Private Edwin GIBBONS

Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
2nd/7th (Robin Hood) Battalion
Service Number:
Date of Death:
5 July 1917 - Killed in Action
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
II. A. 8.

Personal History:

Edwin was born in November 1890, at Turnditch, Derbyshire, the son of Henry (Coachman) and Elizabeth Gibbons. He had two older brothers, Ernest and John William, and one elder sister, Harriett. (1891 Census RG 12/2741) Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/3226) the two older brothers had left home, which remained in Turnditch.
In 1911 (Census RG 14/21237) Edwin was lodging with the Rowling family at 91 Macclesfield Road, Burbage, Buxton, employed as a "Domestic Groom".

Military History:
According to the SDGW database Edwin enlisted in Buxton. His Medal Index Card gives no indication when he entered the War, usually meaning it was after 31st December 1915, as he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star. However, from his Service Number it seems Edwin enlisted around March/April 1916.

In 1916 the 2/7th Robin Hoods had been sent to Ireland on 26th April 1916, with the rest of the 59th Division, to help suppress the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin. The division return to England in January 1917 and then moved to France, landing at Le Havre on the 27th February. The 2/7th took part in the Battle of 'Third Ypres' and Cambrai. In particular they engaged the enemy on 14th March - 5th April 1917 (German retreat to the Hindenburg Line).

It is not possible to determine the circumstances where and when Edwin was killed as the Battalion was out of the line but working parties were sent up to the front line at night. The Battalion History reads:

"Relief: On the night of June 30th, the Battalion was relieved by the 2/8th Sherwood Foresters and went into Brigade Reserve in Gouzeaucourt Wood. The change from the muddy front to the quiet of an Arcadian life in the wood was appreciated by everyone. Again all the work was done by night, large parties proceeding under charge of the R.E.s to the front line system, digging and improving communication trenches. Work in the morning was thus out of the question, but a short time in the afternoon was devoted to cleaning up, issuing fresh kit, and inspections."

Edwin was clearly very unlucky, being one of three men from the Battalion to lose their life on the 5th July 1917 - possibly from the same action, e.g. shell fire. Private William COOLING died of his wounds, and lies next to Edwin in Metz-en-Couture Cemetery.  Private Albert Frederick BARTLETT was also killed, and is buried two graves from Edwin.

· I am grateful to Martin McNeela for extracts from: "THE ROBIN HOODS" 1/7th, 2/7th, & 3/7th Battns, Sherwood Foresters 1914-1918" 
  - Written by officers of the Battalions. (ISBN: 9781847349927)
· ... and also to "The War Graves Photographic Project" for the photo of Edwin's grave

Link to CWGC Record
Edwin's grave