Harry Gent b. 1888 (5th son of John Gent b 1848)
Harry left Southampton on 26 May 1911 on the Garth Castle bound for the Capetown, South Africa. We found him on the passenger list of the Union Castle Mail Steamshop Company. He was an engineer and seems to have left Whittle le Woods, where he worked in a dye factory, with some friends to try his luck in the gold mines of South Africa.
[copy of passenger shipping note}
Alice wrote a card with her photograph on the reverse side to her brother ‘Billy’ on 30 May (noon)
“Please accept the enclosed with my best wishes for a happy birthday and many happy returns of the day. Is this p.c. any clearer than the other I sent. I think this is a very good photo, do you? Have been too busy and upset to write but will do so soon. We had a p.c. from Southampton on Sun they were on board. Love to all. From Alice.”
He went to work in the New Kleinfontein gold mine which was situated near the town of Boksburg on the East Rand. Gold was first discovered there in 1894 and gold mining began in 1897. It is estimated that at the closure of the mine in 1967 approximately 298,000kg of gold had been recovered principally from the Main Reef. It was the scene of riots and shootings in a famous “July Strike” in 1913. The owners of the gold mine reduced wages and within days it had escalated into a general strike involving the railways, trams and almost the entire industry on the gold reef. It is interesting also that for the first time they had black workers striking with the whites. General unrest continued until the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914.
Harry died on 26 August 1950.