GIBSON, Francis William
on the scroll as Frederick

No.9777, Sergeant, Francis William GIBSON
Aged 27

3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
Killed in Action on/since 12th March 1915

Francis William Gibson was born in Sleaford (1st qtr 1888 Sleaford 7a:455), son of Rev. Robert and Frances Anne GIBSON (née BROWN). Baptised in Sleaford on 14th March 1888.

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at the Grammar School, 40 Northgate, New Sleaford, with his father Robert GIBSON [44] head master/Clerk in Holy Orders, born Scotland; his mother Frances A [38] born Petworth Sussex; sisters Edith K. [13], Elizabeth E. E. [11], and Irene [7]; brothers Robert E. Y. [9] and David G. [5]. All the children were born in Sleaford.
1901 census...Aged 13, he was at The Rectory, Little Welnetham with his parents; sisters Edith M. and Irene; brothers Robert and David.

1911 census...Aged 23,he was a Private in the 3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment in barracks at Dover Castle. His parents were still at The Rectory, Little Welnetham with his sisters Edith Mary and Elizabeth Evelyn Emily.

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds.
On 11th March 1915 the battalion was billeted at Locre, and overnight the 3rd Worcesters moved up to Mont Kemmel - Lindenhoek assembly area preparatory to an assault on Spanbroekmolen on the 12th. This was an important objective as from the spur of high ground there the Germans overlooked the British positions for some miles. The attack was scheduled to start at 8:40 by 2 companies each of the 3rd Worcesters and 1st Wiltshires with Royal Engineers. Owing to thick fog the attack was delayed until the fog lifted at around 1 pm. The artillery opened up with some registering shots at 2:30, thereby losing the element of surprise. The barrage that followed was supposed to cut the wire and destroy the enemy front line trenches, which it failed to accomplish. Very heavy machine gun fire from positions that had not been affected by the barrage caused the attack to fail. A few men wading through the mud did reach the enemy trenches but failed to make any more progress. Some were even killed by our own artillery. The weather conditions were not good for observation and aircraft cover was not possible.
The losses were severe. The two attacking companies were almost annihilated. The casualties of the Battalion were nearly 180, including nine officers killed and 38 other ranks. Wounded, 99. Missing 32.

The Mill before it was destroyed in 1914 (photo - Westhoekverbeeldt)

Francis Gibson is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres panel 34

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