Frederick William Gibbs (b.1879)

Born 17 December 1879 in Stert Street in Abingdon. Not surprisingly, the first born was named after his father. In 1903, Frederick William, married Mary Tudor originally from North Wales. Her father was William Tudor and he was a Farmer. They married in Aston, Birmingham, living at 45 Belmont Row. Frederick is employed as a Chemical Worker, and from the 1901 Census although it is implied they are married, which is confusing as they marry in 1903, possibly the first marriage was a registry wedding and the second a church wedding, or maybe there was a previouse wife, but we can see that Mary came from North Wales, Montgomeryshire. We can see that his employment is in Metal. From the 1911 Census  they have children William b.1902, Henry Walter b.1903, Frederick Wilfred  b.1908, Percy George b.1911. They live at 3, 12 Court, Heaton Street, Birmingham..The job title is 'Metal Trade Worker'.  He states that he has been married for 11 years, so the marriage in 1903 appears to be a second marriage. Frederick died in 1959, aged 80. It is likely that Percy Walter Gibbs had followed his brother Frederick to work at the Delta armements factory. In the marriage of Fredericks son Henry Walter to Elsie Elizabeth Bashford in 1925 Fredericks employment is described as a Stoker.

Ethel Ellen Gibbs.(1881-1941)

In the 1891 and 1901 censuses respectively, Ethel is shown as living with the family of Frederick William Gibbs and his sweet making business, but she married her cousin Fred Harris in 1904. Fred b.1870 is the son of Edward Harris b.1838 and Elizabeth Gibbs b.1839, (Ethels Aunt). In 1905 Ethel has a daughter Hilda Ethel Harris in Woolwich, London, where Fred, worked with the transport (mainly horses) division of the Army Service Corp. There was a son Percy Fred in 1906, who died six months later. Ethel, with Hilda, travelled with Fred to Malta in 1907, and had a son born there, in 1908, called Reginald Fred Harris.

We know that Fred died in 1924, in Romford in Essex, but Ethel went on to marry Alfred Maycock on the 21st December, 1925. Ethel was 44, and Alfred was 49. Alfred's occupation is given as a Painter Journeyman, and both of them resided at 40 Banstock Road. From looking at the London Electoral registers we find Alfred and Ethel Maycock, and Reginald Harris, living at 40, Banstock Road, Hendon, in the years 1932 - 1935, then in 1936 -1939 living at 120 Stag Lane, Edgeware, although in 1938 Ethels daughter Hilda Ethel Harris, is mentioned as living there too. This might indicate that something has gone wrong with Hilda's marriage to Leslie Allen, whom she married in 1926, as she is using her maiden name. Hilda married second husband William Melville Thurston, in Hendon, in 1938.  Ethel died in the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford on 26 August, 1941, but her Will was not put into effect  until April 1946. This is probably caused by the Second World War. Reginald is stated as living at 33 Air Ministery Estate, Carterton, Oxford, and is a Wireless Electrical Mechanic. Hilda is  living at 39, Portland Crescent, Stanmore.

The following is the latest of the ongoing research of Sandra Clifton ,who is related maternally to the Gibbs line. Writing in italics is by Stephen Saffin.

Arthur Albert GIBBS (1882 -1970)

Arthur was born in Oxford. He married Elizabeth J. ROBINSON b.1883 in Oxford in 1912. Arthur worked for his father, Frederick William GIBBS born in Deddington, b.1855, who had a business in Oxford as a manufacturer of confectionary, and  died in 1934. Arthur's mother was Jane GIBBS (nee SMITH), born in Saintbury in 1851, and who died in 1927.

Arthur served as a private in WW1, enlisting in the Ox. and Bucks. Light Infantry on 8 December 1915,  service no. 267209. He was discharged (wounded) on 17 July 1918 and was a holder of the Silver War Badge No. 428519.

Arthur and Elizabeth had a daughter Cynthia Mary GIBBS born 1913 in Abingdon.

On the 17 January 1935, in St. Michaels Church, Oxford, Cynthia married the youngest son, Eric, b.1909, of John Richard Francis TURNER (b.1867 d.1944) and Caroline Elizabeth Calcutt EAST ( b.1869 d.1942). John R.F. TURNER was Clerk to the Oxford Examination Board and played cricket for Oxfordshire Minor Counties (1898-1906). At the time of her marriage to Eric L.C. Turner, Cynthia was living with her father, Arthur Albert Gibbs, at 69, Howard Street, Oxford. Eric who was a school master by profession, was living at 199, Iffley Road, Oxford. He served in the Royal Signals during WW2 (Regimental Number 2373149, also 334362, becoming lieutenant in 1956, and resigned his commision in 1961) 

While living in Kidderminster in 1944, at Flat 12, Ideal Buildings, Mill Street, Cynthia had a daughter born on 6th November 1944 in Kidderminster Hospital, who was named Sandra Mary TURNER. As this was a non-paternal birth, Sandra was adopted and lived in Blackminster Nr. Evesham, with her adoptive parents. Two years later, in December 1946, Cynthia and Eric had a daughter named Lesley Elizabeth Conway TURNER, also born in Kidderminster.

Sandra Mary (TURNER) first married in 1968 and then married  Brian CLIFTON  on 3rd December 1976. They are both researching her family genealogy, and currently following up information concerning, Troop Sergeant Major William NEWMAN, of the 14th Light Dragoons (Duchess of York's Own), who fought in the Peninsula Wars(1808-1814) under Wellington. Sandra is a descendant of William NEWMAN through the maternal line of her great grandmother, Jane GIBBS (nee SMITH) wife of Frederick William Gibbs b.1855.

Sandra was finally reunited with her Sisters and Brother after some 70 years. 

Ernest Gibbs b.1884

He was in the Labour Corps during the 1914-18 war. He joined up 7/Feb/1916, then aged 31 and 11 months. Origonally posted to the Army reserve, later transferred to Nottingham with the Labour Corps. His height was 5ft 1 inches. Found to be slightly deaf. In 1917 he forfeited 7 days pay for not complying with the detachments standing orders (No further details given).

Percy Walter Gibbs (1886-1965)

Percy was born 1 Sept 1886. In the 1911 Census, we can find him overseas in the 1st Regiment Warickshire, Bombay, India. He is a Corporal, and 25 years old, coming from Grandpont, Oxford. Percy, previously had worked at a company in Dartmouth Street, Birmingham, called Delta. They made armements and may have started Percy's interest in the army, and it was whilst working here that he decided to attempt to join the army, in 1904, although initially accepted he was refused active service. He then appears to have returned to Oxford, and reapplied to join the army lying about his age, ensuring he saw active service. He would have initially have been based in Portland, Dorset, until 1905 then sent to Quetta, India (now Pakistan), his regiment moved to to Peshawar, in 1908, although Percy returned home to Netley Hospital (see Postcard of its Pier), near Southampton, during 1908, as the reverse of the Postcard to Mary Wells shows his affection for Laura Wells at the time. Percy would have returned to India, as his regiment bases itself in Bombey (now Mumbai) in 1910. Apparently Football was played  quite seriously in India, in 1911, and the 1st Warickshire Regiment won 1-0 to the North Lancashire Regiment in the Rovers Cup. (Started by British football enthusiasts in Bombay 1891).

He married Laura Wells (b.1888 in Fekenham), in 1913 in his uniform in Kings Norton, Birmingham. They were living at 9 Cotteridge Road, Kings Norton.

However from what we know of Percy, his interests were fishing. Laura made fish hooks for him. One of the reasons he liked Oxford, was because of the fishing and that the rivers there were so accessible.  He eventually was made up to company sergeant major. It is thought he was one of the first people to be called upon for service in the First World War, his regimental number was 23.

The Warwickshire Regiment set off to join the First World War on the French/Belgian border on August 28, 1914. Marching from York to Harrow, taking two trains to Southampton, and boarding the 'Caledonia' between 5.30 and 6.30 in the morning. leaving at 10.30 they arrived in Boulogne by 8.30pm. They did not disembark until 4.30 the following morning. Percy served up to December 1915, so the places he would have been placed at were, the area known as Flanders, being Ypres, and Ploegsteert. He was Posted to the Oxford and Bucks in 1916, then Devon Regiment until the end of the War. The use of Gas was only just being tried out by the Germans, and wasn't considered very effective, as where as it caused gaps to appear in the allied lines, those gaps soon became filled by regrouping battalions. In its early form it was just industrial chlorine, which turned to acid when reacting with water. The British attempts at discharging their own Gas at the Germans in 1916, failed as the wind blew it back on to them. It was only after refining their methods that the weapon became effective. It is thought Percy developed an ulcer through the effects of Gas at this time. he would have been sent to Netley hospital for a second time.

Netley hospital at the time was trying to deal with a new condition which they where learning to deal with. 'Shell shock'' patients that were coming back from the front as fast as men were being sent out.

These patients were initially seen as 'wasters' trying to get out of service, and the condition was treated as a mental problem. They would attempt to use psychology, hypnotherapy, and electric shocks, to cure the patients in order to send them back to the front. One commander of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at Netley stated 'on 16/7/16 when Battn. attacked and held trenches about 40  men  were incapable - would not use rifles, bayonets or even move. This class of man is petrified with fear when he meets a German in the flesh. I cannot be held responsible for holding trenches whilst this stamp of man is in the Batt'n. There are about 100 such men and I'd rather be without them.'   Another commander agreed they were wasters 'miserable physique, lack of intelligence, with a hang dog look, these men are degenerates - a source of danger to their comrades, their battalion and brigade and this will not be lessened by distribution to Warwickshire Battalions.' No doubt Percy would have met with people at Netley, that he had previously served with. It was a strange building having its own train station, Museum with dinosaur bones and Natural History artefacts collected by Doctors installing their hobbies into the building. With a central chapel or church, of which is all that remains of the building today. Most patients would try to get to the local pub. Percy would have been sent to Devonport (Where he and Laura stayed until the end of the war, Laura later giving birth to Winifred 11/08/1917 at Devonport, and later Margery 18/01/1919 also at Devonport) as this was where recruits were sent to be retrained to return to the front.

After the War, Percy and Laura had Ethel Elizabeth 20th March 1920, in Wibtoft Monks Kirby, Ashby Parva, Lutterworth, Leicestershire. Percy is stated as a Pensioner C.S.M 36383 from the 3rd Devonshire Regiment. Later, on 9th May 1923, Eunice Fay was born in Ashby Parva, Lutterworth, Leicestershire. Percy's occupation is a Gardener (Domestic). in 1924, he was in charge of the turnstile to the Queens Dolls House at the Great Exhibition at what is now the Wembly Football Stadium. He had moved to Beacontree, as Audrey was born here in 1928. He later became a Postman after moving to Billericay, Essex. Appointed in October 26 1938, his badge number being A31135. As World War 2 approached, in April 1939, Percy made the decision to move the family back to Oxford, as he thought that the idea of bombing Oxford was less likely to happen. They lodged at Iffley, whilst looking for some where to live.

In older age Percy & Laura moved to Torrington, Devon. Percy died in 1965 in Central Devon. Laura died in 1970 in Redruth, Cornwall.

The Gallery

The photographs in this article can be found in Percy's album