Hubert Gentle (1888–1918), Private (27968), 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards, was killed by a shell at the battle of Canal du Nord, Cambrai, France on 27 September 1918, aged 30. He was buried in the Sanders Keep Military Cemetery Graincourt-Les-Havrincourt, in northern France, as well as being commemorated on his own on this grave. His younger brother, Owen Beaumont Gentle (1895–1917), was also a casualty of the War.
Hubert was born in 1888 in Cambridge. He was one of twelve children born to Samuel Gentle and Maria Scott Gentle (née Beaumont). His father was a coal merchant, carter and haulage contractor. Hubert followed his father into the haulage business. The family grew up at 1 Paradise Street, 85a and then 95a East Road, Cambridge. Hubert enlisted as Private (27968), 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards. The Grenadiers fought the battle of the Canal du Nord at Cambrai in France. The battle took place around a sugar beet factory. It was there that Hubert was killed in action on 27 September 1918 less than two months before the end of the War. He was entitled to the Victory medal and the British War medal. His younger brother, Owen Beaumont Gentle (1895–1917), was also a casualty of the War. Hubert’s family was devastated by the death of both Hubert and his younger brother, Owen. (See download for the commanding officer’s letter to Mr. and Mrs. Gentle.)
While Hubert was at the front, he wrote letters to his sister Martha (1892‒1967) (see portrait), one of which can be seen here as an image and as a download.
A number of the younger family members travelled to France shortly after the war ended to visit their graves at the time of the opening of the Menin Gate (memorial to the missing) at Ypres, Belgium. Their descendants still have several treasure boxes containing momentoes of the two brothers. Hubert’s younger sister, Martha, named her son, Donald Roderick Hubert Mackay, remembering her brother.
Lat Lon : 52.204079, 0.13765896 – click here for location
Parish : St Andrew the Less
War Graves Photographic Project
Census returns for England: 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916–2007
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1966
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914–1919
Web: International, Find A Grave Index
Cambridge Independent Press, Friday, 10 January 1902
Cambridge Independent Press, Friday, 11 October 1918
Cambridge Independent Press, Friday, 18 October 1918
University Library, Cambridge, books
Further reading: Memories from the Cambridge Firm of D. Mackay in our Centenary Year (Histon, Cambs: Print-Out, 2012)
Communications from Duncan MacKay, great grandson of Samuel Gentle and Maria Scott Gentle (née Beaumont)
By Emma Easterbrook and Ian Bent