Killed in Action
Regiment: The Kings (Liverpool Regiment)
Battalion: 1st/6th Battalion
Service Number: 99507
Date of Death: 5th May 1918
Age when killed: 18
Cemetery: Loos Memorial (Panel 27 to 30)
Parents: John & Jemma Gamble, Church View, Hoby
Charles Gamble, was born in Gaddesby in the summer of 1899, was the only son of John and Jemima Gamble of Church View, Hoby. John was a farm labourer and his wife was a domestic cleaner. They also had two daughters, Mary, who was older than Charles, and Maria, who was younger.
Charles Gamble’s service records appear to be lost but he is known to have enlisted at Melton Mowbray and to have been posted to the 1/6th Battalion of The Kings Liverpool Regiment. In theory, Army Regulations required men to be 19 years old before they could be posted abroad but this was widely ignored. At only 18 years of age, Charles Gamble was the youngest of the men from Hoby who died in the War.
The 1/6th Battalion (Rifles) formed part of the 165th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division. In February 1918 this Division relieved the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division in the front line at Festubert and Givenchy, to the east of Bethune in Northern France, which had already been much fought over since 1914. The 55th Division fought off a number of enemy raids in March 1918 but these were only a prelude to the full scale assault which the Germans launched against it at Givenchy in April. Its staunch and successful defence of Givenchy is said to have played a key part in blunting the German offensive and the village was later chosen as the site for a memorial to the 55th Division and those who died whilst serving in it.
Although the main German assault on Givenchy was over by the beginning of May, artillery bombardment, which caused most of the casualties in the War, remained a constant danger for those in or near the front line. The War Diary of the 1/6th Battalion notes that it had suffered no casualties on 4th May whilst in the Givenchy sector. On the following day, however, German heavy artillery had been very active and the Battalion’s Moat Farm strong-point, with its dug-outs and tunnels, had been almost demolished and 14 of it’s garrison buried. Of these, four had been recovered and listed as wounded but the other ten were missing.
Charles Gamble, who died on 5th May 1918, will have been amongst the latter since he is one of the more than 20,000 British soldiers with no known grave whose names appear on the Loos Memorial to the Missing.
He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.