11 April 2010

CAPT Geoffrey Kiddle RFA

This search has proved to be very intriguing. Geoffrey Kiddle was from a prominent Australian pioneering family. His father was a pastoralist who farmed land around the Culcairn region in southern NSW. His uncle was John Beacham Kiddle who was a leading Victorian lawyer of the late 19th century. Geoffrey's cousin was Margaret Loch Kiddle a leading academic and writer on early Australian society. Geoffrey had one sister, Margarite who later went on the marry Colonel Sir Henry Davis Foster MacGreagh who was the Judge Advocate General of the British Forces from 1934 to 1955. Neither Geoffrey or Margarite had children.
Prior to WWI Geoffrey joined the Indian Army and at the out break of war he was transferred to the Royal Field Artillery. He saw service in France and was injured and Mentioned in Dispatches on several occasions. He later fought in Mesopotamia where he died of disease in 1916, he is buried in the Basra War Cemetery. I have a fair bit of information about his education and war service using the archived text of the Argus news paper and the Melbourne Cricket Club WWI Honour Roll, which says:
'Born in 1882. From Walbundrie Station, Albury. Educated at Melbourne Grammar School and
Cumloden. Went to France with the Royal Field Artillery in the first Expeditionary Force from India. Wounded three times, losing the sight of one eye. Mentioned In Despatches several times. Sent to Mesopotamia to join the force for the relief of Kut-el-Amara. Following strenuous times of desperate fighting and excessive heat, he died of illness in the British General Hospital at Basra on July 29, 1916.'
Indeed, there is so much information available I even found that his assets were valued at £43,160 when he died. A reasonable amount in 1916.
Other newspaper articles lead me to follow the family line of John Kiddle who had four children; Margaret, Lewis, Elizabeth and Ian. Margaret didn't marry and died of a kidney disease aged 44. Lewis was a bit more difficult and I ran into a dead end. The next in line was Elizabeth, whose engagement notice to Keith Bush I stumbled upon. The next lead was Elizabeth's death notice from 2008. Taking a punt I wrote to the retirement home mentioned in the notice and my letter was forwarded to her family who I've now been in contact with.
How the plaque left the family is a interesting post script. A relative of the person who sent the plaque to me was the lady in waiting to Lady MacGreagh. When she died she left the plaque and a copy of one of Margaret Loch Kiddle's books to the lady in waiting. With no link to the Kiddle family they asked me to return this item. Where Kiddle's medals are is unknown.
The returned medal tally is now 618.

 

Post update 19 July 2015 
Today I received the most surprising email from Martin of Melbourne. In part his email said:

 
Hi Glyn.
I googled Captain Geoffrey Kiddle and came across your blog. Thought you might be interested in this photo, which I took at Melbourne General Cemetery yesterday. I was looking for someone else's grave but military-related headstones, particularly WW1, always interest me.
regards,
Martin 
 
Thank you Martin, this is a great photo.
 

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