GIBBS, William James

No.3/8854, Private, William James GIBBS
Aged 19

1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on or since Saturday, 5th May 1915

William James Gibbs was born in 1896 in Thetford (Thetford Q4-1896 4B:380), son of Frederick and Harriet GIBBS (née SAYER).

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at Nether Lane, Fornham St Martin with his father Frederick GIBBS [31] domestic groom/gardener born Euston; his mother Harriet [28] born East Harling; sisters Benieh Sophia [7] born Bridgham, Eliza [3], Winifred [1] and Florence [10 months], the three born in Fornham St Martin; brother Sydney [5] born in Thetford

1911 census...Aged 14, farm labourer, he was in Fornham St Martin with his parents; brothers Sydney (farm labourer), Charlie [5] and Arthur [2]; sisters Eliza, Winifred, Florence, Violet [7] and Dorothy [1]. All the new siblings were born in Fornham St Martin.

His elder brother Sydney died in Belgium in 3 days later. see here

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds. His brother being an Old Contemptible , being in action in France before 22th November 1914, would indicate that whereas Sydney started in the 2nd Battalion before joining the 1st, William was placed in the 1st to start with, as they never reached France until January 1915. From their numbers they must have enlisted the same day.

The 5th May 1915 the Battalion was under heavy mortar fire. The war diary has:-
May 5th 1915 - Huts BRIELEN. Owing to shelling Battn moved to shelter trenches in fields in rear of huts - they spent the day there. YPRES and environs heavily shelled.

CWGC show 8 killed and just one has an identified grave.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Gibbs is commemorated on the Menin Gate, panel 21

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