Frank Malcolm Gill

Rank Captain
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 25-26/05/1915
Age 36
Regiment/Service London Regiment 24th Battalion
Memorial Le Touret Memorial. It is located 8 kms north-east of Bethune, France. It commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave. Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments.

 

Frank was born in Finchley on 15th February 1879. He was the eldest son of Richard Hudswell (1849–1912) and Eliza Gill, nee Goodyear (1846–1931). He had five siblings:  Helen (1874-1906), Emma (b.1875), Frederick (1881-1940), Hugh (1890-1938) and Constance (b.1892).

At the time of the 1881 Census, the family were living at No 2 College Villas, Nether Street, Finchley, and Frank’s father was manager of a type founder (someone who designs and makes metal typefaces for printing), At the time of the 1891 Census, the family with two servants were living at Ridgeway Road, Reigate. At the time of the 1901 Census, the family were still living with two servants in Ridgeway Road. His father was an employer as a type founder, while Frank himself was a traveller for a type founder, probably his father.

Frank was educated at Reigate Grammar School, where his father was a member of the Governing Body. In 1899 he joined the London Rifle Brigade as a private. In 1905 he accepted a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, which later became the 24th Battalion, London Regiment. On 1st April 1908, he became a Lieutenant and he was promoted captain on 26th December 1909.

On 7th March 1906 he was baptised as an adult in St Paul’s Finchley. The baptism register lists his occupation as ‘type-founder’ and his address as Friernhurst, Reigate, his parents’ home. On 19th June 1907, Frank married Evelyn Todd (1880-1964), of Finchley, in St Paul’s. They lived at ‘Bradwell’, Earlswood, Reigate. The couple had one son, Richard Malcolm Gill, who was born in Reigate (1909-1973).

At the time of the 1911 Census, Frank was employed as a traveller for a type founder. On 19th March 1912, his father died at Redhill Station.

Frank died on the last day of the Battle of Festubert (15th–25th May 1915). The circumstances of his death were recorded in The Bond of Sacrifice, a biographical record of officers, who died from the beginning of the war in 1914 until 1916.

“On the outbreak of the war he undertook Imperial service obligations, and went with his Battalion to France. He was killed at Givenchy on the 24th May 1915, and was buried where he fell. Captain F. M. Gill held the respect of all Ranks. He was an excellent leader of men, especially in action, under both shell and rifle fire.

Proof of this was forthcoming when he led the leading company in a successful attack upon a German front-line trench at Givenchy on May 25th. On the right of the position there was a fortified stronghold and in front of this a certain rise in the ground. After capturing the trench, Captain Gill realised that it was imperative for this position to be captured, as a withering fire was coming from that flank. He at once mounted to the top of this hill, revolver in hand, and cried out to the men of his company to rally round him with a view to charging across the top. The company did so, but unable to get more than about twenty yards from the objective (at the rear of the hill) owing to fast sniping and to the number of bombs being thrown by the enemy. The company lost heavily in both killed and wounded, as they lay down to reply by firing "rapid". Captain Gill was picking off bombers and snipers with his revolver as they showed themselves, until he was shot through the shoulder, and compelled to go to the rear where he received another wound in the head, which proved fatal. His remains were respectfully laid to rest in a sheltered spot behind our lines. He laid down his life in carrying out his orders, to the admiration of all who knew or saw him.” http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/Biographical/library/The-Bond-of-Sacrifice-Volume-II/files/assets/basic-html/page201.html

At the time of his death he was senior captain, and commanded "A" company.  His estate was valued at £1,884 17s 6d. His last known residence was Brodwell, Brambletye Park, Redhill, but Evelyn, his widow, was also listed as living at Elm Grange, Finchley, (possibly at the bottom end of Nether Street). She was given a pension of £100 a year and Richard, their son, a compassionate allowance of £18 a year. A gratuity of £250 was awarded to her and £83 6s 8d to him.