Capt William Gammell
1833-1882

William Gammell was the 5th son of James Gammell of Ardiffery and his wife Sydney Holmes. He was born at Beech Hill Donoughmore, Co. Down on 12 July 1833, but while still an infant his parents moved to Edinburgh. We do not know where he was educated, as he is the only one of James' sons not to go to Edinburgh Academy. Whether this was because he was a delicate child, or for some other reason, we do not know, but neither his health nor his educational achievements prevented him from following the family tradition of going into the Army. He was duly gazetted Ensign on 12 March 1852 in the 39th Foot (The Dorset Regiment), and (by purchase)  became a Lieutenant in March 1857.  He spent no less than fifteen years with that regiment - an unusual happening in those days, possibly indicating that he had little ambition, or an inadequate supply of money to purchase commissions, but whichever it was, he never achieved higher rank than Captain.

In January 1865 he resigned from his regiment to join the Transport Commissariat, possibly because of his health or with a view to increasing his income? He was appointed an Assistant Commissary (from Barrack Clerk) in London in 1870, and in 1873 went to China, still with the Commissariat, and remained there until 1877. On his return to this country and in consequence of a departmental reorganisation, in October 1878 he went on Retired Pay.

On 24 May 1881 he was married at the Strand Registry Office in London to a widow Caroline Brennan, the daughter of a certain George Skipp. At the time of his marriage, William was residing at 10 Norfolk Street, Strand, and evidently he and his wife remained there, as it was at this address that he died on 23 March 1882, at the early age of 48, and less than a year after he was married. His wife survived him only by four years, dying of cancer in London on 30 November 1886, at the age of 46. On Caroline's death certificate, William is recorded as being late of the 87th Regiment, although other information is that he remained with the 39th throughout his whole Army career.

Capt William Gammell