In Memory of
ALFRED ARTHUR GENTRY
Sergeant 53126 2
35th Coy., Machine Gun Corps (Inf)
who died on Friday, 30th November 1917.
Age 27.
 

Commonwealth
War Graves Commission

Casualty Details      1753121  



 
Personal
Information

Date of birth 5th August 1889. Son of William and Martha Gentry (nee Savill) who lived in Hall Green Road.William was a blacksmith.They were married at All Saints on 25th September 1874. 

 Alfred came from a large family with nine brothers and four sisters. In descending age order they were William,Thomas, Charles, Frank, Elizabeth, Ernest, Burton, Edith, Herbert, Alfred, Alice, Hubert, Lillie and Percy. 

Alfred went to Rayne School, being admitted on 1st December 1895, leaving on 20th June 1902 to work on a farm and later became a gardener. 

Alfred Gentry enlisted at Chelmsford.


Memorial:  
Grave
Reference/
Panel Number:
Location:

CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL, Nord, France Panel 12 and 13 The small village of Louverval is on the north side of the N30, Bapaume to Cambrai road, 13 kilometres north-east of Bapaume and 16 kilometres south-west of Cambrai. The Memorial stands on a terrace in Louverval Military Cemetery, which is situated on the north side of the N30, south of Louverval village. CWGC signposts on the N30 give advance warning of arrival at the Cemetery Situated behind a colonnade, the memorial takes the form of a semi-circular wall on which the names of the dead are carved. At the entrance is the following inscription in English and French:

TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND TO THE ENDURING MEMORY OF 7048 OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE FORCES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE WHO FELL AT THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI BETWEEN THE 20TH NOVEMBER AND THE 3RD DECEMBER 1917, WHOSE NAMES ARE HERE RECORDED BUT TO WHOM THE FORTUNES OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND HONOURED BURIAL GIVEN TO THEIR COMRADES IN DEATH
 
Theatre of War:

The Essex Regiment. He died during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917. The battle is noted for the being the first time that Tanks were used on a large scale and with some success.

 
Address given at Remembrance Sunday at All Saints, Rayne

Alfred Gentry was born on 5 August 1889.

He was part of a very large family, even by the standards of the late 19th century having nine brothers and three sisters – a total of thirteen children.

The Gentry family lived in one of the houses surrounding the Village Green Alfred’s father – William – was a blacksmith at Rayne Foundry. Alfred started at Rayne School in December 1895 and remained there until June 1902 when he left to work on Rayne Hall Farm.

Alfred was aged 23 when the war started and enlisted in the Essex Regiment at Chelmsford almost immediately. By 1917 he was in the 235th Machine Gun Corps. In July of that year the Corps joined the 12th Division of the Army at Arras in northern France. Later in the year they were fighting just outside Cambrai . Between 23 and 28 November the Division started advancing but quickly became hampered by the weather conditions and German opposition. By 28th, the advance had halted and although some ground had been gained, it was at terrible cost in terms of casualties. The Germans had not though simply been content to halt the advance, and on 30th November they launched a devastating attack on the 12th Division positions approaching from three sides. This was one of the first major engagements in the war in which tanks were extensively used. As well as tanks, the Germans also used what was described as “and intense gas barrage”.

During the course of this particular battle – a period of 13 days – there were in excess of 42,000 casualties – dead, wounded and missing on the British side and an estimated similar number by the Germans – a total which is about three times the current population of Braintree.

lfred Gentry was one of those 90,000 – being killed on 30 November 1917. As with many who were killed in these major battles, there is no known grave and Alfred is commemorated on the Cambrai memorial where the inscription reads:

“To the Glory of God and to the enduring memory of 7048 officers and men of the forces of the British Empire who fell at the Battle of Cambrai between 20th November and 3rd December 1917, whose names are here recorded but to whom the fortunes of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death”.

Alfred Arthur Gentry – at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember him.