Walter Henry Gill and the Gill family

A belated memorial

By Tess Gill & Diana Parrott

No memorial

Walter Henry Gill was killed in action 23 Sep 1918 and as far as can be ascertained there is no memorial in Britain with Walter's name on it and his family has requested this page to serve as a memorial to his sacrifice.

The Gill family and its association with Harpenden

Walter's family came to Harpenden sometime between 1897 and 1900 for the 1901 census tells us that he and his brother Stanley were both born in London and Stanley was 4 but his one year old sister, Beatrice, was born in Harpenden. 

Their father Henry John sr came from Maldon in Essex, born 14th April 1866 and their mother, Rose (formerly Groome) was from Gaddesden Row, born 17 November 1873.  

Photo:Cottages behind the Silver Cup 2018

Cottages behind the Silver Cup 2018



In 1901 the family were living in Leyton Road (somewhere behind the Silver Cup) but Henry John was not with them (presumably on active service - see below).



Move to Cravells Road

Photo:Cravells Road 1900s; 58 on the right just below the sign for Saunder's yard

Cravells Road 1900s; 58 on the right just below the sign for Saunder's yard

LHS no 283

Photo:58 Cravells Road next to the entrance to Tyler's yard (Saunder's in 1900) 2018

58 Cravells Road next to the entrance to Tyler's yard (Saunder's in 1900) 2018



By the 1911 census there were four more children - Henry John jr, Ethel, Leslie and Olive, Henry John sr was with them and they were now in Cravells Road at what became number 58.

According to the electoral registers Henry John sn (Harry) was living in Cravells Road until at least 1915.


Rose and her son Leslie both died in 1914 (both buried in St Nicholas churchyard in June, twelve days apart); the family was dispersed and Henry John sr is not recorded in later Harpenden Kelly's directories nor the electoral registers so he may have left soon after 1915. 

Army Service

There was soldiering in the family for Henry John sn was a Farrier Sergeant in the Boer War (Imperial Yeomanry 42nd company 12th battalion no 5807) and then WW1 (Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery 89954 ). He survived and returned to London. He died 27 March 1951 at Clanfield in Hampshire.

Henry John's eldest son WALTER HENRY GILL, born 1895, served in WWI as a Private in the 8th battalion Leicestershire Regiment (33043) He was killed on the 23 Sep 1918 and his grave is in Terlincthun Cemetery, Wimille, France ref. XVII. E.2.

His second son, Stanley  (who made the news when he went missing aged 12!) 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Walter Henry Gill and the Gill family' page

Luton Times and Advertiser 3 September 1909

also served in WWI as an Acting Staff Sergeant in the Royal Army Service Corps M/31326. 

He survived the war and obviously found his niche as a motor cyclist. 

Photo:Stanley the motorcyclist 1920

Stanley the motorcyclist 1920

This page was added by Diana Parrott on 31/07/2018.

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