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Robert Gibson was born on the 11th of November 1892, one of 9 children (siblings Elizabeth, Christina, William H, Mary Buchanan, Janet F, George J and John A W, as well as James Mcabe, an illegitimate half-brother) of Margaret Sawers Gibson (née Mcabe) and James, a coal-miner. Gibson attended The Glasgow School of Art from 1910 to 1917 as an evening student of drawing and painting and life drawing. He was presumably exempt from military service during this period because he was working as a coal-miner, but in 1918 his registration for that year at The Glasgow School of Art was cancelled as he was serving in the army, as a 2nd Lieutenant in The Scottish Rifles. Gibson is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.
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