Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium

Last weekend I visited the Menin Gate in Ypres to attend the very moving daily Act of Remembrance at the Memorial. At 8pm every evening The Last Post, the traditional final salute to the fallen, is played by buglers in honour of the memory of the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War. At around 7.30pm the traffic under the Gate was stopped and shortly afterwards members of the local Fire Brigade and Fire Brigade Buglers marched from the market square along Menenstraat to the Gate for the ceremony whilst members of the public gathered beneath the Memorial.

The Menin Gate designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer on 24th July 1927. The Memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. Amongst those commemorated are the following men from Broadway:

Private George Barnett, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment who was killed in action, aged 28, on 9th July 1915.

Private William Harold Gabb, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards who was fatally wounded in action, aged 34, on 7th November 1914.

Captain Archibald Robert Hewitt DSO, 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment who was killed in action, aged 32, on 25th April 1915.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers
August 2017

 

 

 

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Broadway Men Commemorated on the Evesham War Memorial

The Evesham War Memorial on the slopes of Abbey Park between the River Avon and the Bell Tower, was unveiled and dedicated by the Vicar of Evesham at 3pm on Sunday 7th August 1921 following a parade of 500 ex-servicemen along the High Street to the park. Present at the ceremony was: The Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, The Right Hon. The Earl of Coventry PC; The High Steward of Evesham, Commander B.M. Eyres Monsell RN, MP; Mrs Haynes-Rudge; The Lord Mayor, various town officials and over 5,000 people.

The war memorial, on a site given by the Rudge family (who once owned a large portion of the abbey estate) was designed by Mr H.E. Dicks. It is built of Cotswold stone with sculpture (a bronze figure of a soldier) by Henry Poole RA. The memorial has the date 1920 as the date of the end of the war inscribed on it. This is because the Worcestershire Regiment were sent out to Russia after the armistice where peace was not declared until 1920. The memorial was cleaned and refurbished by the Town Council with the help of the War Memorials Trust during the summer of 2014.

Amongst the men and women of both world wars commemorated on the memorial is Private 5767 William Harold Gabb who was the first soldier born in Broadway, Worcestershire, to die in the First World War. William, born in 1880, served with the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards and died on 7th November 1914 on the Western Front. William is also commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Private 19218 Richard Keyte Handy is also commemorated on the memorial. Richard was born in Broadway in 1883 and attended Broadway First School. He moved to Evesham, where he worked as a builder’s labourer, after his marriage to Sarah Ann Hartwell in 1905. Richard served with the Worcestershire Regiment and was posted to Gallipoli where he died on 4th November 1915. Richard is also commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers (ISBN 978-0-9929891-0-1)
Raising money for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pte 5767 William H. Gabb 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards (1880 – 1914)

Pte. William Harold Gabb was the first soldier born in Broadway, Worcestershire, to die in the First World War. William, born in 1880, was the son of William Thomas Gabb, a domestic servant, and Jane Gabb (nee Cole). After leaving school William worked at John Morris’s bakery in the village before joining the police force. William was stationed at Cheltenham and in the Forest of Dean and in 1908 he married Ellen Eliza Ottley-King in Southwark, London. William left the police to join the Coldstream Guards and completed 3 year’s service before transferring to the reserve in 1911.

At the time of the 1911 census, William, his wife, Ellen and eldest daughter Ellen were living at 61 Pages Walk, Bermondsey, London and William was working as a railway policeman.

Shortly afterwards, William and family emigrated to Canada where on the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 William was recalled to serve with he Coldstream Guards. His wife Ellen and their two children returned to England in October 1914. William was posted with the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards to the Western Front from 11th Sepetember 1914 and in October wrote home from the trenches near Ypres:

“I am still all right. Sometimes we are out fighting three or four days at a time, but we are doing some very good work, beating them back every time. We have lost a lot of men. I hope I may have the same luck that I have been having. General French gives this battalion a good name: he says it is one of the best fighting battalions in the army. It is getting cold here, especially at night. Sometimes we get a lot of rain, but we have to stick it. Let us hope it will soon be over. You need not send any fags, as we get a good supply, but a newspaper comes very acceptable.”

On 7th November 1914, Pte. William Gabb was fatally wounded in action during the First Battle of Ypres. William is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, panel 11. William was awarded the British Medal, Victory Medal and the 1914 Star.

William’s widow, Ellen married Bertie Brinkley (who served with the Yorkshire Regiment during the First World War) in Hammersmith, London, on 14th January 1916 and they moved to 88c Guiness Buildings, Hammersmith. Ellen died on 18th October 1941 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.