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Gilbert Ernest Gough, Age 18

Private, 31083, 8th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment.

south lancashire regiment cap badge
South Lancashire Regiment Cap Badge.

Ernest was the son of Thomas and Lavinia Gough of 4, Lightmoor. He also had two brothers and two sisters, one of his brothers, Cecil, was serving with the Gordon Highlanders at the time of Gilbert's enlistment. He had enlisted into the KSLI in June 1915 and later transferred to the South Lancs. Prior to his enlistment he had been a well liked worker at the Sinclair Ironworks at Ketley and had been a regular worshipper at the Lightmoor new connexion Chapel.

Ernest was killed in action on the Somme on October 21st 1916 aged 18, which even in the First War was under the age that soldiers were meant to be to serve in battle - the official age was 19. Ernest like thousands of others during the war must have lied about his age to enlist and as he had done that a year and a quarter earlier and was probably only just 17 when he joined the KSLI. Territorials.

Medical History

Medical History.

From Gilberts Military papers we learn he had his medical four months after his 19th birthday, as stated above this was a fabrication because when he was KIA his age was given as 18. He was 5ft 4in tall and weighed 113 lbs. He had enlisted in Shrewsbury on 21st June 1915. His occupation was given as a moulder’s assistant.

Wall Gough G E 31083

Ernest's body was never recovered and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on Pier and Face 7A & 7B.

Shown below is army form 624 which was signed by Gilbert, Territorial's on enlistment only had to serve within the UK but by signing the form it gave the army permission to send the soldier anywhere that they where needed during the course of the conflict. A territorial soldier did not have to sign but over 99% did.

Form 624

Shown on the next couple of pages are a copy of a letter Gilbert wrote home whilst still training and also transcripts of other letters all just covering mundane items and also trying not to worry his mother but finally a sad letter to his mother after Gilberts death in action


My Dear Mother,
Just a few lines to let you know I am still alive and going on in the pink. Is there anything the matter at home as you have not answered my letter it is not like you to leave it so long.
What sort of weather are you having over there now? If it is anything like it is here you are having it that we are all as brown as sand ... They have stopped the draft going for a month so we have got a bit longer in Swansea.
Well dear Mother, I think I have told you all so I will close with true love from your loving son Gil xxxxx
Remember and kiss May and Fred for me xxxxx

Dear Mother,
Just a few lines to let you know that I got your letter safe on Sunday and I am glad to say I am going on in the pink. You will see by the address that is not there that we are going out, I will write to you as soon as I learn my new address and let you know what it is. Dearest mother do not worry your-self! shall come back safe. I know you will be a bit worried when you know where we are going to, for it is France. I think we are going away on the night. They are trying to give us 8 hours leave if they can.
Well dearest mother I think I have told you all ...
Your loving son Gil.

Private E G Gough 4138
4th Reserve KSLI
APO 5/15
No 4 Depot
BE Force
Rouen France

Dearest Mother Just a few hurried lines to let you know that I am alive and going on in the pink hoping this letter finds you the same. I know you are a little worried but never ?? ? .. I am only at the base yet but I expect I shall be in the firing line next week. I have met a good many chaps that I know out here so I am not by myself. Remember me to Harry and George Davis and give them my address as we are only allowed to write two letters a week so I cannot write to them this week at any rate. I think I have told you all so I will close with true love, From your ever loving and true son Gil xxxxxxx
Remember and kiss May and Fred for me xxx

Baptist Chapel
14 November 1916

Mrs Gough
Dear Friend,
At our meeting tonight I was requested to send you a letter saying how deeply we all sympathise with you in your sad loss. You have indeed made a terrible sacrifice for us all. We pray for you and comfort you in this hour of deep sorrow. And give you to see your son again in the great beyond ....
A Lester

WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

Commonwealth War Graves
Gilbert is commemorated Thiepval Memorial


victory-medal britishwar-medal
Victory Medal British War Medal