1881 - 1918
ALBERT ARTHUR GIBSON was born in the Spring of 1881 at Fanners Green, Great Waltham, the second son of James and Alice Gibson (née Bush). He was baptised in the Parish Church, Great Waltham on the 1st May 1881.
Although James and Alice were born in Great Waltham they were married on the 29th November 1874 at St Pauls Church, Clapham, Surrey where they were living at the time, James working as a Labourer. Alice had been a nurse with her sister, Lucy, a servant working in Westminster.
Their first son George William was born in Croydon in 1876 and by 1881 the family had returned to Lower Fanners Green, where James was now a Bricklayer.
Albert Arthur was their second son. There followed three more children, Ernest and two sisters Emma and Lucy May.
In 1891 the family had moved to Barrack Road with James an Agricultural Labourer and Albert, now 11 years old at school.
The 1901 Census shows Albert living with his uncle, George Bush, in Robinsons Lane, Mitcham, Croydon, working, aged 19 years as a Labourer, General worker.
ALBERT ARTHUR GIBSON
In 1909, Albert married Louisa Margaret Beer in Chelmsford. She was born in Shepherdswell, in Kent. Their first son, James Richard Gibson was born a year later, on the 18th October 1910.
In 1911, the family were living at Littley Green and Albert was employed as a Farm Labourer. Another son, Frederick was born on the 26th February 1912. The family moved to Lower Fanners Green by the time their two daughters were born, Alice Daisy on the 7th June 1914 and Joan Ervin on the 17th June 1917.
On the 25th May 1916 The Military Service Act was extended to include military service to married men and Albert enlisted possibly around 1917 as a Private, Regimental No. 28336, firstly into one of the “Service” Battalions, the 7th, known as the ‘Mobbs’ Own’ then in the 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment.
In January 1918, the Regiment were at Passchendaele taking over the sector from the 2nd Middlesex Regiment. In May the Regiment were in the support trenches in the Berry-au-bac sector and on the 24th they took over the front line trenches in front of Juvincourt with A Company.
On the 27th May there was a heavy enemy bombardment which continued for 4 hours with gas shells falling in the back areas. 4,000 German guns opened fire on a 24-mile-long stretch of the Allied lines, beginning the Third Battle of the Aisne. The Germans advanced 12 miles deep through the French sector of the lines near Chemin des Dames, demolishing four entire French divisions. Four more French and four British divisions fell between the towns of Soissons and Reims, as the Germans reached the Aisne in less than six hours. By the end of the day, Ludendorff’s men had driven a wedge 40 miles wide and 15 miles deep through the Allied lines.
Victory seemed near for the Germans, who had captured over just over 50,000 Allied soldiers and well over 800 guns by 30 May 1918. But after having advanced within 56 km of Paris on 3 June, the German armies were beset by numerous problems, including supply shortages, fatigue, lack of reserves and many casualties along with counter-attacks by and stiff resistance from newly arrived American divisions, who engaged them in the Battles of Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood.
Death and Memorial
On 6 June 1918, following many successful Allied counter-attacks, the German advance halted on the Marne, much as the "Michael" and "Georgette" offensives had in March and April of that year.'
Albert may have been mortally injured during this battle and died from his wounds on the 6th June 1918 aged 38 years.
Albert is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen in France. His headstone is engraved with the words “Peace and Rest”.
Q. II. L5
Albert is also remembered on the War Memorial in Great Waltham.
Louisa, his widow as his next of kin received the total sum of £4.6s.9d on the 9th October 1918 and a second payment on the 4th January 1919 of £1.2s. A further Gratuity payment was made on the 27th November 1919 of £7.
Albert was awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal.
MEDAL CARD ALBERT GIBSON
Louisa never remarried and died on the 18th March1962 in Galleywood. Albert is also remembered on the gravestone.