The Gamekeeper and Chauffeur
Thy Will Be Done50
Born on 7th June 189335, George Gibson was the third3 of several children born to parents Ann and her husband John, an agricultural Labourer3. Three weeks later, on 28th June, George was baptized in the village Primitive Methodist Chapel16.
As he grew up in the family home, Chapel Cottages, Cockshutt4, during the difficult economic times of the era20 George would have been accustomed to a life dominated by poverty20 and the struggle to make ends meet on his Father’s meagre wages52. As with so many children, young George would have been used to working whenever he could, thus contributing towards the family finances51. In the “sparsely populated” farming village13, these simple jobs would have ranged from scything and spreading manure, to unloading hay from wagons8, chores he would have continued once he had begun attending the local school1.
With his schooldays behind him, in an are noted for its “quiet woodlands and plantations (which) dot the countryside, providing cover for game birds”42, it seems that George worked on local estates where he eventually found employment as a Gamekeeper4. Poorly paid44, but “recompensed in kind”44 the position was considered “honourable and onerous”44 burdened by numerous duties, including guarding against poachers28 and various administrative tasks34. He would also have maintained, managed and driven shoot transport34, which he seems to have favoured, for shortly afterwards he had moved to Aberayron, where he was employed for four years as chauffeur for a Dr Davies54.
In 1916, with no end in sight to the war, George enlisted53 with the South Wales Borderers. Once his array of organisational and mechanical skills had been identified, he was attached to XVIII Mechanical Transport, Army Service Corps40 for which he would have been paid 6/- per day31. Subsequently Private G Gibson M/27941811 was deployed to the Western Front Theatre of War11.
Frequently regarded as one of the “unsung heroes of the British Army in the Great War”40, the ASC was responsible for maintaining the supply chain of men, food and equipment for the infantry on the front line on an unprecedented scale49. In conditions and on a scope and rate which had never been experienced before, all forms of transport were utilized in their deployment: railways, water transport, horses and motorised vehicles40, often forming a convoy, frequently under enemy attack.
It was during one such incident, during the 1918 Spring Offensive46, that Private George Gibson sustained serious injuries21 whilst driving his motor lorry53. He died on 31st May 191818. Laid to rest in Ligny-St. Flochel British Cemetery, Averdoingt, France18, he was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal11.
Just three months earlier, on a return home on leave, George had married Sarah Ann Evans23 a Domestic Servant12 in the Parish Church of Cilcennin, on Wednesday 13th March 191812. At her request18, his headstone bears the poignant but simple inscription “Thy Will Be Done”50.
We Will Remember Him.
Private George Gibson, M/279418, XVIII Corps Mechanical Transport, Army Service Corps.
Died of wounds in France on 31st May 1918.
Buried at Ligny-St. Flochel British Cemetery, Averdoingt, France. Grave I. C. 15.
… in the quiet of a chill Winter’s night
Your voice comes hushed to me
Full of forgotten memories: you and I
Dreamed great dreams of our future in those days,
Setting our feet on undiscovered ways …25
|56||WW1 A Layman’s Guide, Scott Addington, 2012, Amazon, ISBN: 9 781495 911569|
|55||World War One, Rupert Colley, 2012, William Collins, ISBN: 978 0 00 753911 6|
|54||Wellington Journal and Shrewsbury News, Obituary, 8th June 1918, Shropshire Archives|
|53||Wellington Journal and Shrewsbury News, Obituary and Portrait, 15th June 1918, Shropshire Archives|
Victorian History, Income vs Expenditure in Working Class Victorian England, Dr Bruce Rosen, 19th June 2014, http://vichist.blogspot.com/2014/05/income-vs-expenditure-in-working-class.html
|51||Victorian Children in Victorian Times, Baxton Price, 11 December 2012, http://www.victorianchildren.org|
|50||Thy Will Be Done, The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6 vv. 9-13, New Testament, KJV|
|49||The Royal Army Service Corps: A History of Transport and Supply in the British Army, Sir John Fortescue and Col. RH Beadon, 26th October 2016, Naval & Military Press, ISBN-10: 1843427613, ISBN-13: 978-1843427612|
|48||The Impact of Methodism on the Industrial Revolution in England, Bill Polson, 2006, NEH Seminar, Union Intermediate High School, Broken Arrow, OK|
The Grass is Greener – The Plight of UK Dairy Cows, 22nd April 2016, https://www.ciwf.org.uk/search/?q=the+grass+is+greener
The German Spring Offensive of 1918, CN Trueman, 17th April 2015, The History Learning Site, https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/battles-of-world-war-one/the-german-spring-offensive-of-1918/
The Few That Fed the Many: Loss of Labour, A New Era, www.nfuonline.com/worldwarone
The Edwardian Gamekeeper, Edwardian Promenade, Evangeline Holland, 21st August 2013, http://www.edwardianpromenade.com/occupations/the-edwardian-gamekeeper/
The Derby Scheme, National Registration Act 1915, 19th January 2013, Wordpress, https://derbyscheme.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/national-registration-act-1915/
|42||The County Around Ellesmere is Full of Charm and Interest, H. Clayton Jones, Shropshire Magazine, March 1959, Shropshire Archives|
|41||The Boy’s Summer Book, Descriptive of the Season, Scenery, Rural Life, and Country Amusements, Thomas Miller, 1846, London, Chapman & Hall, 186 Strand|
The Army Service Corps in the First World War, https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-army-service-corps-in-the-first-world-war/
|39||Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919, Naval and Military Press Ltd 2010|
|38||Shropshire’s Sacrifice in the Great War, Neil Evans & Phil Morris, 12th October 2014, Bluprint, ISBN 978 0 9931233 1 3|
|37||Shropshire Pack 1, Shropshire Archives|
|36||Shropshire Marriages, 1860-1900, Archive Ref: P79/A/3/1, pg. 35, Shropshire Archives|
|35||Shropshire Baptisms 1889-1900, Archive Ref: NM6814/1/6, pg. 9, Shropshire Archives|
Shooting Party Etiquette, Game Shooting Guide, https://www.shootinguk.co.uk/shooting/shooting-etiquette
|33||Roll of Honour, Lest We Forget, Shropshire, Cockshutt War Memorial, Martin Edwards 2017|
|32||Roll of Honour, 4th August 1914 - 28th June 1919, The Church of SS Simon & Jude, Cockshutt, Shropshire, SY12 0JH|
|31||Recruitment Poster for the Motor Drivers, Army Service Corps, Ref 13484, Imperial War Museum|
Photograph of the Final Resting Place of Pte. G. Gibson, The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org
|29||Perhaps, Vera Brittain, 1916|
My Ancestor was a … Gamekeeper, Michelle Higgs, 26th September 2017, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, https://www.pressreader.com/uk/who-do-you-think-you-are-magazine/20170926/281608125610704
Monthly Weather Reports, June 1893, https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/library/archive-hidden-treasures/monthly-weather-report-1890s
Methodism, Rupert E Davies, 5th July 2018, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Methodism
|25||Lamplight, May 1916, In War Time Poems, 1917, May Wedderburn Cannan, Oxford, BH Blackwell, Broad St.|
|24||I’m A Gamekeeper, Marion Kellow, 5th December 2016, Melrose Books, ISBN: 9781911280729|
|23||GRO Index, England & Wales Marriages 1837-2005, Aberayron, Cardiganshire, Volume 11B, pg 37|
|22||GRO Index England & Wales Births 1837-2006, Ellesmere, Shropshire, England, Vol 6A, pg 710|
|21||Great War Remembrance Service – 6th June 2018, St. Chad’s Church Shrewsbury|
Farming Depression in Late Victorian Box, http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/victorian-farming.html
|19||English Farmworkers and Local Patriotism, 1900-1930, Nicholas Mansfield, 1999-2000, Routledge|
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, https://www.cwgc.org/find
|17||Cockshutt War Memorial, The Churchyard, SS Simon & Jude, Cockshutt, Shropshire, SY12 0JH|
Cockshutt Primitive Methodist Chapel, Shropshire, My Primitive Methodist Ancestors, www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk
|15||Cockshutt C of E Primary School|
Cilcennin War Memorial, www.wwwmp.co.uk
|13||Churchwardens’ Account Book for Cockshutt from 1794 to 1926, Milestones in the History of a North Shropshire Rural Parish, August 1956, Shropshire Magazine, Parish Pack 2, Shropshire Archives|
|12||Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage Given at the General Register Office, 13th March, 1918|
|11||British Army Medal Index Cards 1914-1920, WO/372/8/1721, Series WO3272, National Archives|
Army Service Corps, www.ww1photos.com
|9||Army Service Corps 1902-1918, Michael Young, 2012, Partizan Press, ISBN-10: 1858186382, ISBN-13: 978-1858186382|
|8||A History of the English Agricultural Labourer, 1870-1920, FE Green, 1920, PS King & Son Ltd, Orchard House, Copyright-evidence-date 20070823134915, Openlibrary_edition OL7132216M, Openlibrary_work OL7890258W, Possible Copyright Status: not in copyright|
|7||A Gamekeeping Family in the Great War, David SD Jones, Field Sports Magazine, June/July 2018|
|6||A Gamekeeper’s Notebook, Owen Jones & Marcus Woodward, 1910 (New Ed Edition, 5th September, 2002), Excellent Press, ISBN-10: 1900318164, ISBN-13: 978-1900318167|
A Brand New Beating Generation, Adrian Tierney-Jones, 4th October 2008, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/3352808/A-brand-new-beating-generation.html
|4||1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census, Ellesmere, RG14PN16180 RG78PN1001 RD 351 ED 3 SN44|
|3||1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census, Ellesmere, RG13, Piece No. 2550, Folio 9, Page 10|
|2||1891 England, Wales & Scotland Census, Ellesmere, RG12, Piece No. 2121, Folio 48, Page 16|