21st Division 1914-18...a divisional history

Brigadier-General G M Gloster


Brigadier-General Gloster, Dorset Regiment, had some experience from the North West Frontier and the Tirah Expedition. This was followed by service in the South African war, seeing action at Ladysmith.

By the wars beginning he was an old officer but was kept in command perhaps as the best of the Brigade commanders. Certainly by the end of the Battle of Loos he stood out. With Nickalls missing presumed killed and with Wilkinson seemingly putting in a poor performance it fell to Gloster to assume temporary command of the Division when Forestier-Walker was sent home in November 1915, until Claud Jacob arrived. And then again for almost a month, in 1916, when Jacob left and the Division awaited the arrival of Campbell.

When David Campbell assumed command of the division, he had Gloster sent home upon hearing of his age,(1) on 13th June, seemingly without any thought to his abiltiy,  Wilkinson was also sent home at the same time.

Perhaps an ignoble end for an officer who had walked into the guns at Loos and done his duty. But then Campbell most probably realised that it was younger men who would be needed to lead the Division on the Somme.

Gloster continued to serve in other capacities throughout the war and was created a CMG (The most distinguished Order of St Michael and St George) on 5th Feb 1917. He was also mentioned in despatches for services during the war.

He died in a London Nursing home on Saturday 14th April 1928, a small obituary in the times marked his passing.


(1)...It appears that Campbell was under the mistaken impression that Gloster was 62 yoa at the time, in fact he was around fifty!