Fonds RC0873 - James Herbert (Herb) Gibson fonds

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James Herbert (Herb) Gibson fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1916-1919 (Creation)
    Gibson, James Herbert (Herb)

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Physical description

22.5 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Herb Gibson, farmer, First World War soldier (787167), was born 11 November 1889 to William Russell Gibson (1848-1917) and Euphemia Nairn. After serving in the 42nd Lanark and Renfrew Militia, Herb worked on the family farm in Balderston, Ontario until March 1916, when, despite his father’s wishes he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Trained at Valcartier, Quebec, he was initially appointed to the 110th Reserve Battalion for training and then transferred to the 4th Canadian Division to begin fighting in France. He was drafted into the 75th Battalion to replace their losses on the Somme and he arrived in France in December 1916. In March 1917, he was part of the offensive at Vimy Ridge, where he was shot in the right arm. After recovering in England, he returned to France in November 1917. In January of 1918 he learned that both his parents had died just before Christmas. Then in July, while lying at a listening post at Arras, Gibson was shot in the chest. He would see out the rest of the war while recovering in England and be sent back to Canada to be discharged in March 1919.

Due to the wounds Herb sustained, he was unable to work on the farm as he had prior to the war. He sold his farm and moved to Winnipeg to build houses with his brother. Herbert Gibson and May Bell Keays (1896/7-1999) were married in St. Vital, Manitoba on 10 February 1931, after she had finished caring for her younger siblings. They had two children and returned to Ontario in 1939, where Herb first worked at Batawa, Ontario, and then at the #6 Repair Depot RCAF Station, Trenton until 1955. He passed away on 17 October 1967.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of letters starting just prior to Gibson’s enlistment to his return to Canada, as well as pocket diaries for the years he served and some military documents.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds (2015-030) was donated by Dr. K. Bruce Newbold in June 2015.


The fonds is arranged as follows:
Series 1 – Correspondence and military documents
Series 2 – Diaries

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Availability of other formats

Transcripts of all the letters and diaries were generously provided by the donor, as well as additional reference material. These materials can be found in Box 2. Electronic copies are available in the Master File.

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There are no access restrictions.

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Researchers may also wish to consult the Service Record available from Library and Archives Canada.

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Further accruals are not expected.

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