Burial register ID: 13791
Surname: GILBERT
First name: WILLIAM
Middle names:
Gender: Male
Age: 75 Years
Cause of death: Unknown
Burial type:
Date of death: 18-Mar-1922
Date of burial: 21-Mar-1922

Block: 196
Plot: 106




DIED MARCH 18, 1922






Bio contributor: Ken Wylie

William Gilbert was born on 2nd April 1847 at St Austell, Cornwall, England. His father was Thomas Gilbert and his mother Agnes Gilbert (nee Hambly). William was one of a large family of eleven children and most of them were involved in China Clay mining. On the 26th November 1857 Thomas took out a lease on four acres and twenty seven perches of waste land in St Austell for mining. William, aged ten years, lived there with two of his father’s brothers, Edward Gilbert aged twenty-two years, and John Gilbert aged eighteen years.

On 8th April 1867 William, aged twenty years, a china clay labourer, was appointed a Police Constable in the Cornwall Police. He was stationed at Launceston on 23rd August 1867, promoted to 2nd Class Constable on 8th July 1872, stationed at Helston on 21st May 1873 and resigned on 13th August 1873. William left London on 29th August 1873 on the Zealandia for New Zealand and arrived at Port Chalmers 92 days later on 29th November 1873.

On 8th December 1873 William was appointed a Police Constable at Maclaggan Street Station, Dunedin. He was subsequently stationed variously at North Dunedin, Mosgiel, Dunedin, Waimate, Kaiapoi, Queenstown, Wellington, Waimate, Dunedin and North Dunedin from where he retired on 2nd July 1912. He had been promoted over the years from Third Class Sergeant to Second Class Sergeant and finally First Class Sergeant. He had received several rewards for zeal, ability and intelligence shown in the course of bringing various prosecutions. On 14th June 1893 he was awarded the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

There were some very favourable newspaper reports involving Sergeant Gilbert. From the Wakatipu Mail, Saturday 7th November 1885:-

‘Considerable dissatisfaction has been expressed at the intention of the Police Department to remove Sergeant Gilbert in charge of the Queenstown Station to Wellington. The local justices at once wired the Premier asking that the sergeant be retained here, and yesterday received reply; “Regret that needs of service necessitate Sergeant Gilbert’s removal. He will not, however, suffer by the removal.”

The removal is considered as a promotion, but as it stands it virtually means a loss of at least 2 Shillings per day in pay on account of house rent and other expenses which will have to be borne and this to a person like the Sergeant is a serious drawback. However, there is reason to believe from the tone of Mr Stout’s telegram that this difficulty will be obviated. In this light Sergeant Gilbert is to be congratulated, although the change is our loss. The Empire city will get a good man, but this district will lose one of the best and most painstaking officers it ever had. Sergeant Gilbert will leave on Thursday or Friday next week and his successor will be, or has been chosen from the Dunedin station.’

Another report in the Timaru Herald, 28th July 1880:-

‘Petition. A numerously and influentially signed petition has been forwarded from Waimate to Mr Brosham, Superintendent of Police Christchurch, requesting that Sergeant Gilbert be not removed from that town. Sergeant Gilbert has so gained the respect and confidence of the inhabitants of the Waimate district that this effort is being made to secure his retention.’

And another report, this time in the Otago Witness of 21st July 1909 demonstrates William Gilbert’s character:-

‘Police Commission Enquiry. Sergeant Gilbert, North Dunedin, had no complaint. The quality of the junior men was not quite as good as that of the men of years ago. The force was not very attractive to young men, as they could get better wages outside the force. There was dissatisfaction as far as promotion was concerned. Witness had not had a Sunday off for 10 years, but he had no doubt if he applied for leave he would get it.’

William Gilbert married Agnes McEwen Thomson at Dunedin on 4th September 1879. They had a family of nine children, five girls and four boys.

William died on 18th March 1922 aged 75 years. He is buried with his wife Agnes who died on 14th December 1920 aged 66 years, two of his daughters, Alice Priscilla Gilbert who died on 23rd August 1905 aged 16 years, Laura Mary Cathro who died at Christchurch on 11th July 1920 aged 32 years and one of his sons, John Henry Gilbert, who died at Wellington on 12th September 1955.

There are 5 Interments in this grave:

Surname First names Age Date of death Date of burial
CATHERO LAURA M 32 Years 12-Jul-1920 14-Jul-1920
GILBERT AGNES MCEWEN 66 Years 14-Dec-1920 15-Dec-1920
GILBERT ALICE PRISCILLA 16 Years 23-Aug-1905 25-Aug-1905
GILBERT JOHN HENRY 69 Years 12-Sep-1955 29-Jun-2007
GILBERT WILLIAM 75 Years 18-Mar-1922 21-Mar-1922