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In December we remember...

 

In December we remember Arthur Kidman (left) and Henry 'Harry' King.

Arthur was one of twins born to George and Mary Kidman. Arthur and his friend Ben Sewell signed up three days after war was declared in August 1914 but it was not until 30th August 1915 that their Battalion, the 8th Bedfordshires, embarked for France. The Battalion saw action in the Battle of Loos in late Sepember and then were either billeted or fighting near Ypres until December. On 15th December they were moved to Forward Cottage trench north of Ypres. At 0530 on Sunday 19th December a gas attack was launched and the British trenches were soon engulfed. Arthur had lost his respirator and, despite the best efforts of his friend Ben Sewell, he died that day. His body was never recovered and he is remembered on the Menin Gate.

 

Harry was born in 1890. When he was thirteen his father died leaving Harry with the prospect of having to support his mother and younger sister and brother. It is probably for this reason that, a few weeks before his seventeenth birthday, he signed up for seven years in the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. He served his time in Gibraltar, Bermuda and South Africa. At the end of his service he left his Battalion, returned to England and enlisted as a reservist in the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. In August they were in France and marched for Mons. They were digging in when their position was heavily shelled and many were killed. The Battle of Mons was a heavy defeat and Harry was wounded, returning home to help recover from his wounds sometime between September 1914 and April 1915. By November 1915 he had returned to the front and was part of a working party trying to repair trenches and parapets that had collapsed due to heavy rain. On 1st December he was working with the Brigade Tunnelling Company when a mine exploded. Harry was the first Eltisley soldier to die in the Great War..

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