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Gilbert, Joseph Edward

Joseph Edward Gilbert’s birth was registered in Hawarden in 1908 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/09A/37), he was the son of John & Emily Gilbert who, I believe, had married in the September Quarter of 1907 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire.

John, 29,  & Emily, 26, must have moved to Deeside very quickly, as Joseph Edward, as said before, was born in the Hawarden Registration District in 1908 and by the 1911 census they were living at 28, Butler Street, Shotton where they had another child, Winifred Evelyn, who on this census was 9 months old.   John was a Chilled Roll Moulder in the Galvanized Ironworks (Foundry) and they tell us that they had both been born in West Bromwich and they had been married 3 and ½ years and they had 2 children, both still living.  Joseph Edward was 2 and ½ years old. 

I have no news about the family till the 1939 National Register, which was collected on the 29th September 1939, whereas the War was declared on the 3rd September of that year.    Any help to fill in the intervening years would be gratefully received as we need to make sure that Joseph Edward is remembered.

The 1939 National Register is the source of the dates of birth for the family and tell us that they were then living at, Quinton,Shotton Lane,Shotton,Flintshire.   John Gilbert’s date of birth was the 26th November 1881 and he was an Iron Moulder, Emily, his wife had been born on the 24th September 1884 and as most women on this Register, who were not in a job were described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties,” Joseph Edward Gilbert’s birth date was the 5th September 1908, was an Iron Foundry Labourer and single, his sister Dorothy Gilbert, was born on the 30th July 1917 and was a Clerk for a Wholesale Merchant and was single, John Morris Gilbert had been born on the 10th January 1925 and was a Van Boy.

I am presuming that Joseph Edward was to join the Royal Navy after this date.

I also believe that Dorothy, Joseph Edward’s sister was to marry in St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton, in 1941 to Kenneth H. Dempsey (Flintshire (Mold) C115/06/E195).

Second World War, 1939-1945 – British Armed Forces And Overseas Deaths And Burials (see below) confirms his birth date and cause of death as – 2 – Missing – Death on War Service presumed.

Below is an eye-witness account taken from https://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4628.html.   Many thanks to this wonderful website.

Allied Warships – HMS Quorn (L 66)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type I) class

Navy      The Royal Navy

Type      Escort destroyer

Class      Hunt (Type I)

Pennant               L 66

Built by J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.)

Ordered               11 Apr 1939

Laid down           22 Aug 1939

Launched            27 Mar 1940

Commissioned  3 Aug 1940

Lost        3 Aug 1944

History

HMS Quorn (Lt. Ivan Hall, RN) was sunk by a German “Linsen” explosive motorboat or a German “Neger” manned torpedo off the invasion area.

This is an eye witness account by Norman Ackroyd (a survivor) of the events of the night of 3rd August 1944: ” The ship had been part of the beach head defence force for some nights before, on the night of August 3rd we sailed as normal just before dusk and went to all night action stations (I was part of No 3 guns crew on the quarterdeck) again as normal, this time however, we were accompanied by an American radar ship and we were informed over the tannoy that at dawn we were going in close to Le Havre in order to bombard the e-boat pens. The American ship was to control the shelling.  Just before midnight however there was a massive explosion amidships and I understand we had been hit in the boiler rooms, the ship broke in two, and sank in a few minutes. I personally was blown overboard by the blast and found myself in the water fully dressed. A large number of my shipmates must have gone down with the ship but there were quite a lot of us in the water.  The American ship left the scene at full speed which caused a lot of resentment at the time but it was explained to us later that if she had stayed she would possibly have sustained the same fate as the Quorn.   A lot of those with me in the water did not last the night but quietly slipped away, I was in the water for eight and a half hours before we were picked up by an armed trawler looking for us, by that time we were only a small band.  We were informed after that the ship had been sunk by a German human torpedo on which the pilot sat on a type of torpedo which had an explosive torpedo slung underneath and that the German pilot had been picked up by another of our destroyers of the defence force.  We were also told that we had run into a number of these torpedoes which were being carried into the beach head by the tide but as a result of the Quorn being sunk the alarm had been raised and the other torpedoes had been dealt with.” 

Also I have a detailed account :- Report of Ferdinand Hoffmann , written down by Alfons Steck :-

Aug 1944 – Sinking the Quorn (Employment of a human torpedo on the 02./03.08.1944 – It is a long report, too long to go on the website, so please get in touch if you would like to see it.  Sources – ADM 173/16307.   British National Archives at Kew, London.

I believe that his father John Gilbert was to live to 1952, eight years after his son died, so he lived to suffer the loss, while his mother Emily was to feel the loss of them both and lived to be 96 years old when she died in the June quarter of 1980.

Joseph Edward Gilbert was well loved and his name was put forward to be remembered on the Memorial.

 

 

 

 

 


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