis to hit balls.
Griffith passed away peacefully at the age of 95 in July 2017 surrounded by his daughters, still fiercely independent and full of a love for life up until his last few days.