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BYKER

Gilbert, C.E., Pte., 1914-18 (1962)
Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

Charles Edward Gilbert, is listed in the 1911 census as one of 17 children of whom only 10 survived. This appears to be inaccurate, as in 1911, eleven of his siblings were alive, all of whom reached adulthood. Of his known siblings he was the fourth born of 6 sons and had 6 elder and 1 younger sisters.

His father Thomas William Gilbert was born January 28th 1853 and baptised, February 19th at St Botolph without Bishopsgate, in London's east end. His family was living at Dove Court, Finsbury, London in 1861 where his father, Edward Gilbert, was a painter (house), by 1871 he had brought his family to the north east, settling at Bakerís Entry, Brewery Bank, Byker, a suburb of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland. Edward Snr and son Edward Jnr were employed as packers, Thomas (17) worked as a turner, his brother Martin (14) as an errand boy.

Thomas William Gilbert was married in the parish of All Saints, Newcastle, June 29th 1875 to Esther Maria Ryles, employed as a servant. Their daughter Margaret Thirza Gilbert was born in 1876, Edward Henry 1877, baptised April 4th, Martin Frederick 1879 and Elizabeth Jane in 1881 whilst they were living at 11, Byker Buildings. Thomas William supported his family employed as a potter. Over the next 10 years Ether gave birth to a further 5 children, Sarah Spoors 1882, Esther Maria, March 23rd 1883, Moses 1886, Dorothy Annie, August 18th 1888, and Thomasina 1890. As number 11 Byker Buildings was no longer large enough for their growing family, as it was above a shop, they had moved by 1891, next door to number 9, Thomasís employment was unchanged, he was now assisted in keeping the family by Edward Henry, employed as a grocer. Their son Charles Edward was born April 7th 1892, Thomas William in 1893, Ethel Maud 1894 who died within a few months and James Henry 1894. Esther Maria Gilbert nee Ryles died in 1902, aged 47 years, in 1911 widower Thomas William, listed in the census in error as married, was living in 4 rooms at 11, Byker Buildings and had taken over for his own account a grocers' shop at 32, Gibson Street, assisted by Dora Annie (22) and Thomasina (20), Moses (24) was a shipyard labourer, Charles Edward (18) and Thomas William (17) were working as general labourers, also in the household was Martin Gilbert, grandson.

At the age of 23 years 4 months, Charles Edward Gilbert enlisted, September 13th 1915 at Alnwick, Northumberland, giving his father, Thomas William Gilbert of 11 Byker Buildings, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as his next of kin. September 29th he was posted to the 29th (Reserve) Battalion (Tyneside Scottish) Northumberland Fusiliers, January 1916 he transferred to the 23rd (Service) Battalion N.F., February 21st 1916 he departed to France with his regiment attached to the 102nd Brigade, 34th Division. After a period of trench familiarisation they made their way to the Somme in preparation for the forthcoming battles.

The opening Battle of Albert due to commence June 29th 1916 was delayed by bad weather until July 1st. At 7.28 a.m. July 1st 1916 two huge mines were detonated in the explosive packed tunnels under the German lines, one to the north, the other to the south of the village of La Boisselle, near Albert. The 23rd together with the 21st and 22nd Battalion was in support of the 20th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, during the battle which raged from July 1st-13th.

Private Gilbert was withdrawn from the front line July 4th 1916 and posted back to the United Kingdom, cause unspecified, however he did not return to service until October 3rd 1916 joining the 3rd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers part of the Tyne Garrison but only for one day before being posted to Hornsea where he joined the 84th Training Reserve, 29th (Reserve) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He remained with the 84th until January 2nd 1917, returning the the 3rd Battalion for only 6 days before posting to the Army Service Corps until March 9th 1917 he posted to the Labour Corps as Private 574089.

Private Gilbert returned to France, possibly after a furlough from June 3rd-17th 1918 and upon his arrival was attached to the 988th Coy Labour Corps consisting of 4 officers and 430 men, which with the 987 Coy formed part of the Agricultural Companies. August 12th 1918 the 988th Coy had two detachments working in the 3rd Army Area and one each in the 1st, 2nd and 4th Army Areas.

Private 574089 Charles Edward Gilbert was wounded, August 29th 1918, a leg wound and index finger right hand. Evacuated back through the lines he was admitted to the 2nd Australian General Hospital at Boulogne, from where he was repatriated to the United Kingdom. His wounds described as severe, he was firstly admitted to the Red Cross Hospital, Finsbury Square, London, then on to the 2nd General Hospital, Manchester. Private Gilbert was transferred to Class Z, February 21st 1919, free to return to civilian life and discharged, Medical Category B, fit to return to employment, February 27 1919. Awards British War Medal and Victory Medal.

All the Gilbert brothers were eligible to serve during WW1, records have been found for Martin Frederick Gilbert Army Service Corps, Moses Ryles Gilbert Royal Artillery and James Henry Gilbert Northumberland Fusiliers, all survived the conflict, their eldest brother Private Edward Henry Gilbert Northumberland Fusiliers was killed in 1917.

Charles Edward Gilbert was married at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1923 to Eliza Ann Francis, born March 19th 1901. In 1939 they were living at 132, Northumberland Road, Newcastle, Charles was employed as a checker for the railway. Their marriage ended in divorce as Eliza married for a second time in 1946 to Fergus Mawhinney. Charles Edward Gilbert died in 1962 aged 70 years, Eliza Ann Mawhinney-Gilbert nee Francis aged 81 years in 1983, both registered at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland.

In Godís safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk