GIPP, Alfred

in reality he was George Henry "Alfred" ROLFE

12823, Private, George Henry ROLPH
Aged 27

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 5th February 1916

Alfred Gipp is named on the Memorial and placed in the 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. That was the sum total of my knowledge for several years, then after many fruitless hours I stumbled across the details of his life, thanks solely to the efforts of
click here to go to their website, where George Rolfe is on page 7.

I had actually come very close in that I had noted "It seems more than likely that this was an illegitimate man, using GIPP in civilian life but serving in the Forces under his legal surname, which so far has not been found. However George Henry ROLPH who died 5th Feb 1916 does appear to have been son of Riley GIPP and Annie ROLFE who married Ely Q4-1889 and served as ROLPH. Hopefully something more positive will come to light.

George Henry ROLFE was born in 1889 at Prickwillow (Ely Q1-1889 3B:548) son of Annie ROLFE. His mother married later that year to Riley GIPP (Ely Q4-1889 3B:1227). Riley, apparently his real father is recorded variously as Rile, Riley Ishmael, Raniel Ishmale, even Ranuel.

1891 census...Aged 2, now George Henry GIPP, he was at Palmer's Farm, Prickwillow with his stepfather Riley I GIPP [21] farm labourer, born Mildenhall and his mother Annie [18] born Lakenheath.

1901 census...Aged 12, George Henry GIPP , a farm labourer was at Aldershot Farm, Lakenheath with his parents, sister Maude E [9] and brother Arthur W [7], Claude R [5] and William H [1]. Birthplaces are now Littleport for George and Claude, Lakenheath for his father and William, Mildenhall for his mother and Ely for Maude and Arthur.

1911 census...Aged 22, a farm labourer, he was now at 4 Redmere Terrace, Burnt Fen with his parents, brothers Arthur William a farm labourer, William and Reggie Herbert [2 months] born Littleport; sisters Bertha May [9] and Elsie Hilda [5] both born Lakenheath. His sister Maude was in service at Tower farm, Little Downham.

His father 'Raniel" I. Gipp died in 1911 (Cambridge Q4-1911 3b:513) and his mother re-married, to William J.HALLS (Ely Q1-1913 3b:1018). She appears to have died in 1921

Interestingly, when the family inserted an "In Memoriam" notice for George in the Ely Standard of 1921 the form they used was "ROLPH In loving memory of our dear son Private Alfred Gipp" which shows that, despite all the versions of his name in formal documentation, to his family he was actually Alfred.

From his Army records he apparently enlisted in Ely in September 1914, and was in France/Flanders on 27th July 1915. His sole legatee was his mother, now Mrs Annie Halls. To add to the confusion the Army have him as ROLPH.

His Pensions Record card has him as George Henry Rolph and mother Annie Halls of Burnt Fen (deceased); Father Mr W Halls of Cross Bank, Mildenhall. Mother appears to have died in 1921

The war diary records that the 2nd Suffolks on 5th February 1916 were the Palingbeek area by the canal area having just relieved the 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the trenches and a rare instance of an their rank being named.


George ROLPH is buried in Spoilbank Cemetery, Belgium grave 1:B:25
and also commemorated on the war memorial in Mildenhall

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