John Brooke Johnson Brooke

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John Brooke Johnson Brooke (born John Brooke Johnson, 1823 – 1 December 1868) [1] was a soldier and Rajah Muda, heir to the Raj, of the Kingdom of Sarawak until disinherited in favour of his younger brother, Charles.

Born in South Stoke near Bath, the son of Francis Charles Johnson, a clergyman who had, in 1822, married Emma Frances Brooke, an elder sister of James Brooke. James took 'Johnny' on a long cruise around the Mediterranean in 1837 in his yacht, Royalist. John then joined the British army's 88th Foot as an Ensign in 1839, Lieutenant in 1842, and Captain in 1848.

Brooke, his preferred name by then, left the army in 1848, adopted the surname of Brooke [1], and went to join his uncle in Borneo as Rajah Muda, taking effective charge of the country when James returned to England. He spent some time in Labuan at first as James was establishing himself as its first Governor, but was subsequently based in Kuching. He has been largely ignored in the standard historical accounts of Sarawak, but substantial records survive [2] which show how active he was, and his engagement with pirates in the Battle off Mukah late in 1862 has attracted interest.

Brooke married Anne Grant, a granddaughter of Lord Elgin, at Kilgrastron in Scotland in 1856. They went to live in Kuching where they had two sons, Basil (1857–1860), and John Charles Evelyn Hope (1858–1934), but Anne died shortly after Hope's birth. Brooke's second marriage was to Juliana Caroline Welstead: they had met in England but married in Singapore in 1861; Julia died a year later giving birth to a daughter, Matilda Agnes (1862–1943).

Brooke died in Hounslow in 1868 after a long illness, but was buried in his father's churchyard at his childhood home of Whitelackington.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Johnson Brooke genealogy". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Brooke Trust Digital Archive". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Travels to Brooke Ancestral Homes Part 3: Whitelackington, Somerset | Brooke Heritage Trust". Retrieved 6 August 2017.