Sgt Major R J GAMBLE, "last survivor of the Crimea"?

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Sgt Major R J GAMBLE, "last survivor of the Crimea"?

Postby Banker » 17 Aug 2008 02:59

All, I purchased this badge on ebay a while ago and have been trying to research this man. It would appear that he may be a very early "Walter Mitty".

There is no sign of this man on the Indian Mutiny Roll for the 42nd nor any of the other campaigns yet it can be seen that he has 4 medals on his chest.

In the December 1998 edition of Sabretache (MHSA Journal) there is reference to him and then again in March 1999 Graeme Marfleet suggests he cannot be located.

What are peoples opinions and thoughts on him and his service?

Regards Steve
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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Lois » 26 Aug 2008 06:31

Hello

While working at the Brighton Cemetery here in Victoria Australia I came across the grave of Robert John Gamble aged 106 who had fought in the Crimean War and wondered if this Sgt Major Robert John Gamble might be the one and the same person.

Will look forward to hearing from you.

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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Banker » 26 Aug 2008 09:32

Hi Lois, It certainly should be. Any chance of a photo of his grave?

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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Liz » 26 Aug 2008 09:49

Hi Lois

A warm welcome to the Victorian Wars Forum - and thanks for such an interesting piece of info. If you do find yourself wandering around Brighton Cemetary with a camera, can I also put in a bid for a photo of:

1. any pre-WWI war memorials on the grounds for our collection here http://www.victorianwars.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=63.

2. the grave of a relative I've just found on this Who's Who of servicemen at the cemetary http://users.netwit.net.au/~ianmac/travis.html. (I will send you the details in a private message if you are agreeable, he's 20th century so this is getting WAY off topic.)

No hassles at all if this is not convenient, the info about where Mr Gamble's burial site was a gem. Cheers,

Liz
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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Lois » 19 Sep 2008 03:44

Hi Lois, It certainly should be. Any chance of a photo of his grave?

Regards Steve

Hi Steve

if you your email address to locow@elite.net.au I will email you a photo of his grave - do you have any information about him as we are hoping / planning on Robert being part of our November Walk to commemorate Remembrance Day.

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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Lois » 19 Sep 2008 03:47

Hi Liz

if you can email me on locow@elite.net.au I will be able to email you a photo - do you have any information on Robert as we are planning on adding him to our November walk.

Lois

Liz wrote:Hi Lois

A warm welcome to the Victorian Wars Forum - and thanks for such an interesting piece of info. If you do find yourself wandering around Brighton Cemetary with a camera, can I also put in a bid for a photo of:

1. any pre-WWI war memorials on the grounds for our collection here http://www.victorianwars.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=63.

2. the grave of a relative I've just found on this Who's Who of servicemen at the cemetary http://users.netwit.net.au/~ianmac/travis.html. (I will send you the details in a private message if you are agreeable, he's 20th century so this is getting WAY off topic.)

No hassles at all if this is not convenient, the info about where Mr Gamble's burial site was a gem. Cheers,

Liz
Last edited by Liz on 15 Oct 2008 10:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Liz » 15 Oct 2008 10:44

Lois wrote:...do you have any information on Robert as we are planning on adding him to our November walk.


Hi again Lois

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Unfortunately I don't have any more info for you on Mr Gamble but I do have a suggestion. Have you thought about contacting the Australian War Memorial http://www.awm.gov.au?

They offer an online reference service where you can submit a reference form online and get a response back from their library within 10 working days. They may be able to do something quicker if you tell them why/when you need it. The direct link is http://awm.altarama.com/reft000.aspx.

I'd be surprised if this case doesn't tickle their fancy. Regardless of what they find they get an interesting story out of it: either he's one of the last survivors of the Crimea or he's a very early imposter... do let us know how you go! Cheers,

Liz
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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Lois » 08 Nov 2008 01:39

I have been able to find out a little more about Robert John Gamble - he was part of the 42 Black Watch Regiment. Born in the Barracks of the Black Watch Regiment, he followed his father’s footsteps - that his father had fought in the Battle of Waterloo. His two sons had served in the Great War, and both were killed [names unknown].

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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble

Postby Liz » 10 Nov 2008 03:37

Hi again Lois

Given that Sgt-Major Gamble was buried in Australia, suggesting he had family here, I thought it would be worth looking into the possibility that the two sons you mention served in an Australian unit in WWI.

The Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour for WWI lists nine men named Gamble. None of these men had a father named Robert John Gamble , with the possible exception of Francis William Gamble whose parents aren't listed.

But taking into account the time between the Crimean War and WWI, could we be looking for the Sergeant-Major's grandsons rather than sons? There are two brothers who might fight the bill, both hail from Victoria (Winton North about 200km NE of Melbourne). One even has the same given names. They are:

1. Private Robert James Gamble, 6055, 24th Bn Australian Infantry. Born Winton North, Victoria, enlisted 8 September 1916 in Cootamundra NSW aged 32 years 8 months, killed in action 8 October 1917 in Belgium. He was a carpenter by trade.

2. Private Clemence Henry Gamble, 6500, 5th Bn Australian Infantry. Born Winton North, Victoria; enlisted 13 July 1916 in Melbourne at 21 years 2 months; killed in action 4th October 1917 in Belgium at age 22. He was a farmer by trade but had some military service in the Benalla district (details illegible). He saw action at places including Bullecourt in France, where he helped get his cousin and fellow Winton boy Victor Green, 6498, 5th Bn, onto a stretcher after he was wounded.

A 3rd brother also served in WWI but lived to come home: Sergeant Harvey Lewis Gamble, 4494, 54th Bn, enlisted 24 July 1915 at age 25, returned to Australia on 12 May 1918. He was a bricklayer by trade.

All three Gamble brothers were unmarried and listed their mother Jane Gamble nee Weston as their next of kin, their father John Nathaniel Gamble having died on 20 August 1904 aged 65 years. Jane must have had a difficult time: a memorial in Winton cemetary records the deaths of not only her husband and the two sons above, but also her son Edward Thomas Gamble died 7 March 1911 aged 24 and two daughters Hilda Gamble died 9 March 1925 age 32 and Edna Gamble died 20 April 1925 aged 26. Jane herself died in 1943 at about age 89 (she was born 1853/54).

Unfortunately, as you go further back, the family tree is NOT a good match. The Gamble brothers' grandfather was a John Gamble [NOT Robert John] born 1812 died 1893 circa 81 [NOT 106]. He was the son of James Gamble and Lucia Ann Michie. He married a Catherine Jane Graham and they had two sons: 1. John Nathaniel born 1840 and 2. William Graham born 1845. His wife seems to have died sometime before John senior and sons left Tyrone in Ireland; they arrived in Melbourne on the Kent in July 1865.

While there is a gap in John Gamble's life around the time of the Crimean War, the names and dates are seriously out of whack. So unless somebody took serious liberties with the Sergeant-Major's given name and date of birth, the two soldier sons/grandsons who died in WWI did NOT serve in an an Australian unit. [Of course this does not preclude them serving in a British/other Commonwealth unit such as the Black Watch but I will leave that detective work for somebody else...]

Can you provide any other details about the Sgt-Major that might help us track him down? I'd be interested to know the sources for your last post. A date or year of birth/death would also be helpful for the purposes of trying to locate him on census and other records etc. Cheers,


Liz

Sources:
http://www.awm.gov.au
http://home.vicnet.net.au/~dpsoc/winton.htm
http://home.vicnet.net.au/~dpsoc/winton2.htm
http://www.aif.adfa.edu.au:8080/showPerson?pid=118415
http://www.geocities.com/mepnab/g/g6.html?200810 - note this only lists one of the three brothers who served but all other details match
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Re: Sgt Major Robert John Gamble - the tribute

Postby Liz » 18 Nov 2008 04:06

Lois, Banker and I have been doing some further digging and located some interesting source documents from the period 1925-26.

The most useful is the following tribute to Mr Gamble that appeared in the Argus newspaper on Monday 16 August 1926, page 13. Note also that the scan of the original tribute was located by Banker and is included at the end of this post for people who prefer not to rely on my transcription.

The Argus newspaper wrote:
VETERANS’ TRIBUTE – Memorial to Sergeant-Major Gamble

Rerpesentatives of almost every naval and military organisation were present at the Brighton Cemetary yesterday afternoon at the dedication and unveiling of a memorial to the late Sergeant-Major Robert John Gamble, 42nd Black Watch Regiment, the well-known Crimean Veteran, who died on May 12, aged 106 years. In the absence of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Chauver, the ceremony was performed by Brigadier-General C. H. Brand. The Rev. H. E. E. Hayes, padre of [illegible], conducted the services.

Headed by the band of the Soliders Fathers’ Association, members of the War Veterans’ Association marched to the graveside, where a large crowd was assembled.

After unveiling the memorial, which consists of a large white marble headstone, surmounted by a bronze cross, Brigadier-General Brand said that the late Sergeant-Major Gamble had been a link with past generations, and had been a familiar figure wherever the King’s uniform was worn. His life and service werre an example for succeeding generations. Born in the barracks of the Black Watch regiment, Sergeant-Major Gamble followed his father’s footsteps, and wore the Queen’s uniform through many campaigns. It had been his proudest recollection that his father had fought in the Battle of Waterloo. Sergeant-Major Gamble had served with distinction in the Crimea and in the Indian Mutiny campaign. His two sons had served in the Great War, and both were killed.

Representatives present included Major C. W. Hyland and Captain Russell Harding (Imperial ex-service men), Captain Marshall Wood (British Migration department), Mr R. J. Rayner (Imperial Navy and Army Association), who wore the veteral uniform of a sergeant of the Royal Military (Light Horse) Train, and Sergeant W. M. Chapman and Corporal W. B. M. Fairweather, in their Black Watch uniforms.
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Re: Sgt Major R J GAMBLE, "last survivor of the Crimea"?

Postby Liz » 18 Mar 2010 02:55

I've now found info which suggests that, while it is possible Mr Gamble was one of the last survivors of the Crimea in Australia, he was certainly NOT the last survivor worldwide.

According to the BBC,the last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade was one Edward Hughes (Balaclava Ned) who died in Blackpool in 1927, the year AFTER Mr Gamble. The BBC doesn't tell us about any other (non-Charge) Crimean veterans who may have outlived him, but you can read more about Ned at http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northeastwales/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8170000/8170593.stm.
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Re: Sgt Major R J GAMBLE, "last survivor of the Crimea"?

Postby Banker » 18 Mar 2010 09:45

Interesting to note that I cant see Gamble Seniro on the Waterloo roll for the 42nd either.

Regards Steve
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Re: Sgt Major R J GAMBLE, "last survivor of the Crimea"?

Postby Liz » 01 Dec 2011 03:12

Liz wrote:The BBC doesn't tell us about any other (non-Charge) Crimean veterans...[/url].


but the topic has come up in discussion about another 'last survivor', see http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=82&t=2394
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Re: Sgt Major R J GAMBLE, "last survivor of the Crimea"?

Postby grm79 » 24 May 2017 06:01

I just came across this thread while checking something else.
I'm the Graeme Marfleet who mentioned Sgt-Major Gamble in Sabretache.
I had previously written to the Black Watch Museum asking about Gamble.
At the time, the then curator (whose name escapes me right now) was researching all the Sergeants of the 42nd/Black Watch.
According to him, no man with the surname Gamble had EVER been a member of the Sergeants' Mess in the 42nd/Black Watch.
That means no man named Gamble had ever held the ranks of Sergeant, Colour Sergeant, Sergeant Major etc. in the regiment.
Gamble certainly doesn't appear on the medal roll of the 42nd for the Crimea, in any rank.

Either he served in the Crimea in another regiment and later transferred to the 42nd or, as suggested at the beginning of this thread, he was an early "Walter Mitty".
Cheers
Graeme

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