War Memorials - Surnames K

Index

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KELLY, Bernard (New 04/10/2016)
KEMP, Arthur Frederick (Updated 14/07/2016)
KENNEDY, Walter (Revised 04/01/2012)
KERR, Hugh Wilfred (New 25/06/2017)
KIRK, Arthur (New 18/07/2017)
KIRKCALDY, Douglas (Revised 08/05/2009)
KITCHERSIDE, Edwin, (Revised 05/10/2014)
KITE, Ralph Bertram (Updated 10/06/2012)
KNIGHT, Stanley Horace (Updated 02/01/2015)
KNIGHTS, John Percy (Revised 18/09/2010)
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KELLY Bernard, Pioneer. 120161.

Royal Engineers (RE).
Died 15 February 1916, aged 41.


Bernard's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Bernard's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2016

Bernard Kelly was born in 1875 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Producing a definitive short biography for Bernard has proved extremely difficult due to conflicting information or complete lack of records, as will be seen when you read on.

Bernard's 'burnt' service papers have survived and tell us that he attested on 17 September 1915 in Whitehall, London. He gave his age as 40, occupation as plasterer's labourer, and he stated that he was single. He was 5 feet 6¼ inches tall, had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 2 inches, was a Roman Catholic, and lived at The Huts, Rossington Village, Yorkshire.

Bernard's next-of-kin was initially stated as his brother John, of County Longford, Ireland. However this has been struck through and a 'wife', Christina Kelly, who was living at 11 Queen Mary Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow, had been added. She claimed that Bernard had married her, Christina Campbell, on 7 February 1902 in Glasgow and that they had had four children, all born in Glasgow:
  • Mary born 11 November 1902
  • John born 28 November 1904
  • Lena born 12 September 1906
  • Isabella Jones Hannah born 6 December 1910.
Christina also claimed Bernard had deserted his family sometime in 1910 and she had not heard from him since. However, as yet, no Scottish marriage or birth records for the children have been found to support any of her claims.

Bernard went to France with 'D' Company, 8th Labour Battalion RE on 24 September 1915 but had been in France for only three weeks when, on 14 November, he was admitted to No. 14 General Hospital in Wimereux, France, suffering with severe bronchitis. He was evacuated back to England aboard HMHS Anglia and was admitted to the County of London War Hospital (Horton) on 17 November. It was the misfortune of HMHS Anglia to strike a mine in the English Channel and sink.

Bernard's case was reviewed on 20 December 1915 and when a 'Medical Report on an Invalid' was produced the following was noted. He was suffering with tuberculosis of the right lung, which had probably commenced about the middle of October 1915. In France he had been working in the wet, digging trenches, and putting down barbed wire. Having developed a cough he was given 'Medicine and Duty' for a week but was then sent to hospital at Boulogne, after which he was sent home. On the way across the Channel in the 'Anglia' the ship was mined, and sank. Bernard, who was in the water for about 20 minutes before being rescued, had a history of winter coughs for the last three years, aggravated by exposure to wet and cold.

The following is a letter written on 3 March 1916 by Medical Officer in charge of K Ward, A. J. Peatling:
No. 120161 Pioneer B. Kelly R.E. Admitted into this Hospital Nov.17:15. with Acute Bronchitis. He suffered from Bronchitis every winter for the last 5 or 6 years. He got his usual winter attack in France and was invalided. After being in hospital in France, he was transferred to England. He was on the 'Anglia' when mined, and was in the water 15 or 20 minutes before being rescued.
On admission he was suffering from a very acute bronchitis. He somewhat recovered. After 3 or 4 weeks it became apparent that he was suffering from miliary Tuberculosis of both lungs. Bac.: Tuberculosis was found in the sputum at first. With difficulty, afterwards in numbers his condition grew worse. He developed hypostasis of both lungs.
He died Feb.15:16.
His disease was not caused by Military Duty, but was aggravated by the conditions of active service.
(Sgd) A. J. Peatling,
M.O. i/c K. Ward
Bernard was buried on 21 February 1916 in grave K645 in Epsom Cemetery and is commemorated there on the Screen Wall. He shares the grave with eight other soldiers.

Army Form B 104-90 dated 25 February 1916 reported that there had been no allotment of pay nor a separation allowance paid. Such payments would normally have been made to a man's wife.

A letter from the War Office to the RE officer in charge of records, dated 23 August 1916, stated that all of Bernard's personal property and his medals should be sent to his brother John Kelly at Barrack Street, Granard, Co. Longford. However, another letter from the War Office to the RE officer in charge of records, dated 16 June 1920, cancelled the 23 August 1916 letter and required that all of Bernard's personal property and his medals be sent to his wife Mrs Christina Kelly at 11 Queen Mary Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow.

On 3 June 1918 Bernard's 'widow' wrote the following, countersigned by a J.P.
120161 Pnr. B. Kelly R.E. Died 15.2.16.
I have 4 children and the above enlisted and left me no sept. allowance. Is it possible for me to get a grant or pension. I heard he left all his money to his brothers but some of them returned it.
C Kelly.
Declared before me this day 3rd June 1918. James W. Shant J.P.
In a letter from the Ministry of Pensions dated 17 September 1918, Bernard's 'widow' was granted a pension of 20/- (£1) a week for her four children, with effect from 1 May 1918.

Bernard was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. The receipt for his 1914-1915 Star was signed by his brother John. The British War medal and the Victory medal were signed for by a Mrs. Mary K. Kelly.

When John Kelly married Isabelle Quinn in 1928, he gave Bernard Kelly (deceased) as his father and Christina Kelly (nee Campbell) as his mother.

The 1930 Scottish Register of Voters recorded Christina and her daughter Lena Kelly as still living at 11 Queen Mary's Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow.

In August 1930 Bernard's 'widow' wrote to the RE headquarters in Chatham as follows:
Dear Sir, Please forward to the above address a record card of the late Bernard Kelly 120161 a pioneer in the Royal Engineers. As an applicant for the elderly widows pensions I require it badly. This is the only chance I have of procuring one, as I was deserted in 1910 and the National Health Insurance didn't begin until 1912. His enlistment in that regiment was the first I heard of him since then.
Kindly Oblige
Mrs. Christina Kelly
She received a reply dated 15 August 1930 stating that for the purposes of the 'Widows' Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925', Bernard's military service was:
Attested 17 September 1915
Died 15 February 1916.
In another letter dated 17 August 1930 she wrote:
Dear Sir, As the widow of the late pioneer Bernard Kelly 120161 Royal Engineers I am making a claim for the elderly widows pension. Before doing so I require a record card of his previous employment. I am at a loss regarding any information on this subject as I was deserted in 1910. I already made a claim for war pension but I was informed I was ineligible for same. any information regarding the above will be gladly accepted by me.
Kindly Oblige
Mrs. Christina Kelly
On 23 August 1930 she received the following reply:
Madam, With reference to your letter of 17 August relative to Bernard Kelly, I am directed to inform you that there is no information in the Department as to the name of his employer prior to his enlistment in 1915, but on enlistment he declared his Trade or Calling as Labourer.
I am, Madam, Your obedient Servant,
H.G. OARE
CWGC

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KEMP Arthur Frederick, Private. 22015.

1st Garrison Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.
Died 10 July 1916, aged 46.


Arthur's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Arthur's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2016

Few records have survived for Arthur, so little is known about him. Arthur's GRO death entry tells us that he was aged 46 when he died in the Epsom registration district. The Soldiers Died CD states that he was born in Norwich but the only GRO birth registration of an Arthur Frederick Kemp is Sep 1870 Birmingham 6d 161. The Soldiers Died CD also states that he formerly served as G/13936 in the Middlesex Regiment, but this is the only reference found naming the Middlesex Regiment.

No likely census returns have been found.

Arthur's medal card states that he was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal, and that he first served in theatre of war 2b (Gallipoli and Aegean Islands) commencing 11 November 1915. The 1st Garrison Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment went to Egypt in October 1915 and later moved to Palestine and Salonika.

Arthur's 'Soldiers Effects' record records him as Private 22015 in the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment and that his sole legatee was a Mrs. Alice J. Wooldridge. Who Mrs. Wooldridge was remains a mystery.

Arthur died in Horton War Hospital on 10 July 1916 and was buried in Grave K645 in Epsom Cemetery on 14 July. He shares the grave with eight other soldiers and is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

CWGC

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KENNEDY Walter, Sergeant. G/19115.

8th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment.
Formerly Corporal 4733, 5th Lancers and Sergeant 2244, West Kent Yeomanry.
Killed in Action 23 March 1918, aged 35.

Walter Kennedy
Walter Kennedy
Image courtesy of Walter's grandson Kenneth Kennedy © 2010

Walter Kennedy Rozycki, son of Matilda Brimall Rozycki, was born on 27 February 1883 at 14, Little Chapel Street, Westminster, London (GRO reference: Jun 1883 Westminster 1a 524). The name of his biological father on his birth registration form has been left blank.

Note: Walter has the middle initial 'G' shown on two surviving records. It appears on his Boer War medal roll, and is engraved on a watch presented to him on 12 April 1913 whilst he was serving with the 5th Lancers. But as his birth registration records his christen names only as Walter Kennedy, the extra 'G' remains a mystery.

Walter's mother Matilda had married Alexander Rozycki in 1874 when she was aged 19, and had three known children by him: Vernon Alexander, Lillian Eleanor (registered as Elizabeth) and Reginald who died in infancy. There may have been a fourth child, Elizabeth Margaret Mary Rozycki.

In the 1881 census, before Walter was born, his mother Matilda Rozycki was recorded as head of the family, married and working as a waistcoat maker. Living with her at 42, Broad Street, Berwick Street, Westminster, London were her two oldest children Vernon and Lillian.

On 23 October 1883, eight months after Walter's birth, his mother's husband filed divorce petition, citing one Hugh Kennedy as co-respondent. The final decree was on 9 March 1886, leaving Alexander Rozycki with custody of son Vernon Alexander and his ex-wife Matilda, custody of their daughter Lillian Eleanor, for whom he paid maintenance of 5 shillings (25p) a week.

(Further research undertaken by Kennedy family members has found that Walter's father may have been Hugh Walter Osborne Kennedy, born 1840 in Ireland. In 1864 he married Eliza Anne Davis in Dublin where Hugh gave his occupation as 'journeyman tailor'. Shortly after their marriage they moved to London, and this is where their first child Martha was born in 1866.

They went on to have five more known children together: William, Catherine (Kate), James born in Ireland, Eliza born in Scotland and Mary Jane born in early 1881 back in Westminster. The family appear in the 1881 census as living at 19, Eversley Buildings, St Clements Dane, Westminster, London. Hugh and Matilda may have met through their shared tailoring profession. It would seem that Hugh could not marry Matilda, even after her 1886 divorce, as he was still married to Eliza. However, Eliza lists herself as a widow in the 1891 and 1901 censuses.)

Hugh and Matilda had a further three known children. Walter's brother Robert was born on 10 August 1886 at 63, Castle Street, Leicester Square, London, followed in 1887 by Sidney who died the following year. Walter's sister Cecilia Matilda Kennedy was born on 10 April 1889 at 56, Sardinia Dwellings, Little Wild Street, St Giles, London. On her birth certificate her father was named as 'Hugh Kennedy, a tailor', and her mother as 'Matilda Elizabeth Kennedy, formerly Brimall'. However on her baptism entry, her father is named as 'Hugh Rozycki, a tailor'. To confuse matters still, when Cecelia married James Wesson in 1909 in the Brentford registration district, she named her father as 'Jack Kennedy, a tailor'.

Hugh and Matilda appear living together with their children in the 1891 census at 22, New North Street, Holborn, London. Matilda Rozycki was named as the head of the household and as a widowed tailoress. Hugh Kennedy was recorded as a tailor, who was a married lodger living there with his three children, Walter aged 8, Robert aged 5 and one year old Cecelia. Whether or not Hugh and Matilda eventually married is uncertain but Matilda Brimall Rozycki is recorded as Matilda Kennedy on her daughter Cecilia's birth certificate in 1889, and on her own death certificate after she died aged 47 in 1902, in the Kensington infirmary.

Walter's surviving but badly damaged Great War service record papers state that he had previously served 16 years and 68 days in the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers. Walter served in the Second Boer War in South Africa (11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902). He was awarded the Queens South Africa medal with two clasps, Natal and Belfast. His service in South Africa would account for him not being found in the 1901 census. His parents and siblings have yet to be found in the 1901 census.

Walter's Boer War Medal
Walter's Boer War Medal
Image courtesy of Kenneth Kennedy © 2012

Walter's Watch The inscription on Walter's Watch
Walter's Watch and inscription
Image courtesy of Kenneth Kennedy © 2012

Aged 28, Walter was still a bachelor when he married 27-year-old spinster Margaret Alice Ashby on 14 January 1911 in All Souls, St Margaret's on Thames, Hounslow (GRO Reference: Mar 1911 Brentford 3a 171). Margaret's father was shown as Ephraim William Ashby and Walter's father as Hugh Kennedy, a tailor. The entry also tells us that Walter was a soldier from Marlborough Barracks in Dublin at the time of his marriage.

In the 1911 census Walter's wife Margaret was working as a domestic servant for Samuel Procter, living at 5, Canterbury Mansions, West Hampstead, NW. Walter has not been found in the 1911 census.

Walter and Margaret's son Kenneth Reginald Kennedy was born 17 April 1914 in Epsom Surrey.

Amongst Walter's surviving service record papers is a 'MEDICAL INSPECTION REPORT'. The top half of the form shows that Walter had a successful medical examination in Epsom on 3 November 1915, where he was declared to be in good physical condition and fit for military service in the Territorial Forces. He gave his age as 32, was measured at 5 feet 9 inches tall, having a 37-inch chest with a 4½-inch expansion, but his vision not quite perfect, 6/6 for left eye and 6/9 for right eye. Interestingly the bottom half of the form dated 23 November 1915 states that he was 'inspected' at the 'Administrative Centre' Drill Hall, Union Street, Maidstone, Kent and considered fit for service in the West Kent Yeomanry.

On the same day, 23 November 1915, in Maidstone, he attested into the West Kent Yeomanry, giving his address as 8, Oakdale Road, West Ewell, Surrey. He also stated that he had previously served 16 years and 68 days in the 5th Lancers and had claimed discharge. As he was only 32 at the time he must have been discharged recently, and between discharge and attesting had worked for the LCC at the Ewell Colony.

Walter received inoculations on 7 December 1915.

He was quickly promoted on 1 February 1916 to the rank of Lance Corporal and by May to Sergeant. For nearly 13 months he served at Home before being posted, on 20 December 1916, to France where he was transferred into the 8th West Kent Regiment. On 14 June 1917, in the Field hospital he received treatment for an abscess on his left knee.

The 8th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, part of the 72nd Brigade 24th Division, was holding a line near Pontru and Le Verguier (North west of St Quinten) France when Walter was first reported wounded and missing on 23 March 1918. On 21 March 1918 the Germans launched 'The Kaiserschlacht' or 'Kaiser's Battle', their final desperate bid for victory before the Americans arrived in force. The attack, code named operation Michael finally petered out on 5 April. It had gained for the Germans hundreds of square miles of territory, and restored a war of mobility, but had not broken the British lines, and had created for them immense problems in supplying their troops over broken ground.

Walter's service record later states:
Death assumed on or since 23 March 1918
The War Office officially accepted him as dead on 1 April 1919. His widow Margaret informed them on 25 April 1919 that she was moving from 8, Oakdale Rd, West Ewell Surrey to 4, Brook Road, St. Margarets, Twickenham.

On 2 June 1920 Margaret was requested to fill in a form listing her late husband's living relatives names. Margaret filled in the part for his mother, father and grandparents as 'None' and that his brother was 'Killed in War'.

She also listed Walter's sister as 'the late Mrs Wesson, died on 21 March 1920' and her children possibly named Isabelle, Florence and Dorothy but the record is too water marked to read clearly any details. The faded name of one of Walter's nephews could be Edward Wesson, but no definite birth record has been found.

Margaret wrote to the War Office on 31 May 1921 informing them that she was "thinking about going abroad in August" and could any medals or anything else entitled to her late husband be sent to her before then. Margaret did leave England, with her son Kenneth, on board the "Berengaia" and landed on 14 August 1921 in New York. The entry on the passengers list states that her reason for entering the USA was to marry one William Ergert who lived at 1898 Knight Street San Francesco. However on the San Francesco 1930 USA census, William Ergert is recorded as Margaret Alice Kennedy's 'Roomer', not her husband.

The War Office later sent a standard letter to Walter's widow Margaret's last known address 4 Brook Road St Margarets Twickenham, but this was returned, having been filled in by her father E Ashby, saying that Margaret had now gone to San Francisco California USA.

On 4 March 1922 Margaret acknowledge the receipt of the Victory and British War medals that had been awarded to Walter.

Margaret returned to England several times and, according to a family tree online with Ancestry.com, she died in here in London. Her last listed journey back from England to California was in 1947.

Walter and Margaret's son Kenneth died in 2000 in San Mateo, California, USA.

Walter is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, France.

Walter's inscription on the Pozières Memorial
Walter's inscription on the Pozières Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

His name does not appear on any memorial so far located in the Borough, but he is remembered in the book, and now CD 'RECORD OF WAR SERVICE London County Council Staff 1914 - 1918'. He had worked at the 'Ewell Colony' (St Ebbas). Three of his colleagues from the Ewell Colony also died: Thomas Bailey, James Childs and John Martin Mace, but they are commemorated on other Borough memorials.

With thanks to Walter's grandson Kenneth Kennedy for information provided.

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KERR Hugh Wilfred, Private. 461162.

44th Battalion Canadian Infantry.
Died of Wounds and Pneumonia 10 November 1916, aged 19.


Hugh's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Hugh's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

Hugh Wilfred Kerr was born in Newboro, Ontario, Canada on 12 January 1897, the son of John Richard and Agnes Maud Kerr (nee Sharman).

The 1901 Canadian census records that 4 year old Hugh, of Irish descent, was living with his parents and siblings Laurence aged 5 and Frederick aged 1.

Aged 18 years and eight months, Hugh attested on 26 August 1915 in Winnipeg. He was six feet tall, weighed 160 lbs, had a chest measurement of 30 inches, 35 inches fully expanded, a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He worked as a clerk and his religion was recorded as Wesleyan.

In the 1916 Canadian census, Hugh aged 19 was living with his parents, his brother Frederick aged 16 and his 13 year old sister Maud.

Hugh embarked from Halifax, Canada on 1 April 1916, serving with the 61st Overseas Battalion, aboard SS Olympic arriving at Shorncliffe, Kent on 11 April. Then on 12 May he transferred to the 44th Battalion at Bramshott Camp.

On 16 June 1916 Hugh wrote a Military Will in which he left everything he owned to his mother who lived at 294 Edmonton Street, Winnipeg.

On 10 August 1916 he sailed to France, disembarking at Le Havre on 12 August. Hugh spent 18 September with, and presumably being treated by, No.13 Field Ambulance suffering with scabies.

The following is an extract from the 44th Battalion War Diary:
24/10/16 8p.m. Raining. The Battalion were to have attempted to take REGINA TRENCH from M14b2.3 to M13b4.1 Sheet 57c, but owing to weather conditions operations were suspended for 24 hours. Lieut F.G. CHURCH was evacuated to O.R.C, suffering from laryngitis. Furnished a party of 60 O.R. to carry rations to the front line.

25/10/16 9p.m. Raining during morning but clearing during afternoon. Battalion attempted to capture REGINA TRENCH under Operation Order No.9. The operation failed owing to insufficiency of Artillery Barrage. The Battalion suffered heavily. Three officers, Capt W.H. Grant, Lieut W.R. Notman and Lieut W.R. Wilson were killed and seven officers, Capt C.S. Belcher, Lieut N.C.M. Brown, Lieut N.C Thompson, Lieut R. Fowler, Lieut C. FitzRandolph, Lieut F.O. King and Lieut W. Ross, were wounded and Lieut J.E. Shoultz was evacuated for Shell Shock. 37 O.R. were killed, 125 wounded, 13 missing believed killed and 13 missing. The Battalion are being relieved by 50th Bn. tonight and moving to TARA HILL. The Transport Base were ordered to move and moved from BRICKFIELDS to W29a Sheet 57d, during the day. The Transport had also to move field kitchens and blankets to TARA HILL for the troops.

26/10/16 8p.m. The Battalion rested during the day. The condition of their clothes and equipment was deplorable and shows the hardships they had to endure during the tour. Many of the men suffering from exhaustion and exposure. Day fine and promising fine weather but tonight threatening wet and cold.
On 25 October 1916 Hugh was wounded by shell fire, receiving wounds to his left ear, shoulder and left hand. He was treated by No. 13 Field Ambulance and No.11 Casualty Clearing Station before being admitted to No. 26 General Hospital, Etaples the next day. On 1 November he was evacuated back to England aboard HS St. David and was admitted to Horton War Hospital on 2 November, where he died at 4.30pm on 10 November 1916. His cause of death was recorded as Pneumonia and Pulmonary Embolism. But would he have contracted pneumonia had he not been wounded?

He was buried on 15 November 1916 in grave K748 in Epsom Cemetery where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

Hugh's British War medal, Victory medal, Plaque, Scroll and Memorial Cross were sent to his parents in the early 1929s.

CWGC

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KIRK Arthur, Private. 3031648.

4th Battalion Canadian Infantry.
Died 29 January 1919, aged 21.

Arthur's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Arthur's inscription on the CWGC memorial Epsom.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2017

Arthur Kirk was born on 26 May 1897 in Lakeport, Ontario, Canada, the son of Henry and Elizabeth Kirk (nee Cowie). They lived at 331 Church Street, Ontario.

The 1901 Canadian census tells us that Arthur's 39 year old Father was of Irish descent and that his 34 year old mother was of Scottish descent. Arthur was recorded aged 4, as well as his 76 year old grandmother Margrete Kirk and siblings, Walter aged 8, Harry aged 7 and Annie aged 7 months.

The 1911 Canadian census records another sibling, Ellen aged 2.

Aged 20 years and 5 months, Arthur was conscripted in Toronto on 13 October 1917. He was 5 feet 3¾ inches tall, weighed 136 lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 4 inches. He had a medium complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and worked as a 'Mail Clerk'. He was unmarried, named his mother as next-of-kin and was a Presbyterian. On 17 January Arthur made a will, leaving everything he owned to his mother.

Arthur embarked from Halifax, Canada on 21 February 1918 aboard SS Megantic and arrived in Liverpool, England on 4 March. He was taken on the strength of the 3rd Reserve Battalion at Witley, Hampshire.

On 9 June 1918 he was admitted to No. 12 Canadian General Hospital at Bramshott, Hampshire suffering with catarrhal jaundice and on 14 August he sent to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Bearwood, Wokingham, Berkshire, from which he was discharged on 30 August. On 25 September 1918 he was transferred to the 4th Battalion at Witley, went to France the next day and joined his unit, the 4th Battalion on 3 October. The battalion had recently been engaged in heavy fighting but on 3 October the 'Battalion moved into CAGNICOURT AREA Bivouacs'.

During October the battalion was involved in more attacks but it was not long before Arthur was diagnosed with P.U.O. (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin), and admitted to No. 1 Canadian Field Ambulance on 1 November 1918. Then on 12 November he was admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester suffering with bronchitis, was transferred to the Canadian convalescent hospital, Epsom on 3 December and to the Manor hospital, Epson on 11 January 1919 where he died on 29 January. In surviving records the cause of death is variously recorded as jaundice, bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia and influenza.

Arthur was buried on 4 February 1919 in Grave K84 in Epsom Cemetery, where he is commemorated on the Screen Wall.

Arthur's British War medal, Victory medal, Plaque, Scroll and Memorial Cross were sent to his parents in the early 1920s.

CWGC

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KIRKCALDY Douglas, Sergeant. 20593.

1st Battalion Border Regiment.
Killed in Action 1 July 1916, aged 29.

Douglas's headstone in the Hawthorn Ridge Cemetery No2
Douglas's headstone in the Hawthorn Ridge Cemetery No2
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Douglas Kirkcaldy was born in 1887. However, his given name was William Frederick Thomas Cottam (GRO reference: Mar 1887 Reigate 2a 174). The CWGC states that the true family name was Cottam, and his 'burnt' service record 'Effects - Form 118A' shows Douglas Kirkcaldy as, 'alias William Fred Thomas Cottam'. When and why he chose to change his name is not known. His parents were John Henry and Elizabeth Cottam (nee Packham), married in the June 1883 quarter.

In the 1891 census the family lived at 56, Earlswood Road, Redhill. Douglas' father was a 29 year old labourer in a Fuller's earth pit. His mother was also 29. He had three siblings, Alice aged 7, John Henry aged 5 (not found in Free BMD), and Eliza May aged 11 months.

In 1901 the family lived at 40, Earlswood Road, Redhill. Douglas' father was now a general labourer. Alice was working as a domestic housemaid, and John Henry was a railway porter. Another five siblings had been born, Florence Annie aged 8, Ellen Kate aged 7, Edith Rose aged 4, Matilda aged 3 and Francis aged 9 months. Douglas (alias William Frederick Thomas) has not been found in the census.

Douglas first joined the Army on 14 January 1902 attesting at Shoeburyness into the Royal Garrison Artillery. He would have been 15 years old at that time, but he stated that his age was 18. He was a tall lad for those days at 5 feet 10 inches, so would have had no trouble convincing the recruiting sergeant that he was 18. His 'Trade or Calling' was as a cellarman. He weighed 136 lbs, had a chest measurement of 33 ½ inches minimum to 35 inches maximum, had fair hair, brown eyes, fair complexion, and his religion was Wesleyan. He had some distinguishing marks. An oval scar 1 ½ inches above his left clavicle and on the back of his right forearm he had tattoos of a rifle and the letters 'W.C.'. Perhaps the letters W.C. were to remind him that his real name was William Cottam. Captain R Lewis of the RAMC considered him 'Fit for the Army'.

Douglas served 12 years with the colours, being posted as follows:
14 January 1902 to 3 February 1904 - Shoeburyness England
4 February 1904 to 3 November 1908 - India
4 November 1908 to 28 August 1910 - Aden
29 August 1910 to 1 November 1911 - India
2 November 1911 to 13 January 1914 - England
Some highs and lows from Douglas' Army career:
  • 30 May 1902 to 24 July 1902, 56 days hospitalised with scarlet fever
  • 19 September 1903 to 29 September 1903, 10 days hospitalised with a wound to right thumb, cut on broken glass
  • 14 January 1904 granted good conduct pay at 1d
  • 1 April 1904 Class II Service pay at 4d
  • 28 May 1904 Third Class certificate of education
  • 1 September 1904 Class I Service pay at 6d
  • 27 May 1905 Second Class certificate of education
  • ?? ????? 1905 Passed Regimental signallers test
  • 1 January 1907 Appointed Acting Bombardier
  • 14 January 1907 Granted service pay Class I at 7d, and second Good Conduct badge
  • 26 July 1907 to 31 July 1907, 6 days hospitalised in Calcutta with S.C. fever
  • 31 March 1908 First Class certificate of education
  • 17 October 1908 Appointed Paid Acting Bombardier
  • 6 November 1909 Revaccinated, failed.
  • 1 October 1909 Passed Gun laying course
  • 22 November 1909 Promoted Bombardier
  • 14 May 1910 Awaiting trial
  • 18 May 1910 Tried and reduced to Gunner
  • 4 June 1910 D.R.F.
  • 6 April 1911 to 1 June 1911, 57 days hospitalised in Colaba, Bombay with enteric fever, followed by 3 days at convalescence depot
  • 13 January 1914 Discharged on completion of his period of engagement
After his 12 years with the RGA, Douglas worked at Long Grove Asylum as an attendant. His name appeared on the now lost Long Grove War Memorial, and he is also remembered in the London County Council (LCC) book recording the war service of all its employees. Douglas never married.

As a reservist he would have been called up very soon after the outbreak of war, and attested for service in the Great War at Kingston-Upon-Thames on 2 September 1914. His declared age was 30 years and 210 days. If this is accurate he was born on 5 February 1884, but as shown above he was registered in the March quarter of 1887. By 1914 Douglas was 6 feet tall, weighed 160 lbs, and his chest measurement was 40 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. His complexion, was described as fresh, eyes as blue, hair as brown, and that he was a Presbyterian. He was declared as fit for service in the RGA.

The following is a brief history of Douglas' military service:
  • 5 September 1914 he was sent from Kingston to Newhaven to join his RGA comrades
  • 9 June 1915 transferred to 3rd battalion Border Regiment
  • 13 August 1915 reprimanded for i. Being in Thorpe Bay without leave
                                                 ii. Drunk in Thorpe Bay without leave
  • 30 August 1915 appointed Lance Sergeant
  • 23 September 1915 transferred to 1st Battalion Border Regiment
  • 10 October 1915 posted to Gallipoli
  • 14 October 1915 promoted to sergeant
  • 9 January 1916 left Gallipoli. To Egypt for Battalion training and reorganisation
  • 11 March 1916 to France
  • 10 April 1916 reprimanded for 'Whilst on active service, neglect of duty'
  • 1 July 1916 Killed in Action.
The 1st Battalion Border Regiment was in the 87 Brigade, 29th Division. At 0730 on 1 July the 29th Division attacked towards Beaumont Hamel. In the Division's sector was the Hawthorn mine, consisting of 40,000 pounds of ammonal. The mine was blown at 0720, supposedly to allow time for the attacking troops to occupy the rim before the Germans were able to. But the Germans were able to occupy the rim, and proved to be very able at crater fighting. The blowing of the mine was filmed by Geoffrey Mallins, is often show on television, and is used to represent any of the many hundreds of mines that were blown on the Western Front. Douglas attacked just a few hundred yards south of the Hawthorn mine and would have felt and seen the explosion. The crater still exists in 2009 but is heavily overgrown and is on private land. The ground over which Douglas attacked has been preserved and is owned by the Canadian Government, and is known as the Newfoundland Memorial Park. At 0730 the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 2nd South Wales Borderers of the 87th Brigade attacked just south of 'Y' Ravine but were held up on uncut barbed wire and were badly machine gunned. Soon after the 1st KOSB and the 1 Borders attacked over the same ground and met a similar fate. The 1st Borderers lost 194 men killed on 1 July including Douglas who is buried in Hawthorn Ridge Cemetery No2, which is in the Newfoundland Memorial Park.

The following is an extract from 'The Border Regiment in the Great War' by Colonel HC Wylly CB:
The account in the Battalion Diary is unfortunately very meagre; it runs: the Battalion, less 10%, advanced just south of Beaumont Hamel, its objective being Behucourt Redoubt. The 2nd South Wales Borderers, whose objective was the first two German lines was wiped out by machine-gun fire in our own wire. The 1st Battalion The Border Regiment then went "over the top" from the support lone and over the British first line, but the passage over the front trench having been ranged by the German machine gunners the day previously, the 1st Border Regiment met with heavy loss while crossing this trench and passing through gaps in the wire. The men were magnificently steady, forming up outside the wire according to orders, then, inclining to the right, advanced as directed at a slow walk into No Man's Land. The advance was continued until only little groups of some half-dozen men were left here and there, and at last these, seeing no reinforcements in sight, took cover in shell holes whenever they found them.
     By 8am the advance had come to a standstill, and the assault had definitely failed. An attempt was later made to renew it, but when it was found that all the brigades of the "Incomparable 29th" were equally reduced in numbers it was recognised that only a defensive line could now be held, and on the morning of the 2nd July the 1st Border Regiment retired to just north of the River Ancre, where they were busily engaged in repairing the trenches and in bringing in wounded and burying dead, all under continued enemy sniping. Then, on the 8th July, the Battalion moved back to rest camp at Acheux and for the present at any rate took no further part in the Somme battle.
     On the 1st July the Battalion had gone into action with 23 officers and 809 other ranks, of whom they lost, killed, wounded and missing, 20 officers and 619 non-commissioned officers and men.
Douglas was awarded the 1915 star, British War medal and the Victory medal. On 10 May 1921 John H Cottam (Douglas's father) acknowledged receipt Douglas's 1915 star, and on 3 May 1922 wrote requesting his son's plaque and scroll.

EP LGH

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KITCHERSIDE Edwin, Lance Corporal. ES/9256 and 276552.

East Surrey Regiment and 436 Agricultural Company, Labour Corps.
Died 12 November 1918, aged 29.
Edwin's Headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Edwin's Headstone in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

Edwin Pullin Kitcherside was born on 17 July 1889 in Epsom Surrey (GRO reference: Sep 1889 Epsom 2a 21), son of Henry and Elizabeth Kitcherside (nee Pullin).

Edwin's father Henry was born in Epsom in 1850, as was his grandfather Henry born 1822. His great grandfather George, born 1796 came from Fetchem, and great grandma Ann 1801 from Abinger.

26 year old Henry Kitcherside married Elizabeth Pullin, aged 23, on 7 February 1876 in Elizabeth's hometown of Horfield, Bristol, Gloucestershire. That same year their son Arthur was born in Bristol. Between then and 1878 records show that the family had moved to Malta, presumably to do with Henry's work, where their second son James was born in 1878. From there the family moved on to Bengal India where their daughter Agnes Kezial was born on 8 December 1880. Her birth was recorded in the India Office Ecclesiastical Returns there. Four years later on 2 February 1884, a son named George Henry was born in Harachi West Bengal India. He was baptised there on 23 February 1884. Whatever Henry had been doing abroad (possibly in the army) finished sometime between then and 1886 as the birth of their fourth child Mabel was recorded in 1886 in Bristol Gloucestershire.

Henry and Elizabeth moved back to Henry's hometown of Epsom where Edwin was born in 1889. He was baptised in Christ Church on 18 August 1889, and his father was recorded as a coal porter. In the Epsom 1891 census the family lived in one of the Elizabeth Cottages next door to the bakers shop on Stamford Green in Epsom. Henry's occupation was noted as general labourer, Arthur's as cowboy and James' as errand boy. (Surname mis-transcribed as Ketcherside).

Baptism records from Christ Church show the family increased as follows:
  • Amy Elizabeth, born 7 February 1893, baptised 2 April 1893. Living at Bradmans Cottages.
  • William Henry, born 10 April 1894, baptised 10 June 1894.
  • Albert Edward, born 2 July 1895, baptised 8 September 1895.
  • Dorothy Myra, born 21 October 1896, baptised 3 January 1897. Died aged 6 months, buried Epsom cemetery on 27 May 1897.
  • Elizabeth, born and baptised, but died an hour later on 14 May 1899. Buried Epsom cemetery on 18 May 1899.
Elizabeth Cottages in November 2008
Elizabeth Cottages in November 2008
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2008

On the 1901 census 12 year old Edwin appears with only the younger half of the family and their parents living at Elizabeth Cottages in the ecclesiastical parish of Christchurch Epsom. (Surname mis-transcribed as Kitchenside).

The 1911 census shows Edwin's parents, Henry and Elizabeth, still living at 2 Elizabeth Cottages, Epsom Common and, with them, their two sons, William (labourer) and Albert (milk boy). They had been married for 36 years and, of their 14 children, five had already died. Edwin is listed as 'Edward' and was serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment in Burma.

On 5 February 1917 in Copythorne Hampshire Edwin married his cousin Bessie Kitcherside. Bessie, who was born on 5 April 1888 in Ower Hampshire and was the daughter of Henry's brother James and wife Rose.

Edwin's service record has not survived, but the CWGC shows that he served in the 3rd Battalion East Surreys, and that he transferred as Private 276552 to the 436th Agricultural Company, Labour Corps. The 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment was a garrison unit based at Dover throughout the war, and was also a training and draft finding unit.

Edwin received the British War medal and the Victory medal so must have served overseas at some stage of his army career. He could have served overseas with the Labour Corps but it is most likely that his overseas service was a front line battalion of the East Surrey regiment. Men who were wounded and were therefore no longer fit enough for front line service were often transferred to the Labour Corps. But without his service record it is impossible to know for sure. However, we do know that he died at the Northampton War Hospital on 12 November 1918 aged 29. The Northampton War Hospital had previously been the Northamptonshire County Asylum.

Edwin's death certificate records that he died from 'influenza/pneumonia'. The certificate also states that he was a gardener of 'Sherburn', Burden Lane, Belmont, Surrey; presumably he worked there before joining the Army. Frank Elliott of 93 Perry Street, Northampton, was present at the death and is named on the death certificate as the informant. Frank was not recorded as a soldier so was most likely a civilian worker. Although Edwin might have been billeted at 93 Perry Street with Frank, it is likely that he was stationed at an Army camp.

Edwin's body was returned to Epsom and on 18 November 1918 he was buried in plot A 397 in Epsom Cemetery.

His widow Bessie remarried on 21 February 1928 to Henry Maurice (Jack) Hutchins and died aged 88 on 9 May 1976 in Calmore, Hampshire.

With thanks to Roger Morgan for purchasing Edwin's death certificate and sharing the information.

EP CC

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KITE Ralph Bertram, M.C. Captain.

2nd Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.
Died of Wounds 10 December 1916, aged 21.

Ralph Kite c.1914
Ralph Kite c.1914
Image courtesy of Dr S.J. Harris © 2004

Ralph Bertram Kite was born on 21 April 1895 at Billingford, Norfolk, the only son of the Reverend Joseph Bertram and Edith Eliza Kite (née Corrie). Ralph was baptised in Billingford Church on 26 May 1895. His parents were married on 14 June 1892 at Greenstead Green Church, Essex, where Edith's father was the Vicar.

Ralph's only sibling, his sister Edith Muriel was born on 5 May 1893 in the vicarage of Christ Church on the Isle of Dogs. In March 1913 she married Lieutenant-Commander (later Captain) Bernard Watts R.N.

In 1897 the family moved to Hobart, Tasmania, in order for Ralph's father 'Bertie' to take up the post of Dean of Hobart. The Bishop of Hobart was Henry Montgomery whose son Bernard, later became the famous second world war Field Marshal.

Ralph returned to England in 1905 to attend the preparatory Upland House School between 1905 and 1909. The school, situated in Downs Road, Epsom, was demolished in the 1950s and the site then used for housing.

Ralph Kite c.1908
Ralph Kite c.1908
Image courtesy of Dr S.J. Harris © 2004

Ralph's education continued at Marlborough College between 1909 and 1913. Marlborough College was founded in 1843 to provide a first-class education, at a low price for sons of the clergy. In September 1909 Ralph joined the Marlborough College Officers' Training Corps. He loved the corps and excelled at skirmishing and shooting. With his parents living in Tasmania he always had a problem in finding somewhere to stay in the school holidays, either with relatives or his parents' friends. To complete his education, in 1913 Ralph went up to Keble College, Oxford to read Classics. Ralph seems to have enjoyed his time there, particularly playing Rugby!

For three months between 19 August and 11 November 1914 Ralph attended an officers training course at Sandhurst. It is interesting to note that in peace time the course normally lasted 18 months, shortened to six months in war time. Ralph's very short 3 months course was probably due to his military experience at school and university. It is also interesting to note that until November 1914, a cadet's family had to pay for the training given, which must have been a strain on his relatively poor clergyman father Bertie. Ralph wanted to join the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry for two reasons. First it was a highly regarded regiment with a fine fighting record, and secondly, as it had a high rate of officer casualties it was more likely to have vacancies. To the modern eye it might seem strange to wish to fight with a regiment that offers the prospect of becoming a casualty very quickly! On 11 November 1914, after his much shortened course at Sandhurst, he was gazetted as a second-lieutenant to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, his first choice regiment. As Ralph did not like the standard issue revolver issued to officers, he persuaded his uncle Henry to provide him with a more acceptable replacement! I wonder, could that be done in today's modern army?

Ralph was 6 feet and ½ inch tall, weighed 168lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches expanding to 38 inches. He had auburn hair, good hearing and teeth, perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes, with normal colour vision and was considered by the medical officer to be fit for the regular army.

In mid November 1914, Ralph took the train from Sandhurst to Cambridge Barracks in Portsmouth to join the 3rd Battalion. The 3rd Battalion was a training battalion sending replacements to the 1st and 2nd Battalions as required. Just before Christmas 1914 Ralph was sent to look after the ammunition depot known as Bedenham Magazine at Fareham. He was however, able to spend Christmas with his sister Muriel, her husband Bernard and their baby daughter Mary. For reason unknown, in March 1915 Ralph was based at the Royal Hotel on Hayling Island. This was his last billet in the UK before being sent to base camp in Harfleur, Le Havre, France on 16 March 1915.

Ralph joined the 2nd Battalion or 52nd Light Infantry as they liked to be known, on 23 March 1915, entering trenches at Festubert. Here, due to the high water table, only very shallow trenches could be dug, so for protection breastworks were constructed using sandbags built up to form a barrier. At this time Ralph wrote to his sister asking for 'sweets and preserved fruit', stating that 'dug-out life is so monotonous that eating and smoking are all that interest us'. He also wrote that 'One becomes quite numb after a certain amount of shelling'.

Ralph's battalion was in reserve, when on 9 May 1915 the costly failure, the battle of Aubers Ridge was fought. However, the following day Ralph's unit moved up to the front line trenches and over the next few days brought in many of the wounded from the Aubers Ridge battle.

The Battle of Festubert (15-25 May 1915) was to be Ralph's real baptism of fire in the first night attack of the war, his brigade being tasked to capture the German trenches opposite Richebourg L' Avoué. For 2½ days before the attack a preparatory barrage was carried out hoping to destroy enemy barbed wire and strong points. Unfortunately there was barely enough ammunition and to make matters worse, much of it failed to explode due to faulty fuses. The attack commenced on the night of 15/16 May at 11-30pm, but Ralph's unit did not 'go over the top' until 12-30am. Ralph's contribution to the attack (for which he might have received a gallantry award had not so many others been awarded) is mentioned in the War Diary:
A bombing party under 2 Lieut. Kite successfully defended our extreme left flank.
Just a few words in recognition of about 15 hours of extreme danger. The Soldiers Died CD tells us that on 16 May 1915 eight officers and 119 men from Ralph's Battalion were killed in action, and that a further 15 men died of wounds during the following month.

Ralph is mentioned again in the War Diary on 9 August 1915:
2Lt Kite proceeded to take over charge of the Brigade school of instruction in the use of bombs.
An expert in the use of what we would now call hand grenades, he taught the Brigade how to use them, and headed the bomb school until early October 1915. Being in charge of the bombing school may have saved his life, in that he missed the battle of Loos, which commenced on 25 September 1915.

Ralph was promoted to temporary Lieutenant on 6 September 1915, and was made permanent on 25 November 1915. With winter came relative safety, with no major battles being waged, but still the constant threat of shelling, small local attacks known as trench raids or a sniper's bullet when holding the front. During December 1915 Ralph was fortunate enough to have about a week's leave, and he seems to have fared pretty well with leave as he was able to have leave again at the beginning of February 1916.

For Christmas 1915, Ralph's uncle Henry organised a hamper 'No. 13' for him, from the Army and Navy stores, costing £2-2s-0d, with extra for postage of £2-7s-0d. The hamper consisted of:
1 Turkey (9 or 10 lbs)
Pheasant
Stilton Cheese (3 lbs)
Plum Pudding (4 lbs)
1 Tongue
1 Doz. Mince Pies
Oranges and nuts
Almonds and Raisins
In spite the fact that the pheasant was off, Ralph had a well provisioned Christmas although, because his battalion was holding the trench line on 25 December, his 'Christmas' was celebrated on 1 January 1916.

During March 1916 Ralph was given command of D company with responsibility for some six officers and 150 men, which would lead to promotion to Temporary Captain on 6 April 1916, just two weeks before his 21st birthday.

In June 1916 just before the Battle of the Somme commenced, Ralph's Battalion was holding the line in Zouave Valley, part of the Vimy Ridge. No great battle was fought there at this time, but the troops were still subject to the attentions of snipers and artillery shells, and so suffered losses. Zouave Valley was so called because of the large number of French Colonial troops or Zouaves, who had been killed there in 1915.

About this time Ralph's parents had returned to England from Tasmania so that his father could become the Vicar of St Peter's, Ealing.

Ralph's Battalion fought in the Battle of the Somme and on 30 July 1916 at 4.45am attacked the German positions, advancing from Waterlot Farm towards Guillemont railway station. Some from the Battalion overran the German front line, came close to the station but were killed there. It was standard practice to leave behind some officers so that in the event of there being a large number of officer casualties, there would be small core of leaders left to reform the battalion, and Ralph himself was ordered to stay behind that day. The War Diary reported that 12 officers and 205 other ranks became casualties that day and the Soldiers Died CD tells us that 5 officers and 68 other ranks were killed in action.

Although Ralph did not 'go over the top' with his men, he did go to a bombing sap (a small trench dug from the front line towards the enemy lines) where many had become casualties and organised its defence. His M.C. was technically awarded for this act, but in an article written in 1935, his Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Crosse D.S.O. and bar, implied that it was really for his actions during the Battle of Festubert on the night of May 15th/16th 1915, when Ralph held part of the enemy trench for many hours with bombers. At that time he had been on the Western Front for less than two months and too many names had gone in for awards.

Ralph's MC citation appeared in the 'Supplement to London Gazette' dated 20 October 1916, page 10185:
Lt. (temp. Capt.) Ralph Bertram Kite, Oxf. & Bucks. L.I. For conspicuous gallantry during operations. He did fine work organising the attack, and displayed great coolness and utter disregard of danger. When the bombers holding one of our saps had become casualties, he went at once to the spot, organised the defence, and threw bombs himself.
Ralph's battalion next attacked as part of the final phase of the Battle of the Somme, known as the Battle of the Ancre. The battle commenced half an hour before sunrise at 5.45am on 13 November 1916. The battalion was ordered to attack on the Redan Ridge, south west of Serre and north of Beaumont Hamel. The following is an extract from the War Diary dated 13 November:
The Regiment sustained a certain number of casualties in the advance, including Capt. Kite, from our own shelling directly due to attempts to follow too closely our own barrage.
At 6.30am Ralph was mortally wounded in his right shoulder by a shell shard, most likely from a Canadian heavy artillery gun, which probably fired short. Today we would call this 'friendly fire'. Ralph was transported back on a French ambulance train with no water to drink, only beer or brandy. Eventually, barely alive, and after 36 hours, he arrived at the British Red Cross Hospital No. 10, at Le Tréport. The hospital was run by Lady Helen Murray, and was known as Lady Murray's hospital.

After great suffering, at the age of 21, Ralph died on 10 December 1916. One of Ralph's nurses Alice Batt kept a diary. The following is a short extract from the diary dated 10 December 1916:
And now tonight we all feel very sad, as the nicest patient, a young captain in the OBLI died this afternoon. He was a dear, so courteous and patient; it was a real joy to do anything for him - 'A very parfit, gentil knight.' The last few nights he's been frightfully ill and one knew there was little hope. He had a deep shrapnel wound in the right arm, and after the piece was removed had two bad attacks of haemorrhage within a few days.
Ralph's Funeral Possession 1 - click to enlarge Ralph's Funeral Possession 2 - click to enlarge Ralph's Funeral - click to enlarge
Ralph's Funeral - click to enlarge
The tall man with grey hair in the middle image is Ralph's father.
We wonder if the woman in the fur at the graveside is Lady Helen Stewart-Murray,
who ran No. 10 British Red Cross Hospital.
Images courtesy of Dr S.J. Harris © 2004

A picture of Le Treport cemetery from more or less the same spot as the one taken in 1916 at Ralph's funeral
A picture of Le Treport cemetery from more or less the same
spot as the one taken in 1916 at Ralph's funeral
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Ralph is buried in plot 2. Row O. Grave 7 in Le Tréport Military Cemetery.

Ralph's headstone in Le Tréport Military Cemetery
Ralph's headstone in Le Tréport Military Cemetery
Image courtesy of Dr S.J. Harris © 2004

In addition to the MC he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

Front and back of Ralph's medal card
Front and back of Ralph's medal card.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk (Link opens in a new window)
Copyright 2010, The Generations Network, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Ancestry Logo

Ralph's name appears on the following memorials:-
Upland House School Memorial Screen, St Martin's Church, Epsom.
Memorial Hall, Marlborough College.
Keble College, Oxford War Memorial.
St Peter's Church, Ealing War Memorial.
St Andrew's Church, Copford War Memorial.
Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst War Memorial.
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Ox & Bucks Light Infantry Roll of Honour.
St. Peter's Church, Billingford War Memorial.
Much of the above has been gleaned from the excellent biography, 'RBK A Very Parfit Gentil Knight', written by his great nephew Dr Simon Harris, and based on 750 surviving letters and documents covering his schooldays and war, published in 2004. Copies are available at £15 plus postage and packing. Contact Dr Harris by email:

Kite Book Cover

UHS

With grateful thanks to Ralph's great nephew Dr S.J. Harris for information given.

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KNIGHT Stanley Horace, Private. 17570.

9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
Killed in Action 24 June 1917, aged 23.

Stanley's inscription on the Menin Gate Memorial
Stanley's inscription on the Menin Gate Memorial
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2009

Horace Stanley Knight was born on 22 March 1894 in Epsom (GRO reference: Jun 1894 Epsom 2a 22), to John and Kate Knight (nee Skinner). Horace Stanley is how he appears in the birth register, but, it seems he preferred Stanley as his first name.

STANLEY HORACE KNIGHT AND HIS SIBLINGS
Name Born - Died Notes
William James Born: 1875
Died: 1877 Dorking
Baptised 16 May 1875 St. Martins Dorking
Kate Born: 29 October 1876
Died: 1972
Baptised 20 December 1876 St. Martins Dorking.
Married Frederick H. Courtneidge, 24 August 1895 Epsom
Albert John Born: 1879
Died: 27 August 1942 Epsom
Baptised 1 January 1879 St. Martins Dorking
Married: Ellen Maria Kemp, 5 September 1907 St. Martins, Epsom
Eva Born: 1881
Died: 1954
Baptised 19 June 1881 St. Martins Dorking
Married William Arthur Hull, 1904 Epsom
Emily Born: 1883
Died: 1885 Epsom
Baptised 1 April 1883 St. Martins Dorking
Arthur Thomas Born: 16 November 1884
Died: 1891.
Baptised 8 March 1885 Christ Church Epsom
Buried with brother 15 April 1891 St. Martins Epsom
May Born: 10 July 1886
Died: 1893
Baptised 12 September 1886 Christ Church Epsom.
Buried 23 June 1893 St. Martins Epsom
Amy Born: 2 July 1887
Died: 1891
Baptised 5 October 1887 Christ Church Epsom
Buried with sister 18 April 1891 St. Martins Epsom
Ernest Frederick Born: 20 September 1888
Died: 1891
Baptised 23 November 1888 Christ Church Epsom.
Buried with brother 15 April 1891 St. Martins Epsom
Elsie Born: 16 September 1890
Died: 1891
Baptised 1 January 1891 Christ Church Epsom
Buried with sister 18 April 1891 St. Martins Epsom
Edwin Henry Born: 17 November 1891
Died: 1952
Baptised 28 February 1892 Christ Church Epsom.
Married Hilda May Watson, 1926 Epsom
Hilda Born: 4 March 1893
Died: 1938
Baptised 7 June 1893 Christ Church Epsom.
Married: Robert E. Blunden, 11 October 1911 St. Martins Epsom
Horace Stanley Born: 22 March 1894
Died: 24 June 1917 Belgium
Baptised 28 June 1894 Christ Church, Epsom.
Sidney Victor Born: 10 November 1896
Died: 1898
Baptised 25 February 1897 Christ Church Epsom.
Buried 19 March 1898 St. Martins Epsom
Marjorie/ Margery Born: 1895 Epsom
Died: 1951
Baptised 7 July 1895 St. Martins Epsom
Married: 1) Alfred W. Oxford, 31 July 1915 St. Martins Epsom,
2) Charles H. Field, 1920 Epsom
Constance Born: 1901 Epsom
Died: 1954
Married John Viner, 1926 Epsom
Violet Born: 1905 Epsom
Died: 1968
Married Richard Bexley, 15 April 1933 St. Martins Epsom

In the 1881 census before Stanley was born the family lived at Redland Cottages, Holmwood Road, Holmwood, near Dorking. Stanley's father was a 24 year general labourer, his mother Kate was also 24. The oldest sibling was Kate aged 4, and there was a brother, Albert John aged 2.

In the 1891 census, taken on the night 5/6 April, the family lived in Albert Road, Epsom. Father John was now working as a cab driver, and brother Albert John, now 12 years old was working as a telegraph boy. Six more siblings had been born, Eva aged 10, Arthur Thomas aged 6, May aged 4, Amy aged 3, Ernest Frederick aged 2 and Elsie aged 6 months.

Stanley's siblings, Arthur Thomas, Ernest Frederick, Amy and Elsie died within days of each other soon after the census was taken. His sister May died in 1893.

By 1901 the family had moved to 39 Adelphi Road, Epsom, and Stanley had another 3 siblings, Edwin Henry aged 9, Hilda aged 8 and Marjorie aged 5. Stanley's father John was still driving cabs, but brother Albert was a builder's carpenter. Two more sisters were born, Constance in late 1901 and Violet in 1905.

The family were still living at number 39 when the 1911 census was taken. His father filled in the census form stating that he and his wife had been married for 35 years and that 8 of their 17 children had died. Stanley was working as a stableman and his brother Edwin as a grocer's assistant.

Stanley attested in Epsom on 15 December 1915 into the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, a recruiting and training Battalion. He was aged 21, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 126 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with an expansion of 3 inches. He lived at 39, Adelphi Road, Epsom, and worked as a stableman.

After his training he was transferred to the 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment which was in the 72nd Brigade, 24th Division. On the 24 June 1917 the Battalion was holding the line at the southern end of Battle Wood about 3 miles south east of Ypres. The following is an extract from the 9th Battalion's war diary.

24th-25th June BATTLE WOOD. Heavy shelling by the enemy on whole of area. A Coy. had 12 casualties B Coy. 1. It was noticed that every one of the enemy shells came from a direction N.E. - probably from POLYGON WOOD behind HOOGE. This enfilade fire is very destructive, and we were hoping for a small push to be made on the northern side of the old salient to cut this fire out.

26th June. Battn. was relieved by the 1st Battn. North Staffords Regt. and moved back into brigade support. Relief complete by 12.30 am. C & D Coys. were in the old German front and support line between the Ypres - Menin railway and 500X N. of YPRES - COMINS canal, A, B and H.Q. Coys. were on the railway cutting immediately WEST of VERBRANDEMOLEN.
On 24th June 1917 the Battalion were not attacking but were just 'holding the line'. Nevertheless, on that day 7 men lost their lives, no doubt as a result of the shelling referred to in the war diary. Stanley, who was one of the 7 to lose his life on the 24th, has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 34 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

The CWGC state he was the
Son of John and Kate Knight, of 39, Adelphi Road, Epsom, Surrey.
The St. Martin's church roll of honour states that:
HORACE STANLEY KNIGHT, was killed in action at Ypres on 24th June 1917.
Stanley was awarded the British War medal and the Victory medal.

EP SM

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KNIGHTS John Percy, Private. 9145.

2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment).
Killed in Action 20 October 1914, aged 28.

John's Headstone in Rue-David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix
John's Headstone in Rue-David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2010

John Percy Knights was born in Bethnal Green in 1887 (FRC reference: Mar 1887 Bethnal Green 1c 230) to James and Sarah Knights (nee Pluck). He was actually registered as Percy John Knights.

In the 1881 census before John was born the family lived at 8, Gloucester Street, Bethnal Green. John's father was a 30 year old carman, driving some kind of horse drawn vehicle. His mother was aged 27, and they had a lodger, 24 year old Horatio Jones, a cabinet maker.

By the 1891 census they had moved to 85, Mare Street, Hackney, and John had three siblings, Charles Albert aged 7, Hannah Lydia aged 5 and Frederick William aged 2.

I have been unable to find any of the family in the 1901 census, but another sibling Ada, was born in 1894. She was baptised on 2 August 1896 at Christ Church, South Hackney.

In 1911 John Percy was a 25 year old private in the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters, in Gough Barracks, Trimulgherry, Deccan, India. His father, now 60 was shown as a widower living at 10, Lyte Street, Bishops Road, Cambridge Green. The only other person shown was brother Frederick who was working as a train guard.

John attested in Kingston on 5 February 1904, aged 18, into the Sherwood Foresters. He was a brush maker by trade, and was already serving in the 4th East Surreys, a militia unit. This was before the major reorganisation of the army in 1908, that saw the introduction of the Territorial Army. He was 5 feet 4½ inches tall, weighed 113 lbs and had a chest measurement of 33½ inches with an expansion of 2 inches. His complexion was fresh, eyes were grey, hair was brown, and he had a scar on the right side of his face. His religion was C of E.

John's first 2 years in the Army were spent training in Britain. Apart from falling from a horse and dislocating a shoulder, whilst on a mounted infantry training course, this time appears to have been quite uneventful. On 19 December 1906 he was sent to India, where he remained for the next 6 years and 96 days. He was appointed Lance Corporal on 14 February 1908, but on 17 December 1909 he reverted due to 'misconduct'. Unfortunately his 'burnt' service papers do not tell us the nature of the 'misconduct'. John was inoculated against typhoid on 7 and 22 May 1908.

After spending just over 9 years with the colours, John joined the Army reserve on 21 March 1913. After his army service he worked at the Long Grove asylum. He appears on the Long Grove war memorial (now lost) and in the book 'Record of War Service London County Council Staff 1914-1918'. After the discipline of army routine, working in another, albeit different type of institution, probably appealed to an ex-army man.

Without doubt John would have been re-called as soon as war broke out. His medal card tells us that he was sent to France on 19 September 1914. Up to October 1914 the war had been one of movement, with each side trying to outflank the other, known as the race to the sea. This phase was ending and the virtually static trench lines that characterise the Great War were beginning to become established. On the day John was killed, 20 October 1914, his battalion was attacked by a strong German force at Ennetieres, south east of Armentieres, and was forced back to Bois Grenier. The Germans were desperately trying to break through the British lines in order to capture the Channel ports of Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne, and thereby stop supplies reaching the troops. Although they fell back, the line was not broken. The 2nd Sherwood Foresters war diary for 20 October states that 710 NCOs and men were missing. This is a huge number out of the nominal total of around a thousand men. However, the Soldiers Died CD states that 75 were killed on that day. No doubt some were taken prisoner, but probably many were cut off and rejoined their unit as soon as they could.

The War Office wrote to the officer in charge of infantry records at Lichfield, on 7 February 1916 stating that for official purposes John was to be regarded as having died on or since 20 October 1914. Then on 17 February 1916 the War Office directed that any of John's personal property and any medals he might be entitled to, should be sent to his father, his next of kin, at 27 Millicent Road, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton. However, John's father, a widower, was not to live long enough to receive John's medals, plaque or scroll, as he died in 1920.

On 15 October 1921 John's brother Charles signed to acknowledge receipt of his brother's British War medal and his Victory medal. Charles was a CQMS, serving in the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters. John was also awarded the 1914 Star, but records of who received it do not survive.

John is buried in plot III. E. 10. in Rue-David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix. At the Armistice this cemetery held 220 graves in plot I, but there are now 898 graves, as many were concentrated in after the war. John must have been one of those who was exhumed and reburied.

EP LGH

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War Memorials
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Dipping Well
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Epsom Riot
Woodcote Camp
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