Known to his family as EDWIN OWEN GIBBS

Image courtesy of Pete Gibbs.

Born: 1877, Eye, Suffolk.

Died: 25th June 1900; age: 23; Died of Enteric Fever at Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

ENTERIC FEVER   Enteric Fever (eneterica serotype bacteria) was a rampant bacterial infection during the South Africa Boer War – 1899 – 1902.

This systemic disease, now known as Typhoid Fever, from the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is characterised by fever and abdominal pain. The disease is spread via the lymphatic system and can affect other parts of the body, or even the whole body. The symptoms usually developed a week or two after a person had became infected bringing on a high temperature, headaches, coughs, lethargy, aches and pains, lose of appetite, sickness and diarrhoea. After 2 – 3 weeks intestinal bleeding.

Enteric Fever was originally thought to be spread via dust storms and flies.

Human carriers with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through their faeces, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. The polluted water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. Enteric (Typhoid) Fever is then contracted by drinking, or eating the contaminated food or water. This bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.

In 1897, an effective vaccine was developed by Almroth Wright and William Leisman, at the Army Medical School, Netley. At the time of the Boer War, the new inoculation had many side effects, and soldiers refused the voluntary immunisation. The inoculation was still voluntary in August 1914, when Great Britain entered the First World War. 

Residence: Langton Green, Eye, Suffolk.

Occupation: Shoeing Smith.

Enlistment Date: 22nd January 1900; age: 22.


Rank: Gunner/Shoeing Smith; Service Number: 3868.

Regiment: Royal Field Artillery, 53rd Battery.


Clasps Awarded: Laing’s Nek.




1881   Langton Green, Eye, Suffolk.


Edward was 4 years old and living with his parents & brothers.

Cornelius Gibbs, 34, a Tailor – Journeyman – for Messrs. Nunn and Co., born Thorndon All Saints, Suffolk.

Eliza Gibbs (nee Gibbs), 34, born Melton, Suffolk.

Walter Cornelius Gibbs, 6, born Eye.

George Gibbs, 7 months, born Eye.


1891   Langton Green, Eye, Suffolk.


Edward was 14 years old, an Agricultural Labourer. He was living with his parents & brothers.

Cornelius, 44, a Tailor – Messrs. Nunn and Co., .

Eliza, 44.

Walter, 16, a Carpenter’s Apprentice.

George, 10.


Soldiers’ Effects to Cornelius Gibbs – father.


It’s a rather amusing photo by our standards, I think, and makes a nice change from the usual posed studio photos of the period.
I was told they would take the dogs and hunt for rabbits dressed like that. I believed that as a child, but I now think my parents were pulling my leg! – Pete Gibbs


The Boer War.

One Comment

  • Edwin (not Edward, though the names were synonomous) was a brother of my grandfather, Walter Cornelius Gibbs. Growing up in Ipswich, we often visited Christchurch Park and had the memorial pointed out to us. Grandad never mentioned his brother to us children, but dad told me years after grandad had died that he frequently lectured him about the stupidity of warfare, giving Edwin as an example of young lives wasted.


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