Frank James Gibbs
Chemist Corporal, Royal Engineers (Chemical Section)
Frank James Gibbs was a student at Alleyn’s until 1914 and lived at 28 Thornlow Road, West Norwood during this time. After leaving school, Frank found work as a Chemist and also joined the British Territorial Force as part of the London Regiment in July 1915. In February 1916, he decided to join the Regular Force of the Army and was transferred from the London Regiment to the Royal Engineers where his background as a Chemist saw him recruited into the RE Chemical Section. This special section of the RE was responsible for the use of poison gas in operations and saw every man given the rank of ‘Chemist Corporal’. By March 1916, Frank was serving with this section on the Western Front where he was involved in a number of British operations that called for the use of poison gas on the battlefield to aid the advancing infantry. He continued to serve in this throughout the war. After the end of the conflict in November 1918, Frank decided to continue his service in the Army and he was granted a commission with the Royal West Surrey Regiment in March 1919.