Private Harry Gentle

Rank or Title

Date of Birth


Date of Death

15 Nov 1915

War time / or Pre War occupation

Straw hat worker


Cookson & Co, Bute Street, Luton

Service Number


Place of Birth

St Albans
United Kingdom

World War I Address

17 Adelaide Terrace
United Kingdom

Place of Death


Grave Location


War Memorial Location

Soldier or Civilian

  • Soldier


The Luton News/Saturday Telegraph , 27th November 1915
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Pte Harry Gentle, 10433, 1st Bedfordshires, was killed in action in Flanders on November 15th, 1915. He was aged 18.

He had joined the Army about four months before war broke out, and prior to enlisting he had worked for Cookson and Co, straw hat manufacturers, of 7 Bute Street, Luton.

A newspaper article describing him as Pte Henry Gentle, said Mrs Gentle, of 17 Adelaide Terrace, Luton, had received letters from his company commander and a friend.

In a letter dated November 23rd, Capt W. H. L. Barnett said: "You will doubtless have heard from the War Office of the death of your son. I, as his company commander, write this brief line to say how deeply I sympathise with you, and wish I could say something that would help you to bear the blow. His comrades all tender their sympathy, and I regret the loss of a good soldier of my company, who did his duty bravely and well. He was quite unconscious when he died a few minutes after being hit, and so suffered no pain.

"He was buried in a small cemetery besides many other brave men, and I was myself present at the funeral, when the chaplain of the brigade read the service. A small cross has been erected over the grave."

A message from L-Cpl Steele, 7932, read: "I am sorry to tell you that your dear son was killed on the 15th of November, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. He was killed almost instantaneously, was unconscious, and suffered no pain. I was with him immediately after he was shot and did my best to make him comfortable. He was shot right through the head, and passed away before we reached the hospital.

"With another Luton lad I went to the cemetery that night and dug him a grave. He is to be buried today [Tuesday, 16th] by the chaplain at 3 pm, and I can assure you he will be buried with all respect. He will be missed by all his comrades. I hope you will accept my deepest sympathy in your great loss. I will keep an eye on the grave and see that it is kept all right. He is buried in a little village cemetery."

[Pte Gentle's full name on Census returns is given as Reuben Harry Gentle, with various spellings of Reuben. His father, Harry Frederick, married Sarah Vanschagen in Luton in the summer of 1896 and he died in late 1913. In 1901 the family were living at 55 Church Street, Luton, and in 1911 at 32 Dorset Street. A register of soldiers' effects gives Harry Gentle's mother's name as Sarah.]


Individual Location

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Author: Deejaya

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