RFA West Lancs Bdes
681290 DVR. H. GILLIBRAND. R.F.A.
Herbert Gillibrand was born in Blackburn on Christmas Day 1886 and baptised at Blackburn St Mary’s on 16 January 1887. His father was John William Gillibrand (b. 1867 in Blackburn), a shuttle maker. His mother was Lucy Smith (b. 1866 in Salford), a domestic servant. John William and Lucy were married in July 1886 and they had four children: Herbert was followed by Beatrice (b. 1888), Arthur (b. 1890) and Ernest (b. 1892). In 191, the parents and their four adult children were living at 21 Wesley Street, Blackburn; Arthur worked with his father as a shuttle peg forger and the other siblings were all cotton weavers. Shortly afterwards, John William became a publican and by 1915 they had moved to the Royal Exchange Hotel at 20 Swarbrick Street, though neither the pub nor the street exist any longer.
In 1913, Herbert married Edith Ann Duerden (b. 1886 in Blackburn).
Herbert enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery, probably in 1915. He had previously served with the Territorials and had an original service number 3437 which was later changed to 681290. His age and background suggest that we would expect him to have been posted to 276 Brigade, but CWGC says that he was eventually posted to 3/2nd West Lancs Field Ambulance Brigade which was attached to 57th Division – so he should have been with 286Bde at Armentières. But then the records say he died in Salonika so it’s a mystery how he came to be serving in the Balkans. I presume he died there of illness. He died on 8 July 1917, aged 30.
Service No: 681290
Date of Death: 08/07/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery. 3rd/2nd West Lancs Bde. Field Ambulance
Cemetery/memorial reference: 1087
Cemetery/Memorial: SALONIKA (LEMBET ROAD) MILITARY CEMETERY
Both of Herbert’s brothers also signed up, though with rather different outcomes. Arthur enlisted with the Coldstream Guards on 7 September 1914 and landed with them in France on 22 January 1915. He fought with the Guards Division throughout the War but was wounded in 1918 and discharged as no longer fit for fighting on 11 June 1918. Arthur came home to Blackburn, married in 1921, and died there in 1964.
Ernest also enlisted. On 12 December 1915 he joined the Lancashire Fusiliers but he was found to be suffering from a weak chest and discharged on 3 March 1916. Ernest married in Blackburn in 1924 and died there in 1974.