HAMMOND, Gilbert Philip

2nd Lieutenant, Gilbert Philip HAMMOND
Aged 22

2nd Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers
Killed in Action on Wednesday 26th August 1914 (CWGC)
or Thursday 27th August according De Ruvigny
or Saturday 29th August (Newmarket Journal)
Thursday 10th September (Medal Card and Soldiers Died)

An Old Contemptible

He is not named on the Newmarket War Memorial
but has a plaque in St Mary's Church

Born in Newmarket,on 24th November 1891 [Newmarket 3b:505] to Frederick and Florence Amy HAMMOND (née GILBERT), of Cleveland House, Newmarket.
His father Frederick, a Newmarket born banker, died in 1894 aged 56.

1901 census...Gilbert[10] was at West Mill House, Bury St Edmunds with his widowed mother Amy Florence[41] born Cantly, Norfolk, his sister Sybil J [10] born Finningham, and brother Frederick, [6] born Newmarket.

1911 census...Gilbert has not been found in the 1911 census, he may have been with his regiment in Ireland.

The Newmarket Journal of 5th September 1914 reported:
Lieutenant Hammond killed in action.

When the news was first received we announced the Second-Lieutenant Gilbert P. Hammond of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, had bee killed in action.His mother, Mrs Fred Hammond, has since received letters from the front, relating to the circumstances in which the gallant young officer met his death, during the desperate struggle at Le Cateau on August 26th.
Mrs Fred Hammond ( who now lives at Finborough Cottage, Stowmarket) was, when she lived in Newmarket, one of the most popular members of a family which is held in very great respect.....
....Second Lieut. G.P. Hammond was the elder son of the late Mr. Frederick Hammond, formerly a partner in the Newmarket Bank of Messrs Hammond and Co., now taken over by Messrs Barclay and Co., Limited. Lieut. Hammond who was 22 1/2 years of age, was educated at Winchester and entered the K.O.S.B. through the special Reserve Battalion of the regiment, getting his commission in the Regulars in December 1912. He was a stalwart officer of exceeding promise. He was in the battle of Mons, showing remarkable bravery"

Newmarket Journal of 24th October 1914 states that Gilbert was killed at Le Cateau on 29th August. Which ever date for his death is taken he appears to be the first Newmarket casualty of the Great War. "Soldiers Died" agree with the date on his Medal Roll card as 10th September 1914. CWGC records show only 8 King's Own Scottish Borders being killed on 26th, and none on any of the others dates shown. A later report in the Newmarket Journal has the date as 26th August. I do not suppose we will ever know for sure which day he died

De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour states:
HAMMOND, GILBERT PHILIP. 2nd Lieut.,2nd Battn. King's Own Scottish Borders, elder son of the late Frederick Hammond, formerly a partner in the firm of Hammond & Co.,Bankers, of Newmarket, by his wife, Florence Amy (The Cottage, Great Finborough), dau. of the Rev. John Denny Gilbert, Chedgrove Manor, Norfolk; b. Newmarket, co., Cambridge, 24 Nov.1891; educ. Sandroyd, Cobham, Surrey, and Culvers Close, Winchester where he played football for Commoners XV's and was described by the school magazine as one who is "never beaten and knows no fear";gazetted 2nd Lieut, 2nd K.O.S.B. from Special Reserve, 4 Dec.1912; was in Dublin with his regt. during the street fighting in July 1914 and gave evidence at the subsequent enquiry; went to France with the Expeditionary Force the following month, and was killed at the Battle of Le Cateau 27th August 1914, his Coy.being cut off during the retreat; unm; A brother officer wrote; "He showed great bravery on the field at Mons, and saved three women from a house under very heavy shell fire."

Le Cateau was the 1st delay to the German advance during the Retreat from Mons. II Corps, under General Smith-Dorrien, consisted for three infantry and one cavalry division. On the morning of 26 August they were attacked by six German divisions – three infantry and three cavalry. The British front line ran along the road between Le Câteau and Cambrai. During the morning the British regulars were able to hold their own. As at Mons their fast and accurate rifle fire inflicted heavy losses on the advancing Germans, but when two more German divisions joined the battle, II Corps came close to defeat. Towards the end of the day the British line was in danger of being outflanked at both ends, while the German II Corps was approaching from the direction of Cambrai. The threatened envelopment was prevented by the arrival of General Sordet’s French Cavalry Corps on the British left. Overnight II Corps was able to slip away, continuing their retreat south towards Paris and the Marne. The British suffered more casualties at Le Cateau than at any battle since Waterloo – 8,077 men and 38 guns. Despite it being called the Battle of Le Cateau, the main action seems to have taken place just to the west of Caudry. In any event it was a momentous day for the British, had they not delayed the Germans here then the Retreat would have turned into a calamitous affair.As it was the time bought enabled the rest of the Division time to retreat in a more orderly fashion and re group.

7 of the 9 of the 2nd battalion KOSB who fell on 26th are named on the La Ferte sous Jouarre Memorial, only 2 have identified graves. This early in the war this was more likely to be the lack of records rather than un-identified bodies. The CWGC had not begun it's task of recording as many burials as possible and would account for the variations in dates of Gilbert's death. Since the Battle of Cateau was long ended before the September date, this must be discounted.

No known grave - Gilbert is commemorated on the La Ferte sous Jouarre Memorial, France.Ref: M.66
and a copper plaque in St Mary's Church, Newmarket

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details