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  • Christina Drummond

Private Robert Young Gilbert, 1st/5th Battalion (Dumfries & Galloway), King's Own Scottish B

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Private Robert Young Gilbert, 1st/5th Battalion (Dumfries & Galloway), King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was killed in action at Gallipoli.

The only son of David Gilbert, a furniture upholsterer in Newton Stewart, Scotland, he had been working as an apprentice joiner when he decided to enlist on the 5th of August, 1914. At the age of sixteen, he was one of the youngest soldiers to serve with his regiment.

The 1st/5th was a Territorial battalion mobilized at the outbreak of the war, part of South Scottish Brigade, Lowland Division, and enlisting mainly from South-Western Scotland, the County of Dumfries, the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and the Shire of Wigtown. It is believed that the proportion of those who enlisted from Dumfries and Galloway was greater than that in any other area in Britain. They had reached war strength, and so great was the desire to enlist that they could have taken on another thousand men had it been possible. The battalion – 27 officers and 749 other ranks, sailed from Liverpool on the 24th of May, 1915, for service at Gallipoli. On the evening of the 6th of June, 1915, they landed and Private Gilbert went ashore at V Beach with his battalion. He saw action until he was killed during a charge on the 12th of July, by which time grievous losses had been incurred. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Minnigaff War Memorial, as well as the Helles Memorial, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission war memorial near Sedd el Bahr in Turkey, on the headland at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula overlooking the Dardanelles.

Robert, from Minnigaff in Scotland, was 17 years old.

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