2697562 Grdsmn McKeand G.
Gilbert came to Hungerford when his father Mr Alexander McKeand, an enthusiastic dog breeder moved from Hampshire to take up a post at Chilton Foliat as Manager of the kennels owned by Lady Ward. He was the youngest of four children who lost their mother at the end of the First World War.
Gilbert is known to have attended Hungerford School, as his name is on the Roll of Honour in the Hall. On leaving school he was employed in service as a valet, probably at Chilton, although this is not confirmed.
He was 24 years old when he enlisted with the Scots Guards, joining the 2nd Battalion after basic training on 5 August 1940 in time to go with them to Egypt. The Battalion was to see service in Syria from September 1942 until February 1943, when they returned to North Africa to fight in the Desert and Italian campaigns.
Gilbert married on 24 July 1940, leaving his wife at their home in Stanstead Abbots, Hertfordshire, when he left for Egypt on 5 August.
The 2nd Battalion returned home in April 1944 in preparation for the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 but the unit was not used during the landings and was to remain in England until the New Year.
On 29 January 1945 the 2nd Battalion joined other forces in Northern Europe for the push towards Germany, the Scots Guards seeing action all through this area.
I was told by his brother that the Guards were in the Stuttgart area when it is understood that Gilbert stepped on a mine, receiving fatal multiple wounds.
This was on 27 April 1945 - so close to the end of the war in May. Sadly he never saw his daughter who was born two weeks after he and his unit returned to the war front.
He was buried in Becklingen War Cemetery.