12th December 1916

33-year-old Private Thomas Gibbs died on 12th December 1916, serving as a Private with the 169th Company, Army Service Corps.  Born in Golden End, Knowle in 1884, he was baptised at Knowle Parish Church on 4th May 1884. He was the youngest of four children, having an older brother, George (1879-1902) and two older sisters, Louisa (1877-1967) and Fanny (1882-1956).

Sisters, Louisa and Fanny, both went into domestic service before marrying. Fanny went into service in Sparkhill and married George Herbert in 1909. By the age of 13, elder sister Louisa had left the family home and was a live-in servant for local headmaster, Henry Lees and his wife, Sarah. She married plumber James Stephen Wrench in 1900 at Knowle. Tragically, he died of fever in July 1916, serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Mesopotamia.

Their girls’ brother, George, became a gardener, prior to his death at the age of 23. Youngest brother Thomas became a groom by the age of 17, before becoming a domestic chauffeur. His father died in 1909, and Thomas carried on living with his widowed mother, Caroline.

Thomas must have enlisted in the Army soon after the outbreak of war, as he first entered a Theatre of War on 18th January 1915. He died on 12th December 1916 and is buried at Contay British Cemetery in France. He is commemorated locally at Knowle.

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Tracey
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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