Skip to main content

Ernest Walter Kidman

Ernest Walter Kidman

     

Walter and Arthur Kidman were twin brothers; they were born on 27 August 1888 and baptised on 16 December. They were the sons of George and Mary Kidman, who lived at Papley Grove, which lies on the edge of the village, on the other side of the main road which runs between Cambridge and St Neots. George and Mary had a large family by today’s standards: William, Emily, Frank, Matilda, Clara, twins Arthur and Walter, Eben and Rosa.

We unfortunately do not have any photograph of Walter.

When conscription was introduced in January 1916 Walter and Eben, as single men, would have been required to enlist. Eben went into the Suffolk Regiment; however Walter’s circumstances were considered by a Local Military Tribunal in March 1916 and they considered that he should be exempted from service for five months on the grounds that he was needed to carry out agricultural work for his employer, and he was supporting his widowed mother. Walter was working at this time as a labourer for EB Greenwood, who farmed 320 acres at Croxton, and he was earning 20 shillings (£1) a week. It appears that Walter was permitted to remain at home during the remainder of 1916; however on 17 January 1917, he was enlisted in the 7th Battalion, 3rd Suffolk Regiment.

We don’t know exactly when he would have embarked for France, but we know that the 7th Suffolks, as part of the 12th (Eastern) Division, 35th Brigade, were moved to the Arras sector of the Western Front in January 1917 and remained there until the end of that year.

The German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line earlierin 1917 had meant that the German base at Cambrai, which was of strategic importance as a communications and supply base, was within easier reach for an Allied offensive, and the attack started on 20 November. Nineteen Divisions, including the 12th (Eastern) and 476 tanks of the Tank Corps, took part in the attack on the five and a half mile front, and the battle lasted until 7 December, nineteen days later. 48,000 British and 53,000 German soldiers lost their lives in the battle. Some gains were made through the Hindenburg Line, but German reinforcements bought in as the battle progressed meant that the German retaliatory offensive on 30 November finally resulted in British gains through the Line north of Gonnelieu, but German re-taking of ground won south of Gonnelieu.

Walter was killed in the fighting at Pelican Trench, near Gonnelieu, on Monday 26 November 1917. He was 29 years old.

Walter has no known grave; he is one of 7,000 men commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial to the missing, on the road between Bapaume and Cambrai. The 7th Suffolks were almost wiped out in the Battle of Cambrai.

 

Ernest Walter Kidman
Private 47709, 7th Battalion Suffolk Regiment

27 August 1888 – 26 November 1917
(aged 29)

   
   
  Walter has no known grave; he is one of 7,000 men commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial to the missing, on the road between Bapaume and Cambrai. The 7th Suffolks were almost wiped out in the Battle of Cambrai.
   
   
 

back to Fallen Heroes

     
   
 Eltisley History Society.  Copyright © All Rights Reserved.
 Site Map | Privacy & Cookies | Website by Activ Web Design