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Henry Gibson was born in Bolton in the first quarter of 1891 and baptised at St Peter’s, Bolton-Le-Moors on 29 March that year.  His father was John Richard Gibson (b. 1863 in Bolton), a machine grinder in an iron foundry.  His mother was Maria Ann Riley (b. 1862 in Bolton).  John and Maria were married on New Year’s Day 1889 and they had three children: James (b. 1889), Henry, and Sarah Ellen (b. 1895).  In 1911 the family were living at 31 Prosperous Street, Bolton.  Henry was a cop packer in a spinning mill (a cop is a cone-shaped bobbin onto which spun yarn is wound).

Henry attested he was willing to serve in the Army on 3 December 1915 – by which time the family had moved a few doors down to no. 15 Prosperous Street.  Henry was 5’ 5½” tall and weighed 140lbs.  He was assigned service number 36771.  He was moved to Army Reserve on 3 December 1916 and mobilised on 15 January 1917.  He disembarked in France on 30 May 1917 and on 23 June 1917 he joined 1/5Bn L.N.LAN.R. in the field.  1/5Bn came under orders of 166th Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

Henry’s first action was the opening phase of the Third Battle of Ypres, at Pilkem Ridge on 31 July 1917.  Between 30 July and 4 August, in the Division’s attack in the area of Spree, Pond and Schuler Farms, no fewer than 168 officers and 3384 men were killed, wounded or missing. The Division was withdrawn to Recques for re-fit and training on 7 August.  On 15 September, it returned to almost exactly the same position it had left the previous month, now under orders for the next phase of the offensive.  This was the Battle of Menin Road Ridge (20-23 September).  Divisional casualties in this action were 127 officers and 2603 men, incurred in the heavy but successful fight for Gallipoli, Schuler Farm and the Hanebeek. Relieved by 39th Division, the 55th moved out of the line from 22/3 September and proceeded to a very different area, south of Cambrai.  Henry Gibson was killed in action on 21 September.  He was 26 years old.  (CWGC incorrectly records his Bn as 1/4).

Rank:  Private
Service No:  36771
Date of Death:  21/09/1917
Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Panel Reference:  Panel 102 to 104.
Memorial:  TYNE COT MEMORIAL

26 other officers and men from 1/5Bn were killed on 20-21 September.  Only four bodies were recovered for burial, all the others are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial wall.

201626 PTE G BRANDWOOD
241084 SJT R CURTIS
240814 PTE FRED DUNN
241410 LCPL JOHN ECCLES
241411 PTE JOHN GREENHALGH FISHWICK
16915 PTE JOHN RICHARD HAYES
240345 CPL WILLIAM HOOLE
240272 PTE JOSEPH HOUGHTON
240041 SJT G H HOWARTH M.M.
36926 PTE RICHARD WALTER JOHNSON
240159 PTE JOHN KAVENY
290324 PTE ROBERT LAMB
36971 PTE PEERS LEVER
240276 PTE WILLIAM MARSH
240224 PTE JOHN McMANUS
2nd LT GEORGE HENRY MEWHA
242529 LCPL RUPERT MONKS
260003 SJT JOHN NOTTLE
241589 PTE JOHN PILKINGTON
240961 LCPL THOMAS ROBERTS
241818 LCPL R V SEDDON
241119 PTE ALBERT SMITH
13314 LCPL RICHARD SMITH
260022 PTE WILLIAM HENRY SMITH
260125 PTE JAMES WILLIAM UNDERWOOD
243757 PTE JOSIAH THOMAS WEARNE

Bill Brierley

Bill Brierley

Before taking early retirement in 2007 and returning to his native Lancashire in 2009, Bill Brierley was head of the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth.Bill has researched his own family history and has developed a further interest in World War 1 especially as it impacted on the villages of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge, where his family originates from.Bill has also displayed his work at Lostock Hall library and contributed to other displays at Leyland Library and South Ribble Museum.
Bill Brierley

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