14101 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Henry Gibbons, known as Harry was born on 24 July 1894 in Great Cornard, the second son of Charles and Annie Gibbons (née Gardiner). In 1901 the family was living at 130 Copenhagen Street, Islington, along with Annie’s mother and his father was employed as a ‘coke porter’. By 1911 his widowed mother had married Ernest Carter, a jobbing gardener and together with Harry and his younger brother George they lived at 1 Walnuttree Lane in Sudbury. Harry was at one time employed as a dying assistant at a local matting factory but prior to enlisting he was a porter with Messrs Cook, which was the largest wholesale clothing trader in England and had premises in St. Paul’s Churchyard, London from 1834.
Harry enlisted at St. Paul’s Churchyard on 31 August 1914 and served with the Norfolk Regiment, first serving in France on 7 October 1915. The battalion formed part of 71st Brigade and on 15 October 1915 it became part of 6th Division.
In June 1916 Harry wrote to a local lad; Ernest Pilgrim from Great Cornard, who was serving in France with the 1st Battalion. Both of them would see action in the Somme sector that summer and both would lose their lives within six weeks of each other.
In September 1916 the battalion saw action during the Battle of the Somme when it was engaged in heavy fighting during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15 – 22 September) near the village of Ginchy. This is where a new weapon, the tank was used for the first time; it had been developed in secrecy and came as a surprise to both the enemy and British troops.
Harry died aged 22 on 15 September 1916 and lies buried in the Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont, Somme, France. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
A Cross of Remembrance was laid by his grave in March 2007
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