18th August 1886 - 19th July 1916
Henry John Gaster was born on 18th August 1886 in Leytonstone, Essex the first child of Alfred and Ada Gaster. His father was variously described as a Professor of Music or Musician. In 1891, age 4 the family were living at 104 Chobham Rd, Forest Gate with his sister Dorothy Ada b.1888 and younger brother Alfred William b.1889 In 1894 he briefly attended Malmesbury Road School in Poplar and his family, now joined by another sister Grace Penelope b.1891 and two more brothers Frank Herbert b.1892 and Cecil Leslie b.1894, were living at 14 Cottage Grove, Poplar. By 1901 the family now extended to 8 children with the addition of Colin Francis b.1899 and Mary Morris b.1901 were living at 3 Hainault Villas in Hainault Road, Chigwell and Henry age 14 was assisting his father as a Piano Tuner. There was one more child born into the family in 1904 Irene Maud born in Forest Gate, Essex. Here Henry's life becomes a bit more mysterious. He is next found in September 1911 working for the Guiness Brewery Company in Dublin as a Fitter's helper in the Engineering Department at the St James Gate Brewery. This would have been a difficult one to work out except that his next of kin shown on his 'Army Will' is Mary Gaster of 22, "D", Iveagh Buildings, Patrick Street, Dublin. In 1911 would have been 25 so probably was married by then. He next appears in the Military Records as a fully fledged Company Serjeant Major #7740 in the Essex Regiment! I have yet to fathom out how he could achieve such a rank without being in the Army for some years. He was killed at the Battle of the Somme on 19th July 1916 and is commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, SOMME, FRANCE Pier and Face 10 D In Memory of HARRY JAMES GASTER Company Serjeant Major 7740 10th Bn., Essex Regiment who died on Wednesday, 19th July 1916. Age 31. Son of Alfred and Ada Gaster of 3 St. Mary's Parade, High Rd, Ilford, Essex Husband of Mary Gaster, of 22, "D", Iveagh Buildings, Patrick St, Dublin As a sad footnote his younger brother Alfred William Gaster b.1889 joined the Essex Regiment as a Private #9452 in 1914 and was killed at Gallipoli on the 8th August 1915. The Battle of the Somme On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly ﬁerce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern ﬂank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the ﬁrst day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was ﬁnally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difﬁcult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter. In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918. The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.
Created by: Paul60550
British Army 7740 Company Serjeant Major Essex Regiment 10th Battalion
British Army 7740 Warrant Officer Class 2 Essex Regiment 10th Battalion
British Army 7740 Company Serjeant Major Essex Regiment