GATES, George Albert

No.22317, Private George Albert GATES
Aged 24

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday, 9th April 1917

George Gates was born in 1893 in Stetchworth (Newmarket Q1-1893 3B:499), son of George William and Elizabeth GATES (née WARREN).

1901 census...Aged 8, he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his father George GATES [39] a butcher journeyman, born in Waltham Abbey; his mother Elizabeth [41] born in Halstead; brother Cecil [13] born in Nayland, brother Edward [9] born in Stetchworth, sister Beatrice [6] and brothers Archibald [5], Reginald [3] and Victor [9 months] all born in Stetchworth.

1911 census...Aged 18, a game keeper, he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his parents, and brothers Archibald (a butcher), Victor, Reginald and Richard [8] born in Stetchworth. One of the 10 children had died, Constance, born and died in 1889.

His elder brother Cecil GATES DCM was killed in Belgium in 1915. see here

His eldest brother, Charles William was a regular in the Royal Navy, served through WW1 and was killed in an accident aboard HM Submarine Utmost in 1940 see here

He enlisted in Cambridge.
The 11th Suffolks were formed from a camp set up in Cambridge early in the war when the depot at Bury St Edmunds could not cope with the number of volunteers. This extra recruiting camp gathered in the men from the Fenlands and for a while was unofficially known as the "Cambridgeshires".

The 11th Battalion moved into the Roclincourt area in February 1917, spending their time carrying and raiding in preparation for the Arras offensive. This saw them assemble half a mile south east of Roclincourt on April 8th. At 5:30 am on the 9th the guns began and the 600 strong battalion advanced. They were checked but not delayed by machine gun fire and reached their first objective within the allotted time, "A" Coy reporting the taking of Black Line without loss.
Just after 8 am battalion HQ moved forward to the German 2nd line, setting up in a dug out. 5 runners and the Orderly Sgt even captured 20 Germans who seemed disinclined to fight. They set to work consolidating the position and after dusk set off to assist the 27th Northumberland Fusiliers, but found the counter attack had been easily beaten off. They returned to their original positions where the remaining companies joined them as the weather deteriorated and snow began to fall.

The battalion had 24 killed that day.

The Bury Free Press of 19th May 1917 reported:-

With deep sympathy for the bereaved relatives we have this week to record the death of Prvt.G.A.Gates, 11th Batt. Suffolk Regiment (attached T.M.B.), who was killed in action on April 9th. He had been serving with his regiment in France ten months. The deceased brave soldier was the fourth son of Mrs.Gates and the late Mr. G.Gates of Stetchworth, and brother of the late Sergt-Major C.A.Gates, DCM and Cross of St.George, and was thus the second son to lay down his life for his country.
Deceased joined the colours in October, 1915, prior to doing so he was a keeper on the Wytham Abbey Estate, Oxford. He was only 24 years of age.

originally buried here

photo; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

George Gates is buried in Roclincourt Valley Cemetery - grave 4:A:10

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