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Private Horace Gilbert

15304 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment

Son of Mr Alfred & Mrs Bessie Gilbert

Aged 32 years

Died 14th October 1916

Commemorated at Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-au-Bois
Kerbstone on grave C.381Grave IV. A.18.
And in Rushden Cemetery
Grave C.381/382

Born and enlisted at Rushden.
The Rushden Echo Friday 29 October 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier in Action - Private Horace Gilbert as a Bomb Thrower In the Great Advance

Pte Horace GilbertPte Horace Gilbert, 15304, C Company, 7th Northants, son of Mr and Mrs Alfred Gilbert, 15 Victoria-road, Rushden, writes from Flanders to say that he was in the great British advance. He says: "How I got through it God only knows". Pte Gilbert formerly worked at the CWS factory, Rushden.

In a later letter Pte Gilbert says: "We are in the trenches again. We have been in seven days, but it is not so hot as it was before. I hope we shall soon be relived, as we are getting a bit tired of it. I am not with the company at present, as I am a bomb thrower, and it is very risky work. On Wednesday night I and another chap had to go 40 yards in front of our trenches, to listen for one hour for the Germans, and then two more went out, and so on through the night. Talk about tying your nerves up for a start. I am writing this in a little dug-out, and the Germans are in the same field about 100 yards away, but they are a lot nearer in some places, only half that distance where C Company are. Have you heard about any of the Rushden boys that are missing - E George, H George and Clifford Thompson, all of C Company". Pte Gilbert receives the "Rushden Echo" every week.

The Rushden Echo Friday 20 October 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Fatal Accident in France - Another Rushden Man Lost
Private Horace Gilbert - A Former CWS Worker

Unofficial news was received yesterday that Pte Horace Gilbert, - Northants Regt, second son of Mr and Mrs Alfred Gilbert, 15 Victoria-road, Rushden, has been accidentally killed in France. The news is conveyed in a letter from Pte J B Mantle, the deceased soldier's chum, of the same regiment. Pte Mantle states that Private Gilbert was "accidentally killed", but gives no further particulars. However, as Private Gilbert was lately appointed to machine gun work, is it probably that he met his death while on duty in that direction. Up to last night no further news had been received. Pte Horace Gilbert enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war, going up with a batch of companions from the CWS Boot Works, Rushden, at which place he was then employed. The first important and exciting battle in which he took part was the Battle of Loos, and in a letter home shortly after he said that he did not know how he got through it. However, he came through that and many subsequent tight corners without a scratch, and his death by an accident has come as a sudden shock to his relatives and friends. He was a gallant soldier and a cheerful companion, and Pte Mantle says that his friends at the front - and he had many - miss him very much.

The Rushden Echo Friday 27 October 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Victim - Chaplain's Letter of Sympathy To Bereaved Parents
"The Supreme Sacrifice" - Pte Horace Gilbert - Killed While in Training

In our last issue we announced the death in France by an accident of Pte Horace Gilbert, Northants Regt., second son of Mr and Mrs Alfred Gilbert, 15 Victoria-road, Rushden. Mr and Mrs Gilbert have now received several letters of sympathy and appreciation of their son's death, and also fuller particulars. The Rev C A Winder, a Nonconformist chaplain with the 73rd Field Ambulance, writes:-

"I know it I not possible for me to enter fully into a mother's feelings, but as a father myself I understand them sufficiently to sympathise with you from my heart in your terrible bereavement. It is natural to weep, and a parent's tears are sacred, but it gives me comfort to know that, having the great comfort deathless Christian hope, you will you will not 'sorrow as those who have no hope'. Your son, like our Master, made the supreme a sacrifice; for although his death was caused by an accident (in this dangerous work where accidents are unavoidable) he truly gave his life for the cause of liberty and justice as if he had been shot when he was in the trenches a few days before. He had died honourably, and that is better for any of us than to shirk the sacrifice and live on dishonourably. God has an infinitely great purpose regarding every life, and I am quite certain that what we call death cannot thwart the fulfilment of this purpose. No, your boy is not really dead, but lives in another sphere to achieve all he promised, and one day you will share his triumph.

"You will be glad to know your son was laid reverently to rest last Sunday in a cemetery a few miles behind the line. I conducted the service."

The Captain of Pte Gilbert's company has written giving particulars of the young soldier's death. He says that Pte Gilbert was accidentally killed while undergoing training with the Lewis Gun section to which he belonged. He was shot under the arm, the bullet penetrating his left lung, breaking his collar bone and cutting a blood vessel in the neck, bringing on haemorrhage, which was the immediate cause of his death. Everything possible was done for him but his case was absolutely hopeless from the first. The captain added "I am very sorry indeed to lose your son, who had always been a good, reliable and honest soldier, and I can ill afford to lose such good men after having lost so many when the battalion was in action last August."

A letter of sympathy has also been received from Pte Gilbert's pals.

The Rushden Echo Friday 12 October 1917, transcribed by Nicky Bates

In Memoriam

GILBERT - In loving memory of Pte Horace Gilbert, who was accidentally killed, Oct. 14th, 1916, in France.

One year has passed since that sad day,
When one we loved was called away.
God called him home, it was His will,
But in our hearts, he liveth still.

Missed most by those who loved him best. From Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers, 15 Victoria-road, Rushden.

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