Gibson, Edward Leslie


Edward Leslie Gibson was born to a cosmopolitan family; his father – Edward Marriott Gibson (B, 1883-1888) – was Chief Engineer and Outside Manager to the Schlüsselburg Calico Printing Company in Russia. The plant was owned by the Hubbard family, relatives of Gibson’s, and was a large and profitable concern annually producing forty million yards of printed materials.  The plant was run by Egerton Hubbard (second Baron Addington) and managed by William MacCallum, father of three sons and nine daughters. Edward Marriott Gibson married one of these daughters: Margaret Favre MacCallum.    The couple had three children: Edward, who came in B House – Moberly’s, in 1913, Humphrey and Marjorie, who died in 1915.

Tragically, in 1915 Gibson’s father committed suicide (the reason is not known, but perhaps had something to do with his daughter’s death) and the family left Russia, heading for Switzerland, probably to the MacCallum family house in Lausanne.

Margaret later married her husband’s cousin, Raymond Hubbard, who was heir apparent to Lord Addington.

It was probably as a result of all this turmoil that Gibson left Winchester to finish his education in Switzerland, where he attended the Lausanne Ecole de Commerce (1916-1919) and achieved a diploma. By 1921 he had become a chartered accountant and obtained a post with the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation. He moved to Rangoon in Burma, and must still have been there in 1926/27, since he played a single first-class match for Rangoon Gymkhana against the touring Marylebone Cricket Club.

On December 17th 1927 he married Charlotte Noreen Fuller-Good, and the couple’s first son Patrick M.R. Gibson was born in the following year. Subsequently the family (with a second son, Jonathon) moved to Thailand .

On the outbreak of war with Japan in December 1941, Bangkok fell rapidly to the enemy, who arrived on December 8th. British businesses were shut down within two days. Gibson, his wife and son Jonathon were interned by the Japanese.

Patrick was at school in Sumatra and so escaped the horror. It is not clear how many internees were held at the civilian camp in Bangkok, but there were perhaps five hundred men, women and children. The camp appears to have stood on the playing fields behind Thammasat University. One inmate, Sir James Holt, stated that life was not too harsh at first, since the Thais helped to pass food into the camp to supplement the inadequate rations supplied by the Japanese. Inmates had access to books, and many learned Thai or other languages to stave off boredom.

Allied bombing raids began on January 8th 1942; one inmate wrote in his diary in April 1943 that “as the alarm sounded some idiots in one of the camp buildings started to smoke, and after a warning, were shot at by the guards… Next day we discovered that the raid had hit Assumption College, a clinic at the end of Silom Road, and a row of shops on Jawarat Road. There were many Chinese casualties.”

Later in the war, the inmates could observe American aircraft “a mere six hundred feet above the river following its curve and midnight glisten to the bridges and railyards at Lopburi. Many a hole was made in our mosquito nets when the ack-ack guns finally spoke…”

On August 11th 1944, three days after his forty-fifth birthday, Edward Leslie Gibson was executed by the Japanese. Although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has his details on file, it does not have a record of the location of his grave. Winchester College has no commemoration of him.

 

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Gibson
  • Forenames or initials: Edward Leslie
  • House: B
  • Years in School: 1913-1916
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Regiment: NA
  • Date of Birth: 8th August 1895
  • Date of Death: 11th August 1944
  • How Died: Died in Japanese hands
  • Location in War Cloister: Not commemorated
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown