Edgar Ewart Gisby (sometimes ‘Gisbey’) was born and raised in Chelmsford and worked as a tailor and cutter. He married in 1904 in Buckinghamshire and had four children. By 1911 he was living in Somerset where he joined the army. He was killed in action in October 1917 near Ypres. His brother lived in Braemar Avenue, while his father lived in Baddow Road in the first part of the war.
GISBY, EDGAR EWART,
Private, 1st Battalion (4th Foot), King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
Edgar subsequently enlisted into the army at Weston-Super-Mare. He was killed in action on 12th October 1917 near Poelcappelle while serving as Private 30335 in the 1st Battalion of the King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment). He was aged 37.
Edgar was born in Chelmsford on 6th October 1880, the fourth son of the bootmaker Walter Joseph Gisby and Eliza Gisby (nee Barker).
His father had been born in 1842 in Springfield; his mother c1841 in Dedham. The couple had married in 1861 and a decade later had been resident in Baddow Road, Chelmsford.
Edgar’s siblings, all Chelmsford-born, included Francis Albert Gisby (1861-1926), Frederick Arthur Gisby (1863-1911), Flora Amelia Gisby (born in 1865), Eva Bertha Gisby (1868-1936), Edith Eliza Gisby (born in 1871), Minnie Kate Gisby (1873-1960), Walter Joseph Gisby (1875-1934), Oscar Lennel Gisby (1876-1883), Jessie Margaret Gisby (born in 1879), Rose Mabel Gisby (1882-1957), and Dora Amy Gisby (1884-1955).
Edgar was aged five months at the time of the 1881 census, living with his parents and seven older siblings in Baddow Road. His father was a bootmaker, and his brother Frederick a hairdresser.
A decade later the 1891 census recorded Edgar, aged nine, living with his parents and six siblings in Baddow Road. His father was a bootmaker; his sister Edith was a dressmaker, and brother Walter, a sugar boiler. Edgar was educated in Chelmsford.
During the 1890s Egard was a prominent member of the Chelmsford Juvenile Foresters Society, for which his father was treasurer. His father was in fact one of the Ancient Order of Foresters’ leading figures in Chelmsford, having joined the Order in 1859 and served in every official position during what eventually was a 57 year membership.
In 1899 Edgar’s mother died, aged 58.
The 1901 census listed 20 year-old Edgar boarding with William and Ann Hawes at 1 Milton Terrace in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Edgar was a tailor and his elderly landlord was a coal carter.
Edgar’s father married Martha Harley (born in 1856 in Wimblington, Cambridgeshire) in London in 1902.
Edgar married Elizabeth Lovell on 29th August 1904 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The couple had four children: Ena Lovell Gisbey (born on 31st May 1905 in High Wycombe), Donald Ewart Gisby (born on 1st April 1907 in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset), Cynthia Joyce Gisbey (born in 1908 in Weston-Super-Mare) and Clement Jack Gisbey (born on 24th May 1911).
The 1911 census, taken prior to Clement’s birth found 30 year-old Edgar living with his wife and three children at a rented house, St. Eves, Hatfield Road in Weston-Super-Mare. Edgar was employed as a tailor and is known to have worked as a cutter for Mr. Thomas in the High Street in Weston-Super-Mare. Meanwhile his 69 year-old father was recorded living with his second wife, Martha Gisby, at 40 Baddow Road (today’s number 156) where he was a self-employed bootmaker.
Edgar’s step mother died in Gloucestershire in 1915.
Today he lies at Poelcapelle British Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium (grave: XLIV. C. 11). The cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from other cemeteries and from the battlefields. On 2nd November 1917 the Essex County Chronicle carried a family announcement regarding Edgar:
“Gisby. - Killed in action in France, on
Oct. 12th, Pt. E. E. Gisby, King’s Own Royal Lancs., of Weston-super-Mare, fourth son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Gisby, late of 40 Baddow Road, Chelmsford.”
A similar announcement appeared in the day’s Essex Weekly News, while a week later the Essex County Chronicle reported:
“Pt. E. E. Gisby, King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regt. who was reported in last week’s Essex County Chronicle, was killed in action in France on Oct. 12, was before leaving Chelmsford in the employ of Mr. Green. High Street. He leaves a widow and four children.”
A week later the Essex Weekly News reported:
“Pte. E. E. Gisby, King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regt., killed in action on Oct. 12, was before leaving Chelmsford in the employ of Mr. Green, High-st., as a tailor. Prior to enlistment he was at Weston-super-Mare as a cutter. He leaves a widow and four children.”
Edgar is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and the Weston-Super-Mare Memorial in the town\s Grove Park. He was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
The 1918 register of electors listed Edgar’s brother Walter and his wife at 10 Braemar Avenue, Chelmsford (today’s number 23). His father, who died in Charing Cross Hospital, London in April 1918, aged 76, having lived with a daughter at 117 Maple Road, Penge in Surrey after the death of his second wife.
After his death Edgar’s widow could not afford to remain at St. Eves and later lived at a council house (number 5) and then 235 Milton Road South View, (at the time owned by the parish of Milton), Weston-super-Mare. Edgar’s widow
remained there with her son Clement until she died in 1940, aged 62.
All of Edgar and Elizabeth's children lived to a fair age, except Cynthia who had a brain tumour and died in 1948. Clement and Ena both died in 1980. The last to pass away was Donald in August 2000, aged 93.