Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
27 Sep 1915
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Harry Gillman, 19065, 2nd Battalion Beds Regt, was killed in action at the battle of Loos in France on September 27th*, 1915. He was aged 25.
That, at least, was the eyewitness account of "a great friend" who wrote that he saw him killed instantly by a bullet through his head shortly after 9 am on September 27th. He added that Pte Gillman was buried that night in a nice little grave with a wooden cross on it.
*The above date was included in a Book Of Life being compiled at Luton Parish Church in October 1919, but military records say Pte Gillman died of wounds on October 3rd, 1915.
The eyewitness account letter from Pte Albert E. Bonney**, 10018, B Company, 2nd Bedfords, read: "I have no doubt that you have heard of your husband's death, but as Harry was a great friend of mine, I thought it was my duty to let you know how he met his death.
"I first met him when I was at the Base (Havre), having just come out of hospital. We left the Base on September 22nd and joined the regiment on the 24th. We move off again and got into action early on the morning of September 27th.
"At about 9 am we got the order to advance. We had only gone a few hundred yards when I saw Harry fall. I at once ran to him, but found he was quite dead, the bullet having passed right through his head, so he suffered no pain. He was buried at night by our men, and has got quite a nice little grave with a wooden cross on it.
"I don't think I can tell you of him, only when we were travelling together we agreed that if we got parted one would write to the other's parents. I am expecting to come home shortly on leave. Then I will tell you a little more. He was liked by all his comrades in the company."
Born Henry Theodore Gillman in Luton in early 1890, he was an old boy of St Matthew's School and had been employed as a baker by Walter Bloomfield, of 63 Stuart Street, Luton. He enlisted in November 1914 and was drafted to the Front from the Duke of Bedford's Training Depot at Ampthill. He is commemorated on the Ampthill Park War Memorial and the Luton Roll of Honour.
Harry's mother Emily, whom his father Ernest had married in Camberwell in 1880, died when he was less than two years old. Ernest, originally from Winchester, remarried in late 1893, his new wife being Sarah Sharpe.
In 1911, Harry was living apart from his family and in that year's Census was described as a boarder living with Omer and Cissy Worsley and their daughter Maggie Evelyn at 21 Ash Road, Luton. It was Maggie Worsley that Harry married in the early summer of 1915, just a few weeks before he was drafted abroad.
** Pte Bonney, from Stanstead in Essex, had been promoted to lance-corporal when he too was killed, on July 11th, 1916.