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Remembered Today:

2nd Lt. Henry Gates, RE, KIA 18/8/1918


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I'm trying to dig up some info on 2nd Lieutenant Henry Gates of the Royal Engineers who was killed at age 27 in France on Oct. 18, 1918.

I know he was with the 23rd Field Coy., RE, when he died. I'm thinking the war diary might have something on the manner and location of his death (he's buried at the Vaux-Andigny British Cemetery.)

I've found a good deal about him in the London Gazette and Ancestry, but can't seem to find him in the 1911 census. Is it not completely indexed? He would have been living with his parents, John and Anne (Annie) Gates in Wavertree, Liverpool, Lancs., at the time.

I found this tempting piece on Google. In a collection at the library at the University of Liverpool, there are two postcards from a Mr. John Gates of Liverpool to an Indian engineer named R.R.N.F. Mirza, "Attached is letter of Mr. John Gates, Liverpool, to Mr. Mirza regarding the de th in action of Lt. H. Gates in 1918, 15 March 1920." Henry Gates' father John was a joiner/carpenter, so I think this letter may refer to my man. Is there anyway to access this document, short of flying to Liverpool?


I was able to find a photo of his headstone at Vaux-Andigny -- the epitaph simply reads "Our hero."

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You can't fly directly to John Lennon Airport from North Carolina but we'd make you very welcome when you got here!

In the mean time you can contact the University of Liverpool (Archives):

Special Collections & Archives

Sydney Jones Library

The University of Liverpool

PO Box 123

L69 3DA

email: mwatry@liv.ac.uk

tel: (0151) 794 2696

fax: (0151) 794 2681

Mirza was a graduate from the School of Engineering, University of Liverpool and played rugby for the University team.

The Gates family lived in Foxdale Road, Wavertree (it's still there) the 1911 census has not been published for any address in that road yet

The family were living in Woodcroft Road in 1901, a 5 minute walk from Foxdale Road: http://search.ancest...n&ln=Gates&st=g

2nd Lieutenant Henry Gates Royal Engineers is commemorated on the war memorial in St Bridgets Church, Wavertree.


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Henry is living with his parents at 105 Vandyke St, Liverpool

Employed as a Clerk in the Building trade

Try looking under the name "Bridgewater"

It's his elder sisters


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Thanks for the help, everyone! I had forgotten how off the Ancestry transcription spellings can be. And thanks for the lead on the church memorial ... I will be sure to look into that as well as seeing if the university can help me out with a possible scan or photo of the letter.

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Well, going back over my information, I realize I only have the date of his commission (Aug. 5, 1917) from his MIC and not from the London Gazette. I can't seem to find his Gazetteing at all, either through name searches and date searches. Did notices sometimes just not get published?

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Matt, you may be interested to know that Henry's brother, Frank, served in the 10th (Scottish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment.

Private 5087 / 356538. He enlisted on 3rd August 1915 and gave his address as 15 Foxdale Road. He was disembodied on 16th January 1919.

He went to France on 18th November 1915 and qualified for the trio. He gave his father, John, as his next of kin.

He was treated at a casualty clearing station for 'necrosis of the lower jaw' but was back on duty in a week.

He was on leave in Liverpool when he was admitted to hospital (Sefton Park Infirmary - now an Asda Walmart store) with influenza. He was there when Henry was killed, admitted 16.10.18. Struck off strength 18.10.18.

Frank gives his next of kin as his mother, Anne, in November 1918.

His service record is on Ancestry: http://search.ancest...k&ln=Gates&st=g

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  • 5 months later...

Sandie, did you ever manage to get a photo of the memorial?

So I finally contacted the University of Liverpool and they were gracious enough to scan the letter from Lt. Gates' father to Mr. Mirza. It's fantastic -- Mr. John Gates quotes the entire letter written to him by his son's commanding officer, Maj. W.C. Smith, 23rd Field Coy., RE:

"I am very sorry to have to write and tell you of the death of your son, II Lt. H. Gates, he was killed whilst out reconnoiting during an attack on the afternoon of Oct. 18, 1818, a shell landing near him, badly wounding him in the thigh. His men did what they could for him but he died almost immediately.

He was buried by our Padre this morning in a small British Military Cemetery at Vaux-Andigny, a small village some miles south of Le Cateau. We are having the best cross we can make put upon his grave, which will be looked after carefully as long as we are in a position to do so.

We all feel his loss very greatly and as he was popular both with his brother officers and men. He was one of the best officers we have had in this Company for some time, and his section would have done anything for him, he was always so cheerful and took great interest in his men's welfare, and they all join with me in sending you their most sincere sympathy in your loss.

Yours very Sincerely,

W.C. Smith

Major, R.E"

I also procured a photograph of his grave, which is still at Vaux-Andigny Cemetery:


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Hi Matt,

I've tried several times but without success, I haven't given up though. The church is always locked and there's never any answer when you phone.

I'll drive that way home this week and give it another shot.


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