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Person Details
Nottingham
Samuel was born in about 1887. No details about him have yet been found earlier than his marriage in 1907 although the notice of his death in the local paper gives the name of his mother, Susannah GIllett, and that he had a sister and a brother. He married Sarah Ann Naylor, a spinster, in 1907 (marriage registered O/N/D Nottingham). Sarah already had one child, a son, John Cyril Green Naylor, whose birth was registered J/F/M Nottingham. Samuel and Sarah had a daughter, Annie, who was born on 10 December 1908. In 1911 Samuel and Sarah were living at 70 Spalding Street, Nottingham, with their daughter, Annie (2). Samuel was a fitter's labourer and Sarah was a cap winder for a hosiery manufacturer. John Cyril has not yet been traced on the 1911 Census. Samuel completed the census with the streets in Nottingham where they were all born: Samuel on Pennyfoot Street, Sarah on St Ann's Well Road and Annie on Seymour Street. The family was living at 45 Woodhouse Street, Carlton, when Samuel attested in August 1914 and this was the address given on all subsequent army records. It appears that Sarah Ann did not remarry after Samuel's death as the death of a Sarah Ann Gillett aged 77 was recorded in Nottingham in 1965. The death of a John Cyril Naylor, who was born on 6 February 1907, was registered in Nottingham on 4 January 1993; he was 85 years old. Annie Gillett has not yet been traced after the 1911 Census.
In 1911 he was a fitter's labourer and this was his occupation when he attested in 1914.
15 Sep 1916
748508 - CWGC Website
12151
Private
1st Bn Leicestershire Regiment
Samuel attested on 28 August 1914 when he was aged 27 years 170 days. He provided the information that he had been discharged from the Notts and Derbys Regiment on 12 May 1905 as 'non-efficient'; no other details of his earlier service survive in his service record and it might be that he had served in the Territorial Force. His service reckoned from 28 August 1914 and he was initially transferred to the Special Reserve and then to the Leicestershire Regiment. He embarked Southampton for BEF France on 23 February 1915 and landed at Rouen on 24 February when he joined the 1st Battalion. His record shows a short period of sickness from 5 March 1916 and that he suffered a gunshot wound to the face on 14 March 1916 and was treated at No 3 Canadian General Hospital. However, there is a reference in the Boots house magazine, 'Comrades in Khaki', that he also spent some time in hospital in 1915 (October 1915 edition). He was killed in action on 15 September the same year; he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
CWGC: only match with details on Boots ROH/'Comrades in Khaki'. Boots 'Comrades in Khaki', October 1915, 'By the Way': 'Pte Gillett of the Leicesters is also in hospital but hopes soon to be discharged.' (Nottinghamshire Archives, RB.38) Boots 'Comrades in Khaki', October 1915, 'Letters from the Front': 'A hardship of campaign life which seems especially disagreeable to the lay mind is mentioned by Pte S Gillett, who says: 'I am glad to relate that we have come out of the trenches for a rest after being in them for 28 days. We are sleeping on beds now and it is the first time since I left England that I have been undressed. We made a successful attack the other day, killing about 1,000 of the enemy and taking 500 prisoners, besides capturing a row of trenches.' (Nottinghamshire Archives, RB.38) Boots ‘Comrades in Khaki’, January 1916, ‘By the Way’: ‘Pte S Gillett of the 1st Leicesters called at the offices early in December while on a seven days’ visit to his wife and two children at Nottingham. He has since returned to the front. Pte Gillett, who has passed through the battles of Hill 60 and Hooge, declares that the shortage in German shells is now very noticeable, and that we fire a couple to every one they send. He was slightly wounded in the leg during the Hooge attack on August 8th, but is now in the best of condition.’ (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref. RB.38) Boots ‘Comrades in Khaki’, January 1916, ‘Warfare-Mud, Shells and Bravery’: ‘Not an hour’s illness despite such conditions! It seems marvellous, but Pte S Gillett speaks in a similar strain, for, says he: ‘We have just come out of the trenches where we were up to the neck in mud, as it was raining night and day. We are all very well.’ (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref. RB.38) Boots 'Comrades in Khaki', February 1916, 'Letters from the Front': 'Pte S Gillet also remarks that he experienced the severities of a gas attack at Christmas time, but, like Sergt [Arthur] Brewer, he kept a stiff upper lip. Further, he is very warm in his praise of those who sent out the Christmas parcels. 'The delicacies,' he says, 'were greatly enjoyed, and the woollen mitts are now doing regular and useful service.' (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref. RB.38) Boots ‘Comrades in Khaki’, April/May 1916, ‘By the Way’: ‘Unfortunately there are some members of Boots who have not been so luck in their service … Pte S Gillett is in No. 3 Canadian General Hospital after being wounded in the face by a German sniper.’ (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref. RB,38) Boots ‘Comrades in Khaki’, April/May 1916, ‘Letters from the Front’: ‘Another illustration [in the magazine] which has been received enthusiastically is that showing the wives and children of our service men at an entertainment given by Sir Jesse and Lady Boot [February 1916]. Pte S Gillett, who like many others, has viewed it with favour, says: ‘I was pleased to be able to pick out my wife from the photograph, and in all other details I find the magazine more interesting.’ (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref. RB.38) Nottingham Post notice (abridged), 9 October 1916: 'Gillett. Killed in action September 15th, Private S Gillett, Leicestershires, husband of SA Gillett, 45 Woodhouse Street. Wife, children. Son of Susannah Gillett. Mother, sister, brother.' His widow, Sarah, was his part legatee (other details obscured on document).
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