- Sergeant Albert Gill
- Died Age 36 on 27/07/1916
- Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval
Sergeant Albert Gill was born on 8 September 1879, the son of
Henry and Sophia Gill, at Hospital Street, Birmingham. His parents
having moved into Birmingham from rural Worcestershire, like so
many more of the time, in search of better pay and a higher
standard of living.
On leaving school, Albert joined the Army and spent a brief
period of time in India.
Upon his return to England, and civilian life, Albert was
employed by Messrs Earle Bourne & Co Ltd of Heath Street,
Birmingham. He then joined the GPO in around 1907, and was employed
as a "Town Sorter" at the Head Post Office Birmingham. It was here
that he met his wife and they had two children. Sadly both died in
their early childhood.
At the outbreak of The Great War, as a reservist, Albert was
recalled and sent to France as a Private but very soon promoted to
Albert was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 27 July
The London Gazette, dated 24 October 1916, records the
"For most conspicuous bravery. The enemy made a very strong
counter-attack on the right flank of the battalion, and rushed the
bombing post after killing all the company bombers. Serjeant Gill
at once rallied the remnants of his platoon, none of whom were
skilled bombers, and reorganised his defences, a most difficult and
dangerous task, the trench being very shallow and much damaged.
Soon afterwards the enemy nearly surrounded his men by creeping up
through the thick undergrowth, and commenced sniping at about
twenty yards' range. Although it was almost certain death, Serjeant
Gill stood boldly up in order to direct the fire of his men. He was
killed almost at once, but not before he had shown his men where
the enemy were, and thus enabled them to hold up their advance. By
his supreme devotion to duty and self-sacrifice he saved a very
In August 1916, Gill's widow also received the following letter
from her husbands' Company Commander, Captain Stafford:
"Albert Gill was killed rallying his men under
terrible fire, he was quite calm despite the very trying
circumstances. That day will always remain fixed in my memory as
the one when I lost so many gallant comrades, including all my
Company Officers and Sergeants and a lot of my Men. You should be
justly proud of your husband, in life as in death; he had one of
the finest natures I had ever known. Had he lived he would most
certainly been recommended for Distinguished Conduct."
The letter concludes that Sir Douglas Haig had personally
thanked the Battalion for the fighting over 25/28 July 1916.
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- Lieutenant Douglas Boyd Carpenter
- Died Age 28 on 28/08/1916
- Delville Wood Cemetery
Lieutenant Douglas Boyd Carpenter was the fifth son of the late
William Boyd Carpenter, formerly Bishop of Ripon and his wife,
Annie Maud Carpenter.
He studied Engineering at Leeds University and, on completing
his studies, went to America where he was employed on the Southern
Railway - in charge of construction work at Brunswick, Georgia.
Boyd-Carpenter was still in America when war broke out in 1914.
He returned to England and was commissioned into the Royal
Engineers, training at Chatham and Aldershot.
He deployed to Flanders in January 1916 where he was primarily
employed in construction duties. These involved the supply of
materials to the front-line to enable the erection of
fortifications as the line advanced - as well as road building to
enable further advancement.
On 29 August 1916 while leading a party of men putting up wire
entanglements in Delville Wood, a German attack commenced.
He ordered his men to leave first, in order to give them the
safer position, but was killed himself by shrapnel as he reached
the open ground.
His Commanding Officer wrote :
" It seems such a platitude and so useless to say what it means
to us all, and what a loss it is. In a recent attack his work
was admirable - it was always admirable, he was quite one of the
best Officers I have had. In his quiet hardworking way he gave me
complete confidence, and he was always doing something for his men,
whilst we, his comrades, just know that we have lost another
A non-commissioned officer said of him :
"The men were ready to do anything for him. In fact Lieutenant
Boyd-Carpenter was held in such esteem that, when his services were
requested by the Commanding Officer of another Regiment, his own
Commanding Officer refused to part with him."
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- Private Claude Newberry
- Died Age 27 on 01/08/1916
- Delville Wood Cemetery
Private Claude Newberry was born on 1 January 1889 in Port
Elizabeth, Cape Province, South Africa.
Claude was an international cricketer - a leg break bowler who
made his test debut for South Africa in the 1913 - 1914 series
Newberry took three for 93 in his opening innings - but England
still won by an innings.
He also played in the third, fourth and fifth tests against the
tourists, taking three for 40 in the fourth - his best score of the
Newberry also score 16 with the bat, again his best performance
for his country.
Newberry served with the 3rd Regiment of the South African
Infantry and was killed in action in France on 1 August 1916.