Arthur C Gates 1928-1943
RMB/X 1908
Band Boy
Served 1942-1943

Arthur Cyril Gates was born in Portsmouth Hampshire on Wednesday 22nd February 1928 to parents George and Jessie (nee Church). He was raised along with younger brother Harry who was born in 1932. The family home had also been his paternal grandparents home at 7 Central Street, Fratton in Portsmouth. Arthur’s grandfather.. also named George had achieved the rank of Petty Officer in the Royal Navy in 1911.

Young Arthur enrolled as a Band Boy at the Royal Naval School of Music in 1942. He hadn’t been serving very long before he was sadly killed on 16th August 1943 aged 15, he died as a result of an air raid carried out by ninety-one planes of the Luftwaffe.
On 15th August. The Dornier 217 bombers operated from both St Andre and Dreux near Paris. After take-off, the planes funnelled together near Le Havre and headed North West across the sea flying at an altitude of 200ft to avoid the prying beams of the British radar. At a point 24 miles south of Brighton the bombers commenced their climb, aiming to arrive over Portsmouth at 15,000ft. The actual attack was delivered soon after 0100 on the morning of the 16th August and lasted about ten minutes. Afterwards the bombers turned to port and withdrew along the route they had come. Such a low-level approach to a coastal target should have given the raiders the advantage of surprise, but the RAF night fighters proved their alertness by shooting down five of the attackers.

Arthur was laid to rest in Kingston Cemetery Portsmouth, just a few streets away from where he was raised. Plot 76. Row 2. Grave 38, with the inscription:

One hundred and ninety servicemen and women killed during the Second World War are buried in Kingston Cemetery, St Mary’s Road in Portsmouth. It is the largest of the city’s three cemeteries, among them are the graves of men who were wounded in Normandy and died in Britain after being evacuated. Kingston Cemetery is also home to a mass grave of Portsmouth people who were killed during the Blitz.

Arthur’s name is also inscribed on The Royal Marine Band Service World War II Roll of Honour, which now situated in the Memorial Room, within Gibraltar Block at the Royal Marines School of Music.
At the time of Arthur’s death, his parents were listed as living in Guildford, Surrey. George passed away in 1962 and Jessie in 1982.

RIP Arthur

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