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Fred Gibson

 Fred Gibson was born in the third quarter of 1897 in Dalby and his birth registered in the Easingwold area.He was the younger son of John Thomas and Sarah Elizabeth (nee Hepworth) Gibson, who married in the Wakefield area in the last quarter of 1891.

John was a groom gardener (probably working as the sole male servant for a relatively small household) and in 1901 he was living with his wife and four children at Dalby.

1901 Census – resident at Dalby, Dalby cum Skewsby
GIBSON, John T, Head, Married, M, 34, Groom Gardener, Skewsby Yorkshire,
GIBSON, Sarah, Wife, Married, F, 34, , Flockton Yorkshire,
GIBSON, Annie, Daughter, , F, 9, , Skewsby Yorkshire,
GIBSON, Harold, Son, , M, 7, , Dalby Yorkshire,
GIBSON, Maud M, Daughter, , F, 5, , Dalby Yorkshire,
GIBSON, Fred, Son, , M, 3, , Dalby Yorkshire

By 1911, they had moved to Old Malton where John was working as a gardener at The Abbey

1911 census – resident at 16 The Abbey, Old Malton
GIBSON, John Thomas, Head, Married, M, 44, Gardener Domestic, Skewsby Terrington Yorks,
GIBSON, Sarah Elizabeth, Wife, Married 19 years, F, 44, , Flockton Wakefield Yorks,
GIBSON, Harold, Son, Single, M, 17, Grocer Assistant, Dalby Terrington Yorks,
GIBSON, Maud Mary, Daughter, Single, F, 15, Dressmaker, Dalby Terrington Yorks
GIBSON, Fred, Son, Single, M, 13, School, Dalby Terrington Yorks,

Like many of the men from Malton and Old Malton, Fred enlisted in the 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment . This Territorial battalion was raised in August 1914, in Scarborough and was part of the York & Durham Brigade, Northumbrian Division. In 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne and became part of 150th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. They fought on the Somme and at Ypres.    On 29th March 1918 the Germans were advancing towards Amiens. At 7.30 am an order was received by Col. Thomson (whose family paid for the memorial window in St Leonard’s Church, New Malton in memory of all the fallen of the 5th Battalion) stating that he should proceed immediately to the wood 1 mile South of Demuin. The Battalion moved at 8.45 from Louvrechy arriving at about 11.30 am, where Col Thomson reported to BGC 149th Inf Bde. The Battalion took up a position in the wood from the road Northwards and dug themselves in. At about 5.30 pm, the French on the Right retired and the enemy penetrated the copse immediately North of Villers aux Erables and the village itself. 1 Coy of 4th East Yorks under Capt Pollock and 1 Coy of 5th Yorks under Lt Crapper were ordered to take up a position on the East side of the wood. At about 6.00 pm the Right flank gave and Gen Riddell ordered Col Thomson to launch an immediate counter attack. 1 Coy, 4th East Yorks and 1 Coy 5th Yorks were ordered to attack and hold the copse above mentioned. These Coys were formed up and were just about to move to the attack when the troops on Right completely fell back under orders of their G.O.C. [61 Division]. At this stage the enemy was also holding the wood astride the road North East of Villers aux Erables.  The counter attack was immediately cancelled by Col Thomson, who reported the change in the situation to General Riddell and received orders from him to withdraw the troops and also those remaining in the wood and on the East side of it to a point on the Amiens-Roye road, the 50th Div all receiving orders to form up and dig themselves in the North East side of the road.

On the 30th at about 7.00 am orders were received that as the enemy was holding the wood North of Moreuil, Lt Col Thomson must establish a Standing Patrol of 1 Officer and 20 ORs to guard his Right Flank, and that in the event of a withdrawal, the Composite Battalion would take up a position and fight a rearguard action to cover the safe withdrawal by the troops. Owing to his being hit, Lt Col Thomson withdrew to Bde HQ [149] at Hourges and handed over Command to Capt Pollock, 4th East Yorks.

About 8.30 a. m. orders to withdraw were given and the line moved back to the Hourges side of the wood. They then found that a Party of 4th Northumberland Fusiliers were holding on North side of road in old position and moved forward South of the Road, passed through the wood and also re-took the copse North- North West of the V. in Villers. During the afternoon owing to a flanking movement on the Right 150th Battalion forced to withdraw some 600x and the enemy occupied the copse above mentioned.
At 7.00 pm they, in conjunction with the French on Right, counter attacked and re-took the copse and some 70 prisoners, re-establishing the Line as in the morning.  At some point during this fluctuating action Fred Gibson and six others were killedon 30th March 1918. His body was not found and he is commemorated on the Pozieres memorial which relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918..

Fred Gibson’s body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial. He is is also commemorated in Old Malton Cemetery on his father’s tombstone, as well as on the Memorials in Old Malton Church and the Memorial Hall..