Gilbert John Fletcher
Gilbert John Fletcher was born on 7 November 1897 in Weston-super-Mare, one of the six children of Harry Fletcher and Mary Jane née Baker, and older brother of Thomas Charles. Harry was employed as a dairyman and later a furniture remover. In 1904 Gilbert's mother died, and the family moved to his father's home town of Cirencester where both Harry and Gilbert worked as window cleaners. In September 1916 Harry and his second wife, Sophia Bucknell, moved to Lake House, Frampton, with Gilbert later listed as an absent voter.
Gilbert was attested for Army service on 22 May 1916 at Cirencester, but was not mobilised until 2 October when he was posted as a private to the 5th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, probably for infantry training. However, it appears that this was not successful, as Gilbert was transferred in quick succession to the Agricultural Company 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment and then to the Works Company 9th (Service) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. Meanwhile, he began to suffer fairly early in his service from an eye condition which he claimed had been caused by draughts when sleeping in cold barns. Additionally a problem with his middle ears in the spring of 1917 caused him to be medically examined several times. His final posting was in April 1917 to the recently-formed Labour Corps where he spent the rest of his service in UK-based Companies. The Labour Corps was manned by officers and other ranks who had been medically rated below the level needed for more demanding service.
In February 1919 he was selected for retention, which earned him a bonus of 10s. 6d. per week, and he also volunteered to extend his service by one year to September 1920. A later hospitalisation for multiple boils, together with his worsening eye condition, seems to have led to discharge procedures being initiated and a claim for a disability pension. However, despite a recommendation for an operation to remove his infected tear ducts, his disability was assessed at only 10 per cent and he was transferred to the Army Reserve on 29 February 1920 without a disability pension. His war service is not commemorated on the plaque in the village hall.
He married Lily Pawcett in the summer of 1922. Gilbert John Fletcher's death was registered in the Cirencester district during the spring of 1978.