Tuesday, July 30, 2013

grave post - Gilbert

Albert died in the line of duty in the stable of Hall's general store when the floor of the hayloft collapsed trapping him underneath.

Around 10:30 P.M. on July 16th a fire was discovered in a stable at the rear of Hall's Grocery Store at the corner of Parliament and Sydenham Streets. Upon arrival #1 Hook and Ladder was ordered to open up the roof and assist the Hose companies with advancing into the building. While two laddermen operated on the roof, Fire Fighter Albert Gilbert entered the building with a pike pole to help dig at the deep seated flames. All of a sudden the roof collapsed. Several men were trapped,  Chief Ardagh quickly regrouped his men and began rescue operations. Two members of #1 H&L who were operating on the roof were pulled out first. Over the next few minutes the other five men were also pulled out and rushed to the General Hospital or private doctors offices for treatment. As some control returned to the scene, Captain Frank Hall of #1 H&L was taking a roll call of his remaining men when he realized that Fireman Gilbert was missing. Rescue efforts were started anew by the Captain in Charge (Chief Ardagh had left for the hospital to enquire about his injured son, also a firefighter). Almost an hour later Gilbert's body was found. He had died instantly, being decapitated by the falling roof. His hook was still in his hand.     From the Toronto Fire Fighters Assoc. Researched by Jon Lasiuk

Albert Gilbert was born September 14th 1835 in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, England to William and either Leah or Ann (reports differ) and had a brother Charles. The Gilberts were a long line of bakers and Charles took over his father's business. Just what prompted Albert to emigrate to Canada is not known. He and Letitia Whiteside were married in 1856 though whether that was in England or Canada is uncertain. This simple flat stone over Albert's gravesite is at the Necropolis in Toronto.


  1. Another brave man taken in the line of duty. Thank goodness it was reasonably fast.

    1. It was certainly a dangerous time for firefighters. Certainly more so than for bakers.

  2. Goodness, what a horrible way to lose your life. I'm not sure if comfort should be gained from the fact it was instant.

    I have been unable to find a marriage index for a Letitia Whiteside and Albert Gilbert, so it seems likely they married in Canada.

    Fascinating post.

    Beneath Thy Feet

  3. This is a sobering post -- but I'm glad you were able to find out so much, to honor the memory of this man.
    Thank you for sharing on Taphophile Tragics!


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