William Thomas Gilbourne

Birth: ca Nov 1884, Greasley, Notts.
Father: James GILBOURNE (1849 - 1913)
Mother: Catherine HATTON (1852 - 1938)
Spouse: Unmarried
Death: 26 Jan 1920, Plymouth


William Thomas was the 3rd son of James and Catherine to be killed at war, after James in the Boer war and Walter earlier in the First World War.
A mine labourer before the war, he first joined up at the outbreak of war. He was discharged after 47 days with 8th Service Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers as medically unfit on 30 Oct 1914.  He later enlisted as 205740 with the Royal Garrison Artillery 24 Jun 1916, was called up for service 18 Feb 1918 as a gunner with No. 4 depot and was discharged 20 Jan 1919 at Dover.
He was admonished 30 Oct 1918 for overstaying leave from 11.55pm 28 Oct to 12.45pm 29 Oct.  (a total of 50 minutes).
Following his discharge, he signed up for another 4 years service with Royal Regiment of Artillery 18 Jul 1919 at Bury St. Edmunds, keeping the same service number.

William was serving in the 3rd Depot, Royal Garrison Artillery when he was found drowned at Plymouth. Little detail of his final days has emerged. The discovery of the body was announced in the Stop Press of the Western Evening Herald on Monday January 26 1920:

The body of a sailor which had been found floating was landed at Vauxhall Quay this afternoon.  Papers bore the name of William Thomas Gilbourne, No. 3 depot, the Citadel.

Almost identical accounts of the inquest  are given in the Western Evening Herald of Wednesday January 28, 1920 and the Western Independent of Feb 1, 1920. The latter says:

Mysterious Drowning Case

A verdict of 'Found Drowned' was returned on Wednesday on William Thomas Gilbourne, the R.G.A. Gunner who was found in Sefton Pool. The body was identified by Bombardier Warne, who stated the deceased bore an excellent character, and was of a quiet turn of mind.  Gunner Young saw Gilbourne on Sunday evening, and stated he was quite well and cheerful then.  William Stevens gave evidence of finding the body, and Dr. McNair stated that the body bore no marks of violence, and there was nothing to show how deceased got into the water.

[The Western Evening Herald Article says the body was found in Sutton Pool.]

We know the weather was very rough at the time, the Western Evening Herald of Jan 27 indicated only a small supply of fish, because many ships had not put to sea because of the rough weather, and concludes '

...the whole of the fishing fleet is now weather-bound in Sutton Harbour, and will not put to sea as long as the gale lasts.'

Was this a contributor?  We shall never know.


He was buried in Brinsley churchyard. A memorial plaque to both William and Walter Gilbourne is displayed in the Church.


GRO Birth Index: Basford Dec 1884 7b 128  
GRO Death Index: Plymouth Mar 1920 5b 394  
1891 Census: Brinsley, Notts. RG12/2661/23/228
1901 Census: Mansfield Rd., Nethergreen, Notts. RG13/3144/158/108
1911 Census: 25 Nether Green, Eastwood, Notts.  


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