Name Richard Parker Gilbanks
DoB: April 4 1892
Regt: 6th Battalion Border
DoD: August 9 1915
Academic Career: CGS 1905-8, Rossall (1909-10), Trinity Coll Oxford(1911-14)
Richard Parker Gilbanks was born at the Rectory in the pretty village of Gt. Orton just a few miles outside Carlisle. He was one of a large family, with an equally large extended family. His father and grandfather were all ordained ministers and at least one uncle was ordained too! Richard was also studying for the ministry when war broke out. His grandfather had been vicar of Smethwick, Staffordshire for many years. However, his roots were Cumbrian. On his mother’s side his grandfather William Parker was a Justice of the Peace and lived at Carleton Hill, Penrith, for many years; he left over £35,000 when he died in 1892.
Richard attended a prep school at Silloth, and then came to the grammar school as a day pupil. Whilst at the grammar school he won the Latin prize (1908). He went on to Rossall School, where he was in the O.T.C. and then Trinity College, Oxford. He matriculated on October 13 1911 and was awarded a fourth class honours in modern history in 1914. The degree of BA was conferred on Feb 13 1915. Trinity College was able to provide his photograph, as he was a member of “The Claret Club”, which was and still is a dining club. Of the nine members in the photograph four of them lost their lives in WW1. Richard had many friends and his obituary gives further details of his full and active social life.
He went straight from Oxford to the army and he joined the 6th Border Regt as soon as war broke out and became a second lieutenant on August 25 1914. He is described as 5ft 10 3/8 ” tall and weighing 144lb. He was sent out to the Dardanelles as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, he died five weeks after arriving there.
In August 1915, lieutenant Gilbanks was part of ‘B’ Company attacking Chocolate Hill at Gallipoli. The attack began on August 6. On the 9th the orders were to attack the Turkish position. “The advance proceeded satisfactorily until 6.10am, the firing line reaching the nullah near Ismail Oglu Tepe; but now the left of the Brigade line was suddenly driven in by the enemy coming on to Hill 70 and other high ground whence the Turks were able to enfilade the left of the Battalion firing line. Every officer in “A” and “B” except one had by this time been killed, but…the remnants of these companies (were brought forward) and reinforced the firing line.” (pg 57) The line then held all day and the men withdrew at 5pm.” The losses incurred…totalled 12 officers and 26 men killed, five officers and 241 men wounded, while one officer and 131 other ranks were missing. The Battalion had gone into action with 22 officers and 696 non-commissioned officers and men…”(pg 57)
” Of the officers…Lieutenants….Gilbanks…were killed…Nearly all these casualties occurred in the brief space of some 31/2 hours, between 6 and 9.30 on the morning of the 9th August.” (pg 58)
In his army personal file his place of death is listed as Suvla Bay, Dardanelles. His burial place is unknown.
Richard is also commemorated on the village war memorial in the churchyard at Great Orton. One of the other eight names is that of a local farmer’s son George Norman, who also attended the Grammar School.
After the war each man’s family received a scroll and plaque. Richard’s father wrote this in reply to the War Office letter,
“There is no hurry for the plaque and scroll. My four sons have not served with a view to decorations; so that if and when it comes it will be welcome. Thank God the sacrifice has borne good fruit for the world”
Richard’s brother Edward Francis was in the Royal Scots Regiment and in July 1917 he was sent to join the British Recruiting Commission in America.
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: RG9 3900 87
RG10 5202 and RG10 3024
RG11 5142 and RG11 2890 and RG11 5167
RG12 4276 36 and RG12 2304 and RG12 4294
RG13 2756 85 and RG13 4872
HO107 173 8 8
HO 107 2036
c) Wylly’s “The Border Regiment in the Great War”
d) Army File (WO 339/11594)
e) Cumberland News 21/7/1917