Captain WG Gabain

Captain WG Gabain

William George Gabain, the only son of Charles Edward Gabain, was educated at Sandroyd, Charterhouse and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was a member of the football eleven and was also a proficient boxer, winning at Public School and University level three years in a row.

He took a temporary Mastership at Eton and, in September 1913, a permanent post at his old school. On 9th February 1914 he was appointed to serve with the Charterhouse School Contingent, Junior Division, Officers’ Training Corps (OTC.)

When war broke out he received his call-up notice at 10 o’clock in the morning and an hour and a half later he was on his way to France where his knowledge of French and German earned him a post as a despatch rider with the First Cavalry Brigade from August 1914 until early in 1915. He went through the retreat from Mons, his work being Mentioned in Despatches.

From January 1915 he served with the Intelligence Corps and was again Mentioned in Despatches. In May 1916 he joined the HQ staff of the 10th Corps but four months later was shipped home with a serious leg wound. By the following January he was back in France on the HQ staff as Temporary Captain. Although he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in June 1917 he was dissatisfied with life on the HQ staff and applied several times for a combatant role.

In January 1918 he was transferred to the 2nd Rifle Brigade and was one of the fatalities of the German onslaught on 24 March 1918. His Adjutant wrote: “He was last seen on the morning of that day, in a sunken road holding on with a handful of men practically surrounded by infinitely superior numbers of the enemy. Throughout the previous might he did fine work holding the bridge under most trying circumstances and in the face of overwhelming numbers”.