TOPIC: Gibbs of the Worcestershire Regt. & Prince of Wales Light Horse
Gibbs of the Worcestershire Regt. & Prince of Wales Light Horse 6 months 3 weeks ago #65874
Herbert Thomas Gibbs
Private, 2nd (Volunteer Battalion), Worcestershire Regiment
Trooper, Prince of Wales Light Horse.
- Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps Cape Colony and Orange Free State to 33716 Pte. H. Gibbs, P.of W. Light Horse
- King's South Africa Medal with clasps SA 1901 & SA 1902 to 33716 Pte. H.T. Gibbs, P.O.W.L.H.
Gibbs was born circa 1878 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. the son of John and Charlotte Ann Gibbs. Mr Gibbs senior was a Carpenter and Wheelwright by trade and the family were resident at the "Back of Worcester Street" at the time of the 1881 census. Herbert, aged 2, had many siblings and was joined by sister Anne Elizabeth, aged 9, and brothers John Henry, aged 8, Joseph William, aged 5 and Charles Joubert who was not yet a year old.
Ten years on at the time of the 1891 census, the family was still resident at the same place but had grown substantially in number being joined by (Charles) Joubert Gibbs (10), Kate (, Gilbert (6) and baby Margaret aged 1 month.
On 10 January 1900 he completed attestation forms for service with the Worcestershire Regiment at Bromsgrove. A Labourer by occupation, he was 21 years old and single with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and dark hair. Physically he was 5 feet 4 inches in height and weighed 127 pounds. Having been declared Fit by the Doctor, Gibbs was assigned no. 3121 and the rank of Private with the 2nd Battalion (Volunteer Service Battalion)
The Boer War was raging in far-off South Africa and this was where Gibbs and his regiment were destined, sailing on the Tintagel Castle and arriving at the Cape on 21 April 1900. Along with the 2nd Bedfordshire, 1st Royal Irish Regiment, and 2nd Wiltshire, they formed the 12th Brigade under Major General Clements. The brigade went to the Colesberg - Naauwpoort district on arriving in the Cape Colony, and after General French and the bulk of his mounted troops were taken to Modder River for the Kimberley and Bloemfontein advances, General Clements was barely able to hold his own in the advanced and extended positions he fell heir to.
Possibly the most severe action the 2nd Worcesters’ took part in was Clements' reverse at Nooitgedacht on 13th December 1900. Clements was out with only a part of his force, and the Boers had been able to gather a very large body. The words of the despatch read: "General Clements' force, which had encamped immediately south of Nooitgedacht Pass (in the Magaliesberg Mountains, NW of Pretoria), was attacked before daylight on 13th December 1900 by the combined forces of Delarey and Beyers. The loss of the outpost rendered the camp untenable, and though the Boers suffered heavy loss in pressing home their attack, General Clements found himself obliged to fall back on Commando Nek".
On 12th February 1901 he was heavily attacked, and on that day the Worcesters lost Colonel Coningham and 15 men of the battalion killed, and 3 officers and 30 men wounded. On the 15th the fighting was again severe, the Worcesters losing 2 killed, 2 wounded, and 14 prisoners. In the operations for the surrounding of Prinsloo the battalion took part, but had only very slight loss.
Gibbs, meanwhile, took leave of his regiment, transferring to the Prince of Wales Light Horse at Cape Town on 27 April 1901. The POWLH was a Colonial Unit raised at Cape Town who were placed under General Bethune, and had assembled at Naauwpoort where they were in the chase after De Wet who had entered the Cape Colony. When De Wet moved west from the Colesberg district, Bethune's force also crossed the De Aar line, and the pursuit was continued through Britstown, and afterwards in a northerly direction to the Hopetown district. In this pursuit all De Wet's waggons, his guns, and most of his ammunition were taken. The hard riding involved a terrible strain on the pursuing columns, horses falling daily by the score. The newly raised and newly arrived troops naturally felt the strain very severely, but all stuck to their work well.
The despatch of 8th May mentioned that Colonel Bethune's brigade "left Orange River on 1st March, and two days later attacked and dispersed a body of about 1000 Boers at Open Baar. The brigade moved north-east, and reached the Modder River, near Abraham's Kraal, on the 8th. On this date the Boers attacked an empty convoy returning from Colonel Bethune's column to Bloemfontein. The escort held its own, and being reinforced by a detachment of the Prince of Wales's Light Horse, drove off the enemy".
Colonel Bethune's Brigade now moved to the northeast of the Orange River Colony, where, under the general direction of Major General Elliot, they and numerous other columns took part in many operations. The despatch of 8th July shows the Prince of Wales's Light Horse to have been 500 strong shortly before that date. The corps was afterwards taken to Cape Colony, where they had a good deal of skirmishing, and on 14th November suffered casualties near Brande Kraal and Vogelfontein, including Captain E T Chittinden wounded.
Gibbs was discharged at Cape Town on 16 January 1902 on the disbandment of the regiment. He was allowed to claim service of 265 days and was given a conduct rating of Good. His discharge address was provided as Highfield Road, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. He was paid 53 pounds 3 shillings and 8 pence.
He was awarded both the Q.S.A. and K.S.A. to the Prince of Wales Light Horse. (Quite unusual for Colonial troops to receive both.) It would appear that he decided to stay on in South Africa later marrying Jean Woodhouse (born Adie), a 33-year-old Scottish widow living in Troyeville, Johannesburg on 31 March 1913. The marriage took place in the Magistrate’s Court – Gibbs was a 43 year old bachelor and a Miner with the Nigel Gold Mine in the district of Heidelberg.
His son, from whom his medals were acquired, recalls that his father was an "agitator" during the Mining Revolt on the Rand in 1922. He was allegedly one of the Strike Committee but I still need to verify this. He was fired from the Chamber of Mines as a direct outcome of his strike activities and the family endured hardship for a period of 12 months before he was allowed to reapply for a position on the mines. The bosses had effectively, blackballed him.
He died, perhaps fittingly, in a mining accident at the Sub Nigel Gold Mine on 13 December 1929, the year of the Wall Street crash. He was 51 years 4 months old and a Shaft Timberman at the time of his death.
The following user(s) said Thank You: QSAMIKE
Gibbs of the Worcestershire Regt. & Prince of Wales Light Horse 6 months 3 weeks ago #65875
Thank You Rory..... More on the 2nd Worcester's for me...….
Here I hope is something for you...…
Lieut.-Colonel Hugh De Berdt Hovell
He served with the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment throughout the South African War of 1899-1902, being mentioned in despatches and awarded an immediate D.S.O. for gallantry.
At the battle of Sligersfontein, 12th February, 1900, he took command and throughout the 24 hours he led the singing to keep the men cheerful. The song was " Oh ! Lucky Jim." During the South African war he had the heavy field glasses issued to companies replaced at his own expense by Zeiss binoculars, and bought for the scouts the Zeiss monocular.
Military Historical Society
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