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Stephen sent me a very poignant extract from the WW1 diary of his grandfather James Gant.

James enlisted into the army on 2nd December 1914 at the outbreak of WW1 as an ambulance driver into the RASC (Royal Army Service Corps). He had the rank of private, his number was M2-021182 and his commanding officer was a Colonel Skinner. According to his medal record he went to France on the 6th February 1915 and was gassed at the 2nd Battle of Ypres on May 1st 1915, requiring him to be returned back to England. He never fully recovered from the gassing and was a semi-invalid until his premature death on May 19th 1925.


Extracts from the diary of James Gant : February to March 1915 on travelling to and then serving on the Western Front

Enlisted Dec 2 1914.

Left Grove Park 5 Feb 1915. Stayed night at Marlborough, had to sleep in cars, poured rain all night. Had no rations all day. Left Marlborough for Avonmouth at 6am on Feb 6th. Had no breakfast and feeling very cold and hungry. Arrived at Avonmouth at midday in a drizzle rain. Got our cars on board the HMT Twickenham and left at 9 pm Saturday 6th Feb for Havre.

Sunday 7th at daybreak we were off Lundy Island. Rough sea and most of our men sick, me as well. Sailed down coast of Devon and Cornwall, rather misty and could not see land very well.

Monday 8th Feb 1915. Sailed round by Lands End and reached Lizard about dark.

Tuesday 9th. Arrived at Havre, had to be put all night, no berth for boat, pretty town, several gunboats in harbour. Saw a steamer sunk which had been torpedoed.

Left Havre Wednesday 10th for Rouen, sailed up the River Seine. Scenery was magnificent villages all the way up, everybody waving flags, quite pleased with our reception on French soil. Reached Rouen at 3pm same day. Had to sleep on board as our cars were not unshipped.

Thursday 11th. Cars all taken of ship to a long avenue lined with trees on the banks of the river. Slept in the cars, could do with my own bed but getting used to roughing it. No bread only biscuits . I bought bread off Chinese crew on board, a lot of thieves and rouges. Meet several of the Indian troops in Rouen. Very poor opinion of French army but think a lot of our Tommies. They were just leaving again for the front. Beautiful cathedral at Rouen. France seems very quiet you cannot think you are as near to the war. Very few men anywhere. Had no wash for 2 days.

Friday 12th Feb. Good rations today, first since left Grove Park. Cars inspected by Col Skinner, chief of Ambulance staff. Hospital train arrived loaded up with wounded. Afternoon lovely, got leave today visited cathedral, street very narrow and dirty. A lot of widows going about.

Saturday 13th. Pouring down with rain.

Sunday another wet day, nothing to do, still stuck on the banks of the river.

Feb 19th left Rouen pouring down with rain for Blangy. Camped on Market Square. Over boot tops in mud.

Feb 20th. Left Blagny for Abbeville. Stopped for dinner lined up in Market Square. More mud, stayed the night.

Feb 21st. Left Abbeville for St Omer, stopped at Fronges for lunch, passed Flying Corps base on estuary. St Omer also British soldier’s graves.

Monday left St Omer at 2-30 for Hazebrook, arrived at 5pm. Had to go on guard. Heard the guns for first time, bitter cold night.

Tuesday 23rd Feb . Got letter and box from home. How cheering for me to have some cigs.

Wednesday 24th . Received second letter with 5 shillings which was needed badly. Wrote home and to friends.

Feb 25th . Went on guard , poured all night.

Feb 26th Inspection of cars finished. Received letter from Mother, very cheering.

Feb 27th Just been inoculated. Very painful.

Feb 28th. Nothing doing after inoculation.

March Ist Kitchen fatigues getting the mess food ready. Nothing doing beautiful day.

March 2nd Stand by waiting for cases.

March 3rd Wet day. Nothing doing. One of our men died in hospital through night.

March 4th Received one box and letter from Mary when I was on guard, rotten day.

March 5th Came off guard, asked for transfer , would not give it me. Went for our march

March 6th Getting ready for army up country. Wrote home and Mrs Richardson. Received box from home. Had to go up to the front quick way.

March 7th Ordered to Billiul, 4 miles of tunnels, very heavy firing all day shook all windows in the town. Went up to the firing line with two soldiers.

March 8th Went to Locre for six men, very bad cases. Locre is in Belgium.

March 9th Went to Nieppe and Armentieres for wounded and then to Dixdebusch

March 10th Went to Dixdebusch for wounded

March 12th To Dickebosch for more wounded.

March 14 Heavy shelling day and night. Fetching in the wounded all night. Some awful sights. Working in the region St Eloi and Neuve Chapelle where 17000 German were killed.

March 15th Came back for a rest.

March 16th Nothing doing

March 17th. Went on guard

March 18th. Nothing doing.

March 19th. General Porter came and inspected us. Met young Hocknull the taxi driver.

March 22nd Three English men shot as spy.

March 28th Two generals dismissed from army.

This was the last entry and he was gassed on 1/5/1915 at the 2nd Battle of Ypres and had to return to England.

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One possible interpretation of the source of the GANT surname. I haven’t personally verified any of these facts, though there is likely to be at least some truth in the descendancy from Arnoul Count De GAND to Gilbert De GANT, Earl of Lincoln. It’s interesting to note that the De GAND family appeared to settle in Lincolnshire some 150 years before Gilbert’s birth, which may account for the fact that the GANT surname is far more common even today in the eastern counties of England than it is anywhere else in the United Kingdom.


First Generation


1. Arnoul Count De GAND was born about 984 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. (Ghent, Belgium) 

Arnoul married Lietgarde De CLEVES about 1003 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. Lietgarde was born about 987 in Cleves, Germany. 

Children from this marriage were:

+ 2 M    i. Adalbert De GAND was born about 1004 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. 

   3 F    ii. Gertrude De GAND was born about 1006 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. 

Gertrude married Count Liudolf OF BRUNSWICK Margrave in Friesland . Liudolf was born about 1016 in Brunswick, Germany and died on 23 Apr 1038, about age 22. 


  Second Generation


2. Adalbert De GAND was born about 1004 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. 

Adalbert married Ermengarde De FLANDERS about 1021 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. Ermengarde was born about 1005 in Flanders, Belgium. 

Children from this marriage were:

   4 M    i. RALPH II D’ALOST (SEIGNEUR) was born about 1009 in Normandy, France and died before 1056. 

RALPH married GISELLE OF FLANDERS about 1047 in Alost, Flanders, Belgium. GISELLE was born about 1009 in Flanders, Belgium and died after 1056.

+ 5 M    ii. Ralph De GAND was born about 1022 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. 


  Third Generation


5. Ralph De GAND was born about 1022 in Gand, Flanders, Belgium. 

Ralph married Gisele about 1047 in Alost, Flanders, Belgium. Gisele was born about 1028 in Flanders, Belgium. 

Children from this marriage were:

   6 M    i. Son De GANT was born about 1040 in France. 

+ 7 M    ii. Gilbert De GANT was born about 1048 in Alost, Flanders, Belgium, died in 1094, about age 46, and was buried in Bardney, Lincolnshire. 

   8 M    iii. Baudouin De GAND was born about 1050 in Alost, Flanders, Belgium. 


  Fourth Generation


7. Gilbert De GANT was born about 1048 in Alost, Flanders, Belgium, died in 1094, about age 46, and was buried in Bardney, Lincolnshire. 

Gilbert married Alice De MONTFORT about 1071 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. Alice was born about 1050 in Montfort-Sur-Risle, France. 

Children from this marriage were:

+ 9 F    i. Felia De GANT was born about 1070 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

   10 M    ii. Henry De GANT was born about 1072 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

   11 M    iii. Ralph De GANT was born about 1074 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

   12 M    iv. Seigneur Hugh IV De MONTFORT was born about 1078 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

Hugh married Adeline De MEULLENT .

Hugh next married Adeline (Gundrea) De BEAUMONT in Leicestershire. Adeline was born about 1152 in Cornwall.

   13 M    v. Geoffrey De GANT was born about 1080 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

   14 M    vi. Robert De GANT was born about 1084 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire and died in 1153, about age 69. 

Robert married Alice PAGNEL about 1108 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire.

Robert next married Gunnora De GOUREY about 1112 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire.

   15 M    vii. Gilbert De GANT was born about 1086 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire and died before 1094. 

   16 F    viii. Alice De GANT was born about 1088 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

+ 17 M    ix. Walter De GANT was born about 1092 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire and died in 1139, about age 47. 

   18 F    x. Emma De GANT was born about 1071 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire and was buried before 1135. 

Emma married Algernon De PERCY about 1087 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire.

   19 F    xi. Matilda De GANT was born about 1082 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

Matilda married Robert De LATHAM . 


  Fifth Generation


9. Felia De GANT was born about 1070 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

Felia married Ivo De GRENTEMESNIL about 1090 in Leicestershire. Ivo was born about 1064 in Grentemesnil, Calvados, France and died in 1118, about age 54. 

Children from this marriage were:

   20 M    i. Ivo De GRENTMESNIL was born about 1090 in Hinckley, Leicestershire. 

   21 M    ii. Baron Hugh De GRENTEMESNIL of Hinkley was born about 1092 in Hinckley, Leicestershire . 

Hugh married Alice BEAUMONT in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Alice was born about 1105 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, died in Reims, France, and was buried in St Ebruf, Utica.

Hugh next married Miss. De STUTEVILLE about 1128 in Leicestershire.

17. Walter De GANT was born about 1092 in Folkingham, Lincolnshire and died in 1139, about age 47. 

Walter married Maud De BRITTANY in Folkingham, Lincolnshire. 

Children from this marriage were:

+ 22 M    i. Gilbert De GANT was born in 1126 and died in 1156, at age 30. 

   23 M    ii. Robert De GANT . 


  Sixth Generation


22. Gilbert De GANT was born in 1126 and died in 1156, at age 30. 

Gilbert married Rohese De CLARE , daughter of Richard FITZGILBERT Lord of Clare and Adeliza De MESCHINES .

Gilbert next married Hawyse De ROUMARE . 

Children from this marriage were:

   24 F    i. Alice (Adeliz, Adelicia) De GANT . 

Alice married Simon 7th Earl of Huntingdon and Northampton .

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After rather a long break, my Gant One Name Study website is finally back online, currently showing details of 5,140 individuals and 1,723 Gant families – I will add more people to the site as often as I can.

Huge apologies to anyone who has written to me in the past 18 months or so, and has not received a reply. If you’d like to write again, I will reply as soon as I can.

Edited 18th December 2018:
The One Name Study website is well out of date and cannot be updated. See a fuller explanation here –
https://gantons.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/gant-one-name-study-website/

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Andrew Edwin GantAt Sittingbourne Council School (Kent, England) between 1904 and 1912, Andrew Gant had 8 years of perfect attendance. To mark this distinction, he had 8 bars added to his School Attendance medal. He was also presented with a splendid brass bound writing box with a commemorative plate (pictured).
Source: Countryman Magazine, March 2006

Andrew Edwin Gant (5th Jan 1899 – Jan 1992) was the son of David Gant and Charlotte Luckhurst, and descends from James Gant and Frances Curson, who married in 1807 in Whiting, Norfolk.

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E Gant, DovercourtThe image on the left is of a milk bottle, with the words “E Gant, Vicarage Farm, Dovercourt”. It’s of the type normally seen in England during the 1950s.

I have yet to positively identify this E Gant, though I’m assuming that it’s Ernest GANT (1896 – 1969). Many of Ernest’s family were farmers in Dovercourt, and apparently an Ernie GANT farmed land opposite Tollgate in Dovercourt in the 1940s. If anyone can confirm the identity of this “E Gant”, I’d be extremely grateful.

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Rodney Kimberley Greenard GANTRodney Kimberley Greenard GANT is a bit of a mystery. He was born in July 1901 in Ipswich, and registered in Sept Qtr 1901 as Rodney Kimberley GREENARD. According to the IGI, he was the son of Edward Marshall GREENARD and Jessie Susan WARNER. Edward and Jessie are on the 1901 census in Ipswich with several children – no Rodney of course, as he would have been born later that year. Jessie Susan GREENARD’s death is registered in June Qtr 1906 in Ipswich, and according to the IGI, Edward Marshall GREENARD died in 1917 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. At least 2 of the older children also died in Canada, so they may have gone with Edward after Jessie’s death.

No problems so far… except that Rodney uses the surname GANT, not GREENARD.

  • Rodney’s Navy Service Record Card (shown above) clearly has his surname as GANT.
  • Rodney Kimberley Greenard GANT married Mary McNiece NISBET in 1924 in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Maxwell Rodney Greenard GANT was born in Brisbane in 1927, presumably the son of Rodney and Mary.
  • Rodney Kimberley GANT and Mary McNiece GANT are listed on the Australian Electoral Rolls between 1930 and 1936 in New South Wales, Australia.
  • Rodney Kimberley G. GANT died in 1961 in Parramatta District, New South Wales. His parents’ names are shown on the index as George and Lucy – not Edward and Jessie as would have been expected.

So the question is – why GANT, and who are George and Lucy? I can find no record of a suitable George GANT marrying a Lucy, otherwise I would have assumed that Rodney was taken in by a George and Lucy GANT after his mother died. More research is definitely needed.

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The convict records have at last arrived, delayed no doubt by Royal Mail’s industrial action. They were worth the wait though as I now know that Caroline was indeed from my family. Caroline Gant was my Great Great Aunt, the younger sister of my Great Grandfather William Gant.  The convict records give her age as 19, but I think she may have been nearer 16 judging by the entries on the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

She was convicted at Ipswich Quarter Sessions in January 1852, sentenced to 10 years hard labour, and transported to Tasmania. Her crime – “Stealing a Petticoat and a Jacket from a Little Boy”. Just under 3 months previously, her younger sister Emma had died at eight years of age of a “continued fever”. Caroline’s father William was probably ill and unable to work at the time (he died in April 1852 of asthma and infirmity, aged 51, a month after Caroline was transported).

Her conduct on the ship was described as “fair”, all the others on the page were “good”. She was sentenced to an additional 4 months hard labour for “insolence”, and she absconded at least once while in Tasmania, earning her another 3 months hard labour and a spell in the House of Correction in Launceston. Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of her life of crime as she was convicted of “Larceny under £5” in 1861, and sentenced to another 9 months hard labour.

While in Tasmania, Caroline married John Smith (alias Samuel or Solomon Crawcour) and gave birth to two sons, Samuel Smith (1854) and William Robert Henry Smith (1856). She also had two known children by William Harris – Mary Ann Margaret (1861) and Anna Maria (1866), and at least three children by John Stanley – John Alexander Stanley (1868), Harriett Isabella Stanley (1870) and Eliza Ann Emily Jane Stanley (1873). 

Caroline died in Tasmania in 1908 as Mrs Coffey, while living with her daughter Mrs William Smedley (Harriet Isabella Stanley). The family were apparently well known in the area.

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