Beatrice and Cecil GIBBINGS were born in England in 1877 and 1883 respectively. They migrated to Western Australia, with their parents, in 1886 to settle at Northam. When their father died in 1896, the family moved to Geraldton. The siblings individual War Service details are listed below:-
( 1 )- GIBBINGS, Cecil Theodore, CAPT – 28th Battalion AIF.
Cecil always had an interest in the Military, and had completed a number of years service with the 86th and 88th Regiments of W. A. Infantry ( he qualified as a Second Lieutenant in April 1912 ). He started work with the Postal Service at Geraldton in 1898, steadily rising through the ranks, until he requested Leave to enlist for War Service.
Cecil GIBBINGS completed a Medical Examination in Geraldton, prior to arriving for service at Blackboy Hill Camp, WA on 2 June 1915. He was promptly assigned to the 28th Battalion, with the rank of Lieutenant. Local training was minimal, as he embarked Fremantle on 29 June 1915 on the troop transport ship ” Ascanius “, bound for Alexandria, Egypt.
Harsh conditions, including oppressive heat and swirling sands, were predominant during training in Egypt from 22 July 1915. Lieut GIBBINGS embarked from Alexandria, with the 28th Battalion on 4 September 1915, as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces, bound for the Gallipoli Peninsula. He survived the trying Gallipoli Campaign in a physically unscathed condition, however his experiences had caused a lasting emotional impact.
Lieut. GIBBINGS returned to Alexandria on 10 January 1916, having been part of the stealthy evacuation from the Gallipoli Peninsula, engineered by John MONASH. The troops entered into advanced combat training, to prepare them for the vastly different assaults , to be perpetrated on the Western Front. During this period of training, Cecil was promoted to the rank of Captain, whilst in the field at Ismailia.
On 21 March 1916, Cecil and his men disembarked at Marseilles France, before travelling by train to Northern France. Tragically CAPT. GIBBINGS was killed in Action on 28 July 1916, at 32 years of age, on the first day of the Battle of Pozieres. He was honoured for his part in the battle, with a Mention in Despatches, as follows :- ” For gallant conduct and able leadership in the attack on Pozieres Ridge, in which he met his death “.
Sadly, Cecil left behind a widow and 4 small children ( 3 girls and 1 boy ), aged from 3 to 8 years.
Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France – Plot 18, Row R, Grave No. 1
SERVICE MEDALS AWARDED
1914/15 Star – No. 23336
British War Medal – No. 5965
Victory Medal – No. 5941
Memorial Plaque & Scroll – No. 356842
Mention in Despatches
Australian War Memorial Canberra – Panel No. 113
Geraldton War Memorial
Soldier’s Sister, Beatrice May GIBBINGS, enlisted with the Australian Army Nursing Service on 13 December 1914, and her distinguished service in Egypt and the Western Front is detailed below.
( 2 )- GIBBINGS, Beatrice May, Sister – A. A. N. S.
Sister Beatrice GIBBINGS was living with her mother in Charles Street Bunbury, when she enlisted for service in the Great War. She had spent the previous 4 years in Nursing at Government Hospitals in Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie and Geraldton. Her working roles as a Charge Nurse and Night Superintendant, were considered ideal experience, when she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service at Fremantle WA, on 13 December 1914.
Nurse GIBBINGS was initially involved with duties aboard Troop Transport Ships plying between Alexandria, Egypt and Australia, until 2 November 1915. She was then assigned to duty at the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis, Egypt.her work there was of such a high standard, that she was awarded a Mention in Despatches- ” Conspicuous service rendered at 1st Australian General Hospital Heliopolis, Egypt “.
On 12 December 1915, Nurse GIBBINGS was promoted to the rank of Sister, in recognition of her tireless dedication and devotion to duty, always providing high quality care to the sick and injured Soldiers. She remained at her posting in Egypt, until transferred to Marseilles, France , then assigned to duty at the No. 1 Australian General Hospital at Rouen, France. After 7 weeks service at this hospital, she was detached to duty at the No. 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Rouen.
Sister GIBBINGS completed 9 months of continuous service at the Rouen Casualty Clearing Station until 23 February 1917. The Australian Army Nursing Service then chose to transfer her to rejoin the staff at the 1st Australian General Hospital at Rouen. She remained at this posting for almost 2 years, continuing to work long hours in the physically and emotionally demanding environment. On 17 December 1918, Sister GIBBINGS was transferred to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Sutton Veny, England where she spent the final 10 weeks of her Nursing War Service.
On 1 February 1919 a Second Mention in Despatches was awarded to Sister GIBBINGS for ” Valuable Service in France and Flanders “. Concurrently, she was also honoured with the award of a Royal Red Cross ( 2nd Class ) for ” Valuable service in France and Flanders – for continuous and faithful devotion to duty and constancy in good work at the Base and in Casualty Clearing Stations “.
Sister GIBBINGS embarked from Portland, England aboard the ” Euripides ” on 3 March, 1919, disembarking at Fremantle on 20 April 1919. She remained on Nursing Duties at Fremantle until discharged from War Service ( Medically Unfit ), on 8 December, 1919.
Sister Beatrice May GIBBINGS died on 29 January, 1963 at 86 years of age.
SERVICE MEDALS AWARDED
1914/15 Star – No. 2543
British War Medal – No. 22491
Victory Medal – No. 20839
Mention in Despatches x 2
Royal Red Cross ( 2nd Class )