Gimson, Brian Martin Eames
He was the only son of Martin Gimson, of Cosby, Leicestershire, and Mary Louisa Gimson (daughter of Harry W. Eames, also of Cosby). He was one of three members of his Roll who came to College from Winchester House School, Brackley. He had a very good record scholastically, winning amongst other prizes English Essay, Latin Speech, Kenneth Freeman Prize, a Scholarship at New College, Oxford, and a School Exhibition. He was Junior and then Senior Prefect of Chapel in his last year. He was enthusiastic in doing all he could for the national war effort; in particular he took a leading part in organizing agricultural work at school, and, when at home, spent the greater part of his holidays doing all sorts of farm work, from milking cows to driving tractors.
He was accepted as a candidate for commission by the Queen’s Own Royal West Surrey Regiment, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission states that this was his regiment. However, according to the Register and his obituary in the Wykehamist War Service Record and Roll of Honour, his regiment was the Coldstream Guards. Newspaper reports of the time record him as a Coldstream, and a memorial service for him was held in the Guards’ Chapel, which seems conclusive proof that he was in the Coldstreams.
Before joining he was allowed a year at Oxford and obtained a First Class in the shortened “Honour Moderations” Course.
He joined the OCTU in 1943. On December 8th, in the course of a military exercise in North Wales, he and another cadet, an Oxford friend, had to cross the River Conway without being caught by patrols. His companion was Richard John Swaine, of Queen’s Gate Gardens, South Kensington.
It seems likely that one of the two attempted to cross and the other went in to assist him. Both were missing for some days before their bodies were found. On December 14th 1943, The Times reported as follows:
“Search was made in the North Wales mountains yesterday for two nineteen-year-old officer cadets who have been missing since last Wednesday after a military exercise… Till darkness last night, parties of soldiers, fishermen and police searched the mountains, river banks and deep pools. Gimson and Swaine, who were attending a course, were dropped from an Army vehicle at separate points in Wednesday’s exercise and detailed to meet later at a farmhouse.”
Their bodies do not seem to have been recovered for some time, since it was not until January 14th 1944 that The Times reported: “The bodies of two officer cadets of the Coldstream Guards, who had been missing in North Wales since December 8th, have been recovered from a river which the cadets had to cross individually during a military exercise…
At the inquest yesterday, a supervising officer said that the cadets were told that the river bridges would be patrolled, and that they were not to be caught by the patrols. This instruction, however, did not mean that they were not to use the bridges, and the patrols had been instructed not to patrol the bridges but to remain in the neighbourhood. “One can only surmise that they tried to swim across the river and failed in the attempt,” the officer said. Recording a vedict of ‘Accidental Death,” the Coroner said that there was no suggestion of negligence on the part of anyone.
A military funeral for the two cadets will be held at Aldershot next Monday. A short memorial service at 1400 at the Garrison Church, Aldershot, will be followed by burial at Sandhurst. There will also be a service of remembrance at 1230 on Wednesday at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, SW1. All friends are invited to attend.”
He was nineteen years old, and rests in grave 451 of the Royal Military Academy Cemetery, Sandhurst.
- Surname: Gimson
- Forenames or initials: Brian Martin Eames
- House: College
- Years in School: 1937-1942
- Rank: Officer Cadet
- Regiment: Coldstream Guards
- Date of Birth: 9th March 1924
- Date of Death: 8th December 1943
- How Died: Drowned on military exercise
- Location in War Cloister: Inner B2
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Royal Military Academy Cemetery, Sandhurst: Grave 451