Pte. R. Kitching


UNIT: 4th Yorkshire Regiment

NUMBER: 2112

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 10th November 1915

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Chapelle d'Armentieres New Military Cemetery, France

AGE: 19

Reuben was born in Brompton, and he enlisted in Northallerton. He was the son of Mrs. E. Kitching of Church View, Brompton. Before the War he worked at Messrs W&J Pattison's Linen Mill and he played football at half-back for Brompton Albion. He joined the local territorial battalion, shortly after the War began, and was serving with them when he died.

On 5th November 1915, the 4th Yorkshires relieved the 5th Battalion in trenches 69 and 70 which were located in the British front line just to the South East of Armentieres and to the East of a small hamlet called Chapelle D'Armentieres. Reuben was killed, presumably by a sniper, while on guard duty in these trenches, on 10th November, the day before the Battalion was itself relieved and moved back from the front line.

Both the CWGC records and the "Soldiers Died" database state that Reuben was killed on 10th November. His headstone, however records that he was killed on 16th November. I can only presume that this is a mistake which arose when the stonemasons inscribed the headstone.

He died, aged 19, just three months after another 19 year old Brompton boy, Alan Kendrew, had been killed by a sniper in the same sector, in trenches a few hundred yards to the North, and in very similar circumstances. In a letter to Reuben's family, a Lt. Hutchinson wrote:

"..Private Kitching was on duty as a sentry guarding the part of the trench occupied by him and his comrades. As it was dark at the time, it must have been a chance shot that hit him. He was hit on the right temple and lost conciousness at once, so it is some consolation to know that he would have no pain. We are extremely sorry to lose him, both officers and men..."