Private Henry Gambles

Private Henry Gambles

Postby Springer6 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:12 pm

Can anyone tell me where the 7th Batt. Border Regiment were on 14-15 Feb 1916 or anything about Pte. Henry Gambles service number 20112 ?My great uncle Henry Gambles enlisted in the Border Regt. in his home town of Wigan Lancs. on 22 March 1915. He was 27 years old , but gave his age as 24 years 187 days. His address was 1 Catherines Terrace, Birkett Bank, Wigan.He went to France on 24 July 1915. He was killed in action on 14th ( Medal card) or 15th ( CWGC ) February 1916.He has no known grave and is on panel 35 of the Menin Gate Memorial Ypres. Belgium.He was awarded the 1915 Star , The Victory Medal and the British (War Service ? ) medal. The family also received the " Death Penny"
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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby kerchi » Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:34 pm

Welcome to the forum.The Border Regiment in the Great War does not have much to go on for this date simply stating that at the beginning of 1916 they:"moved by march and rail to St Omer, where it spent a quiet and peaceful month. It left this rest area again on the 7th February and made its way to Poperinghe, where for some few days it was in divisional reserve. But on the 14th the Battalion was concerned in an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge the enemy in its front and had 21 non-commissioned officers and men killed or died of wounds, while 92 were wounded and 3 men were missing."A member on the forum (harps) has been working on a 7th Battalion project and I think it will be worth asking him about that date......I am sure he won't mind you dropping a pm to him.Chris
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby harps » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:05 pm

Hi Springer 6Here's the diary entry for 14th & 15th Feb 1916:14th - Battn moved off to relieve 8th S. Staffords at 3.45pm. Stopped at Cafe Belge owing to an attack made by enemy in front of Sherwood Foresters on right of 8th S. Staffords.
About 6.30pm Battalion ordered to proceed to Brigade HQ & arrived there about 8pm.
8.30pm A. Coy reinforces Sherwoords (right battalion), B Coy reinforces S. Staffords (left Battalion).
9pm D. Coy moves up to the HQ's of Right Battalion. Arrived 10pm. Situation:-
Enemy [illegible] front line trenches from 29-32 & part of 33. D-Coy to move towards trench 30.15th - 12.30AM D. Coy bombing up to trench 30. A Coy bombing towards trench 31. The men worked well but in [illegible] the enemy cannot be dislodged. He is mentioned in the list of casualties as:"C" Co. No. 7/20112. Pte. Gambles.H Incidentally, two other C company chaps were killed that month according to the diary, Pte J.J. Edwards, KIA 15/02/1916 and Pte. G. McSkimmings also KIA 15/02/1916 (according to CWGC).The 7th were kept in the front line until the 17th when they were relieved by the 1st Gordons. Have you seen Pte Gambles service records on Ancestry? There seems to be a fair bit of info, though a few blank pages and some very faded.
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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby Springer6 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:41 pm

Thanks very much kerchi and harps for the very prompt responses. I have got copies of all the service records on ancestry and have been able to enhance and read most of the info. This has added to my family history knowledge (addresses etc ). I have only just discovered the military career of great uncle Henry. A few years ago I made several trips to the Ypres Salient and stayed several times at Toc-H in Poperhinghe,
following Rose Coombs' excellent routes. I think I will now have to go again and look over the ground of the action and take a new look at the Menin Gate. Has anyone any idea of
the location of this action? Cafe Belge, I am not familiar with. Also Henry was recruited into a Borders service battalion in Wigan Lancs. He was a coal miner. Were the Borders trying to recruit miners for mining/trenching operations ( normally done by the REs , I would have thought), or were they just casting their net more widely.
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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby harps » Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:04 am

A bit more info for you, from Fallen On The Somme - the diary of 2nd Lt HH Linzell who was in the 7th Border Regiment as the Bombing Officer, however he was attached to C Company and mentions them quite regularly. He was on leave so missed this action but he does mention it on his return:16th Feb 1916
Arrived Poperinghe at 2 a.m. Walked to Reninghelst with an officer of the 172nd Tunnelling Company - slept at his camp where we arrived at 4 a.m. Pouring with rain and very high wind. Breakfast at 10 a.m. The adjutant gave me an orderly to carry my kit and at 12 noon set out to find the Battalion Camp. After a three-mile walk we found it at 1.30 p.m. Had dinner with McKeand (the Transport Officer). Changed into my trench clothes and left for the trenches at 4.30 p.m. Battlaion had an awful time and the enemy captured two of the Lincolns and Sherwoods trenches on Monday afternoon. We delievered four counter-attacks but failed to dislodge them. Only six of my bombers left. Morgan is Acting Bomb. Officer and I return to 'C'' company. Quiet night (Trench 37).A note by the Editor, M.A. Argyle is attached to the 17th Feb entry but is relevant to the 15th:"The Bluff" was an important feature of high ground to the north of the Ypres-Comines canal in the south-eastern sector of the Ypres Salient. In one of the sharp local engagements of the winter fighting of 1915-16 it was heavily attacked by the Germans on Feb 14th. They seized several hundred yards of the British front line trenches and held them against fierce counter-attacks. Most of the losses were made good, however, a fortnight later.The histories show that the 7th Border regiment was closely involved on both occasions. In the February attack the Battalion had over 100 casualties, most of them among the bombers, who were fitting bombs with detonators, and among others who were organsied into carrying
parties to take the bombs up to the fighting line. The Bluff engagement was also notable for the introduction of the new steel helmets. It appears that the bombers of the Border Regiment may have been the first men to wear them in action. With regard to Cafe Belge, that might be a combination of my eyes and unclear writing. On the 17th 2nd Lt Linzell wrote: Our Brigade being
relieved by the 76th Brigade (3rd Div.) The Sherwoods relieved last night. Our Battalion relieved tonight at 8 p.m. by the 3rd Gordon Highlanders. Got into buses at Cafe Bridge and conveyed to camp opposite Windmill, Reninghelst where we arrived at 11.30p.m.So it looks like it is Cafe Bridge, which I assume was as far as the buses could take the men when they were heading to the trenches.
It still looks like Cafe Belge in the war diary to me though!
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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby Springer6 » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:18 pm

Thanks very much again harps. I have been to Hill 60, but was entirely ignorant of the battles around The Bluff. It seems that Henry Gambles may have been a bomber and as such may have worn one of the early Brodie helmets. Certainly during the recapture of the Bluff which started on 1 March most of the assault troops were wearing the tin hat.I'm still a bit perplexed as to why Henry joined the Borders in Wigan, when he could more easily have enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers or Manchester Regiment, both of which recruited heavily in Wigan.
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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby kerchi » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:17 am

There was a big recruitment drive, not only in Cumberland or Westmorland but also in many other counties so really it is difficult to say why Henry joined the Borders and not the Lancs Fus or Man Regt. In my research I have noticed that soldiers have joined from much further afield, namely London for instance, so you are not the only one who is a little perplexed as to why someone joined the Borders when they could have easily joined another more local regiment.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby Springer6 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:55 pm

Thanks kerchi,Today I went to the Wigan War memorial. There were several dozen of the Borders listed including Henry Gambles. I would say they were one of the most numerous of the infantry battalions excluding the Lancs Fusiliers and Manchesters. So proof indeed that the Borders must have recruited extensively in Wigan.A visit to the local library "history shop" also turned up an obituary from the local paper (dated 21 March 1916) complete with a photograph ( albeit of quite poor quality) of Henry in Service Dress ( complete with original stiff SD cap and Borders cap badge)
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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby kerchi » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:16 pm

Did you get a copy of the photo? If so any chance of posting a scan of it here so we can see what he looked like?  :)
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Private Henry Gambles

Postby harps » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:43 am

I had a quick look on CWGC and found 67 Border Regiment soldiers listed who had ties with Wigan (ie, parents address was Wigan). Obviously some of those could have been drafted into the Borders later in the war with conscription etc, but they may have recruited heavily.About 20 of those were in the 1st battalion, so could there have been ties between Wigan and the Borders before the outbreak of war? A substantial number were killed in Gallipoli. Incidentally, 7 were in the 7th which doesn't include Harry Gambles as there is no additional info on his page so I'd assume there might be more than 67 who had ties to Wigan (well, at least 1 more anyway).Of course, none of this really helps prove anything but I found it interesting anyway :)As an aside, for compairson, the same search with Lancashire Fusiiers came back with 127 results, 220 from the Manchesters.
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