Captain Arthur Francis KINGDON


Regiment/Service:
York and Lancaster Regiment
Unit:
6th Battalion
Service Number:
n/a
Date of Death:
9 October 1917 - Killed in Action
Age:
21
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 125 to 128.



Personal History:


Arthur was born in the June quarter 1896 in Eccleshall, Sheffield, the son of William Edward (Tobacconist) and Annie Kingdon (née Lock) of Fitzwalter Road, Sheffield
(1901 Census RG 13/4372).

He had four older brothers, John, William Edward, James  (1891 Census RG 12/3827) and George Herbert [see Footnote below], and a younger brother, Alfred.

In 1901 ((Census RG13/3209) John, William Edward and James were students at Trent College, Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire. The 1911 Census shows that William Edward was then studying Medicine in London [see Footnote below]) In 1911 (Census RG 14/20850) Arthur had followed his brothers to be a student at Trent College School, Shardlow, Derbyshire. 
On the night of the 1911 Census Arthur parents were staying at the Malvern House Hotel, Abbey Road, Malvern. (RG 14/17649) but at some time William moved his Tobacconist business to Buxton where he was after the War, according to Arthur's Medal Index Card. The family home was "Bemerton", Buxton. Probate Records show that he left £626 15s 7d (£626.78) to his father, William. [A relative value of about £30,650 today (2014)]

Military History:
Arthur was transferred to the Public Schools Camp at Epsom in September 1914 and to the Inns of Court Officer training Corps in November.  He was promoted from the OTC to 2nd Lieutenant on 15th January 1915 (London Gazette 19th January 1915) and on 12th November 1916 to be acting Captain (London Gazette 19th January 1917).

When Arthur joined the Battalion it was probably stationed at Grantham before moving to Witley in April 1915. On the 3rd July 1915 the Battalion sailed from Liverpool for Gallipoli on board HMS Aquitania with six battalions of troops on board. Early on the 10th July the ship reached the island of Lemnos, and the troops disembarked and landed in Mudros Bay.

On the 6th August 1915 the Battalion sailed from Lemnos in the SS Uganda, arriving at Imbros on the 23rd July. The Battalion strength at this time was 29 officers and 928 non-commissioned officers and men.


                                     

Arthur was evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915 and moved to Egypt via Imbros. On 26th January 1916 the Battalion had begun to move to Egypt, landing at Alexandria on 2nd February and concentrating at Sidi Bishr six days later. The 19th February saw them take over a section of the Suez Canal defences.

The Division received orders on 17th June 1916 for a move to France and Arthur was given command of his own Company. Embarkation at Alexandria was completed on 3rd July and by 7th of that month Divisional HQ had been set up at Flesselles, part of the 32nd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division. By 27th July, the Division had taken over part of the front in Third Army sector. The Division then took part in the following operations, part of the Battle of the Somme: The capture of the Wundt-Werk (Wonder Work); The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15 - 22nd September 1916), and The Battle of Thiepval (26th September 1916). The following January Arthur was wounded and invalided home, returning to France in August and took part in the fighting to take the ridges east of Ypres.

He was killed in action on 9th October during the Third Battle of Ypres, whilst leading his Company, at the Battle of Poelcapelle, and buried where he fell. Subsequent fighting over the same ground has meant the grave was lost, and he is now commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. The 6th Battalion had 60 Officers and men killed in action on the same day as Arthur, in what was a disastrous day for the York and Lancaster Regiment. In all 280 men of the Regiment were lost, particularly from the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions. All but 61 have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. 35 of the others are buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

His Commanding Officer wrote of Arthur: "He was always the life and soul of the mess, loved and respected by his men. He was one of the most valiant and efficient officers of the regiment." A subaltern added: "I thought a great deal of him and had a truly happy time under his command. An excellent soldier, always cheery and most unselfish. He was loved by both his fellow officers and his men."

                                  


Footnotes:
· Arthur's brother, Captain George Herbert Kingdon, served with the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, in Gallipoli from 30 June 1915.
  There is some evidence to suggest he might also have served with the Royal Air Force in WW1 between 1918 and 1919.

· Another brother, Captain William Edward Kingdon, served throughout the War with the Royal Army Medical Corps Rank.

Sources:
· I am grateful to Judy Rieck for the photograph of Arthur's inscription on the Tyne Cot Memorial
· The notes on the movements of the 11th Division are taken from "The Long Long Trail"
· The notes on the movements of the 6th Battalion in Gallipoli are from "The York & Lancaster Regiment"
· De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, Volume 3, page 167 [photo top of page]
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' - 13 October 1917 [photo right]

Commemorated on:
Link to CWGC Record
Capt Kingdon's name on the Tyne Cot Memorial
The Tybe Cot Memorial
poppy
.. about the Battalion's actions in Gallipoli.
.... about the Battle of Poelcapelle.
Arthur Kingdon - 'Buxton Advertiser' Oct. 1917