Private John Hermann KIEL
(N.B. John's name is misspelled - KEIL - on the Buxton memorial)


Regiment/Service:
West Yorkshire Regiment
(Prince of Wales's Own)
Unit:
15th Battalion
Service Number:
60240
Date of Death:
4 December 1918   (CWGC Records)
14 December 1918 (Service Records)
Age:
19
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
2403


Personal History:

John was born at 7 Woodland View, Fairfield, Buxton in March/April 1899, the only child of Ernest Hermann (Musician, born in Aachen, Germany) and Priscilla (née Whieldon) Kiel (1901 Census RG 13/3270). 

In 1911 (Census RG 14/21233) they had moved to 2 Over Dale Terrace, Fairfield. John's enlistment papers give his address as 16 Bath Road, Buxton, his parents had moved to 20 Wilson Avenue, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. He was 5 ft. 6 ins. (1.67 m.) tall and weighed 8 st. 6 lbs. (53.5 kgs.) At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a "Clerk", living at 16 Bath Road, Buxton. This was after his parents had moved to Kilmarnock.

Before enlisting John (Jack) was employed by "Messrs. Denham and Co. Spring Gardens, Buxton". (Advertiser report) It also said that he had been a member of St John's Church Choir.

[John's family name is misspelled as 'KEIL' on the Buxton Slopes Memorial.]
[N.B. John's mother, Priscilla Kiel, née Whieldon, was the aunt of Norman Whieldon, who was killed in action on the 29th September 1917 - see Footnote below.]

Military History:
John enlisted at Bakewell on the 20th September 1916 and was mobilised on the 24th April 1917 for "The Duration of The War". He gave his age as "17 years 6 months". After mobilisation John was firstly posted to the 6th Territorial Reserve Battalion at Rugeley on the 27th April, then to the 11th T.R. Battalion on the 17th September, based at Brocton. On the 27th November he was posted again, this time to the 7th Battalion.

The 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Leeds) had originally formed in Leeds in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor and City and in June 1915 came under orders of 93rd Brigade, 31st Division. It was posted in December 1915 to Egypt, returning to France in March 1916. The Battalion amalgamated with 17th Battalion to form 15th/17th Battalion (7th December 1917).

John did not embark to join his Battalion until the 1st April 1918, joining it in the field on the 5th. On the 28th May he was wounded in the legs whilst serving with the 2/1st West Yorkshire Regiment, and treated at the 39 Casualty Clearing Station before being admitted to No 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Treport, where he remained until the 20th July 1918.

On the 11th August 1918 John was posted to the 15/17th West Yorkshire Regiment, joining it in the field three days later. John received what was to prove his fatal wounds on the 26th October 1918. John's Medical Case Sheet, in his Service papers lists his injuries - sustained from a shell burst - as:
"Shell wounds multiple - R. Hip. Flesh severe; L. Hip and Abdomen.
Pelvic Abscess, and fracture of L. ilium"
(The ilium is the uppermost and largest bone of the pelvis) He also had shell wound to the left side of his face, left thigh, left buttock and left hand.

He was initially treated at Casualty Clearing Station 8 which was located at Ana Jana Siding, near Hondeghem, in October 1918. On the 28th October he was transferred to the 83rd General Hospital at Boulogne, and on the 2nd November the wounds to his ear, hand and left leg were treated and sutured. From November 3rd onwards, however, he complained of abdominal pain and was receiving almost daily treatment to alleviate infections and swelling, with huge amounts of infected material being drained. Several operations were carried out, all in the area of his fractured left hip. On the 28th November his Doctor noted: "His general condition is bad and suggests extreme toxaemia." (a condition characterized by the presence of bacterial toxins in the blood.)

At some stage it seems John was transferred to York Military Hospital where he died on the 14th December (not the 4th as recorded in the CWGC Records). In reporting his death and funeral, 'The Buxton Advertiser' stated that he was wounded on the 25th, near Étaples (highly unlikely, and probably confusing with where he was hospitalised), and "… was immediately transferred to England, but unfortunately he was so badly knocked about with shrapnel that there was little hope of recovery from the first."

His final entry on his Medical Record reads:

"14-12-18. Dressed daily. Abdominal wounds continues to discharge foul pus.
Secondary abscess dorsum of R. Hand
Signs of consolidation at R. Base.
Septic Broncho-Pneumonia.
Respiration 36. Pulse 154. Temperature falling.
Died at 6.15 p.m. from wounds complicated by broncho pneumonia and Pyaemia. Permission for Post Mortem not obtained."
(N.B. Pyaemia is blood poisoning characterized by pus-forming microorganisms in the blood)

John's Service Papers state that his body was claimed by his next of kin, his parents, and sent to their Kilmarnock address. He was, however, buried with full military honours in Buxton Cemetery, with "... The firing party and soldiers and the gun carriage kindly provided by Col. Hanson of the C.D.D., the officiating priest being the Rev. Canon C. E. Scott-Moncrieff, Vicar of Buxton." The Buxton Advertiser concluded with a very long list of floral tributes from family and friends, no doubt reinforcing the earlier assertion that Jack " ... was a great favourite of all who knew him.", and well deserved by a young man who had suffered so much.

Footnote:
· John's CWGC record gives his date of death as th 4th December, whereas his Service papers clearly
  state 14th as shown in the telegram on the right.

· John was the cousin of Pt. 241835 Norman WHIELDON, 2/6th Sherwood Foresters, who was
   killed in action on the 29th September 1917. (John's mother was the sister of Norman's father.)

Sources:
· The Buxton Advertiser, 21 December 1918

Link to CWGC Record
John Kiel's grave
John's name on the Buxton Memorial
Pt John Kield
poppy