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|Subject: JOHN ALFRED GISSING, LIEUTENANT OF ORDERLIES, ARMY HOSPITAL CORPS. Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:32 pm|| |
"Lieutenant of Orderlies John Alfred Gissing, who died on board the steam-ship “Roman,” in Mossell
Bay, South Africa, on 3 January 1879, was the son of Mr. F.J. Gissing of the Wickham Skeith Abbey, Norfolk.
He was born in 1841, and was educated in London. On 9 December 1861, at the age of twenty years, he entered
Her Majesty’s service as a private, joining the depôt of the 30th Regiment at Parkhurst Barracks, Isle of Wight.
He was promoted to the rank of Corporal in October 1863; and to that of Sergeant in March 1865. On the
occasion of the arrival of the Prince of Wales at Cowes, after his marriage, Sergeant Gissing formed one of the
guards of honour.
In 1865 he proceeded to Canada to join the head-quarters of the 30th, then at Montreal: he served with the
regiment at that city’ at Quebec (where he attended at the great fire in the Lower Town, in 1866); at Point
Lewis; at Halifax, Nova Scotia; and at the little village of Camperdown, where he acted as Director of Signals.
Shortly afterwards he was appointed Hospital Sergeant to the regiment – an appointment which he retained
until, in 1874, he was transferred to the Army Hospital Corps.
Returning home with the regiment, he arrived in Ireland on 1 June 1869, and served for two years at
Waterford and Dublin. In 1871 he proceeded with the regiment to Jersey; from thence, in 1872, to Aldershot;
and from thence, in 1873, to the forts on Portsdown Hills, near Portsmouth. Early in the following year he was
transferred to the Army Hospital Corps. His comrades took advantage of the occasion of his leaving them to
bestow on him some small token of their regards, and at a meeting of the mess, held in his honour, his brother
sergeants testified, in many kindly phrases, to the high estimation in which they held him. He was ordered to the
Hilsea Station Hospital, and there took over the duties of compounder, and, subsequently, those of ward master
and steward; in the tenure of these appointments he acquitted himself so creditably as to win the approbation of
all with whom he was thrown in contact, and 9 June 1877, his zeal and ability were rewarded by Commissioned
rank being bestowed upon him. He was shortly afterwards ordered to Aldershot, where, on his arrival, he took
over the duties of paymaster; proceeding, subsequently, to Preston, he was appointed officer in charge of the
hospital, and district visiting officer.
In October 1878, Lieutenant Gissing was ordered out to South Africa, in view of the impending
hostilities with the Zulus. Passing through Aldershot, he proceeded, with a detachment of the corps, to
Southampton; embarked with it at that port early in November and arrived at Cape Town at the end of the
month. His health, which for some time had been failing, now became seriously impaired, notwithstanding
which, he begged earnestly to be allowed to proceed to the front. His request being compiled with, he embarked
for Natal, and landed at Durban on 12th December. The barracks lay two miles distant from the landing stage,
and over a portion of the route he had to be supported in the arms of his comrades. No sooner had he arrived that
his case was found to be so serious as to necessitated his being at once invalided home. He was accordingly."
Source: The South Africa Campaign of 1878/1879 By Ian Knight and Dr Adrian Greaves.