Service: 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Service No: 10035
Date & place of birth: Baptised at Rogate on 14 June 1891
Date & place of death: 28 April 1915 (aged 23), Battle of Ypres [St Jean]
Gilbert James was born in Rogate and would have appeared to have joined the Army in about 1911.
Gilbert James Parfect was the fifth son of Edgar Parfect, who was born in Headley, Hampshire, a domestic gardener, and his wife Mary, who was born in Stratton Audley, Oxfordshire.
In 1891, the family lived in South Street, Rogate while in 1901 their address in the census was given as Habin Hill. It is thought likely that they still lived in the same house but the address described differently as South Street and Habin Hill are the same road. In 1901, Gilbert James was at school while his father was still a domestic gardener. At the time of the 1911 census, Edgar and Mary were living on their own, possibly at Dangstein Lodge.
From a report that appeared in the West Sussex Gazette on 6 May 1915 it would seem that Gilbert James had served in the 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps for four years. Military records record that he enlisted at Shorncliffe. At the time of his death he was serving as Batman to a Captain Martin. It was in a letter from Mrs Martin that Edgar and Mary heard of the news of their son’s death.
Death and commemoration
From the letter Mrs Martin sent to Edgar and Mary Parfect it is understood that the Brigade of which the 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps was part, was hurried up to Ypres.
Captain Martin and James Gilbert were in a house being shelled. They had been in the cellar and, just as they came out, a shell burst killing Parfect and Captain Martin’s General.
There is some confusion about the actual date of death. Mrs Martin’s letter says 26 April while Army records state 28 April.
Gilbert James Parfect is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres and also on the Rogate War Memorial.