Sydney Gibbon, Private 2579, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds 18th August 1915 at Gallipoli, Turkey, aged 22
Sydney Gibbon was born in 1893, the son of Martha and George Gibbon, a shoemaker of 33 Hibel Road, Macclesfield. In 1901, 7 year old Sydney is living at this address with his parents and siblings Harold (16), Austin (13) and Mary Ellen (10), and his cousin Mary Ellen Tirperly (8), born Wilmslow. Ten years later the family was at the same address and Sydney was employed as a silk dresser at Messrs Brocklehurst.
In the first quarter of 1914 Sydney married local Councillors daughter Nellie Williamson at Holy Trinity Church, Hurdsfield.
Sydney attested at Macclesfield in August 1914, joining the 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, and following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915, they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir.
At 8am on 10th August the Battalion was ordered to attack Hill 70. This was unsuccessful and the Battalion suffered severe losses. A second unsuccesssful attack took place at 5pm.
The following day at 2.30pm the Brigade moved north, but the 7th Cheshires and 4th Welsh Regiments on the left were under attack so had to pull back. The 7th Cheshires remained in this position in trenches for several days, and Sydney was badly wounded, dying of his wounds on 18th August 1915, aged 22.
His death was announced in the Macclesfield Courier of 4th September 1915, and again the following week:
“In our third edition last Saturday we announced the death, from wounds, of Private S. Gibbon, of Hurdsfield Road, and son-in-law to Councillor W. S. Williamson. Private Gibbon was a member of the Old Church [St Michael’s Church] Men’s Bible Class, which has between 70 and 80 members now on active service. Several of these have been wounded, but Private Gibbon is the first on the class’s roll of honour to have sacrificed his life. The news of his death was received by the members of the class with profound sorrow. At the Old Church on Sunday special hymns were sung, including:
Now the labourer’s task is o’er,
Now the battle day is past,
Now upon the further shore,
Lands the voyager at last;
Father, in Thy gracious keeping,
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.”
Private Sydney Gibbon has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 75-77 of the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Sydney Gibbon, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the words “To the glory of God and in memory of the members of the Parish Church Men’s Bible Class. Private J. Smallwood, Private B. Nunn, Private J. Hanna, Private S. Gibbon, Gunner C. H. Barratt, Private F. Wilson, Corporal F. J. Shaw, Private H. Bradbury, Private W. Savage, Private A. Simpson, Private A. Holt, Lance-Corporal H. J. Travis, Private C. Davenport, M.M., Private W. Webster, Private J. Downes, Private J. N. Dixon, Private C. Bailey, Private H. Bradley.”