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Ronan McGreevy

CWGC confirms that John Kipling is buried in the correct grave

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Ghazala

Source please? It always helps! :thumbsup:

Posted on centenarynews.com on 19 January 2016.

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Guest

We seem to be saying it is definitely Kipling, but it is not definite, is it?

Mike

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Guest

Remember Kipling was still asking for a 2/Lt identity disc replacement 8 days before he died! Click

Was his rank at time of death definitely Lieutenant?

Mike

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David Filsell

A fascinatingly endless correspondence. A lost body, wrong mapping, claims of hijacked research etc. etc.

And yet no answer.

The Stand Too article was pretty poorly written - after two reads I gave up on it - dazed and confused.

And, the fact remains that of the millions dead many are simply lost, and whilst the loss of a great man's son is a tragedy it is neither an unique or particular tragedy. Should we not just simply accept that it may/may not be John Kipling's grave and move on?.

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Muerrisch

A fascinatingly endless correspondence. A lost body, wrong mapping, claims of hijacked research etc. etc.

And yet no answer.

The Stand Too article was pretty poorly written - after two reads I gave up on it - dazed and confused.

And, the fact remains that of the millions dead many are simply lost, and whilst the loss of a great man's son is a tragedy it is neither an unique or particular tragedy. Should we not just simply accept that it may/may not be John Kipling's grave and move on?.

I agree wholeheartedly with every word, thank you.

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Guest

And Kipling was still asking for a 2/Lt Disc on the 9th of September 1915, a couple of months after he was supposed to have been promoted. Has anyone seen, or can anyone post the relevant piece of his service record?

Mike

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Muerrisch

I do not know if the Parkers trailed any consideration of two rank stars being worn by "acting-lieutenants". I have suffered reading the article twice and durst not give myself a migraine speed- reading for such lieutenants.

Whilst mulling the matter, a sudden strange fancy came into my head: did the army "do" acting-lieutenants? What would be the point? Unlike captains and majors and lt-colonels, all subalterns did much the same job, commanding platoons. This excepts a few appointments as adjutant, MGO, signalling officer, scout officer.

So I searched the CWGC records for "acting lieutenant" and found a massive total of four, three of whom were RAF, RN, and Canadian. The fourth was, on reading the records closely, a clerical error.

There are probably more sophisticated ways of looking [such as SDGW] but my first trawl demonstrates [not "proves"!] that such acting-lieutenants were rather scarce.

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Muerrisch

Thank you, I should have said that adjutancy cries out for Lt [or captain]. But JK was a platoon officer and had no need for acting [or temporary] exalted status.

I will go back to CWGC and look for temporary lieutenants of course.

EDIT

there are no temporary lieutenants among the war dead as far as CWGC is concerned.

So i submit that both acting- and temporary-lieutenants were rather scarce, to put it mildly. [or they led a charmed life of course]

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charlesmessenger

I think that Martin has nailed it in his post #169. Parker & Legg clearly have an imperfect knowledge of how the promotion system worked. It was very common for 2Lts promoted to Lt to have it backdated. Technically they could only be promoted after 18 months as a 2Lt, but within the regimental establishment casualties would accelerate this. Sadly therefore, Kipling would not have known about his promotion before he died and neither did the Irish Guards.

While anyone commissioned during the war, apart from Sandhurst and Woolwich, was given temporary commissions and so T/Lt was common, there was no such being as an Acting Lieutenant. Acting rank went with the job and there were no posts that specified that an officer had to be a full lieutenant - certainly not as a platoon commander.

Like everyone else, I found the Parker/Legg article heavy going, but am saddened that they have based it on a totally false premise, namely that Kipling was wearing two pips when he was killed. Hopefully someone will point this out in the next ST, or perhaps the authors would like to respond on this forum.

Charles M

EDIT by Mod - the post number above will no longer be correct as some posts have been deleted.

Edit 2 MG has deleted his post referred to above which was edited erroneously in two places rather than one by Keith and has drawn his contribution together in a later post.

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Muerrisch

Charles, I agree with you except that I believe there is a profound difference between being a lieutenant with a temporary commission, and being a temporary lieutenant.

CWGC have no record of the death of any temporary lieutenants, but an appalling number of lieutenants with temporary commissions.

The * annotation in the Army Lists meaning temporary refers to the commission, not appointment/rank, does it not?

Thus there are myriads of "temporary 2/Lts" listed, a manifest nonsense in context

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charlesmessenger

Just to clarify my revised numbered post 169. It refers to the originally numbered post 169 by Martin G, which appears to have been deleted (I think by accident). The key document he included was a list of Guards Division officer casualties, which includes 2Lt (NOT Lt) Kipling. This was drawn up immediately after the battle.

Charles M

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Guest

I have deleted my prev post in order to consolidate my thoughts here.[Charles: the documents referred to is at the end of this post)

The article by Parker/Legg reinforces the CWGC assertion that gravestone for Kipling is correctly associated with Kipling's body. There appear to be a few main elements:

 

1. Grid Ref. The Grid Ref of the grave was incorrectly recorded.

 

2. Candidates. There are three possible candidates: Kipling, law and Clifford. The latter was buried by the Germans, leaving just Kipling and Law as probable candidates.

 

I find both of the above arguments compelling, however these assume the body was correctly identified as an Irish Guards Officer. The Officer's uniform would have buttons in fours, a distinguishing feature that was unique to the Irish Guards. The Labour Coy report does not provide the reasons for the identification - cap badge, documents or uniform detail, however it is clearly a 'positive' identification as many other bodies are simply marked as being unidentified.

 

If one accepts the arguments above, there is already a 50% chance it is Kipling. So far so good. It is important to remember that the 2nd Bn Irish Guards only arrived in theatre in Aug 1915, when the document trail starts, which leaves a very small window of opportunity for ranks to be recorded.The sticking point is that the Labour Coy report states the body was a Lieutenant. The three missing Officers were all 2nd Lieutenants. This is a central point of the Parker/Legg speculation, and incidentally is nothing new if the CWGC archive material is any indication. The authors highlight that the London Gazette of Nov 1915, published after their deaths has the substantive date as June 1915 and conclude that these Officers would have put up rank prior to being Gazetted. The problem with this argument is that important surviving documentation does not support this thesis. In the weeks and days before Kipling's death his rank is recorded eight times as 2nd Lt. The records are:

 

1. 2nd Bn Irish Guards War Diary: Three mentions including one mention in the casualty list where he is also clearly shown as a 2 Lt.

 

2. Guards Div A&QMG War Diary. Three mentions.

One in a nominal roll dated 28th Aug 1915. This is the embarkation roll. If Kipling and others had put up rank from June and July, one would expect to see this reflected in the nominal roll. We don't. Incidentally we have the nominal rolls for all 12 battalions, including other subalterns who could in theory have put up ranks. None did. Again the contextural evidence does not support the idea of jumping the Gazette date.

Two typed casualty reports dated end Sep 1915. All three show '2nd Lt'. Incidentally they show all other Officers on the same London Gazette of Nov 1915 still as 2 Lts - so the contextural evidence also runs against the idea they all put up rank.

 

3. Letter from J Kipling referring to an ID disk

 

4. Kipling's signature as a witness to a soldier's document.

 

So far I have failed to find a single document from before his death that refers to him as a Lieutenant. I would simply argue if he had put up rank, why did all the official documentation fail to reflect this? In addition, secondary sources such as the History of the Irish Guards (written by R Kipling) clearly record him as a Second Lieutenant in the narrative of the action. Additionally there are dozens of examples from the contemporary war diaries that clearly show infantry battalions referring to the London Gazette date for promotions and awards. I would strongly disagree with the authors that it was common to put up rank before the Gazette confirmation in 1915. Certain appointments such as Adjutant might demand higher nominal rank, but as already pointed out on this thread the role of a Platoon Commander would not require this.

 

The only plausible alternative (simpler?) explanation is that the Labour Coy report simply used 'Lieutenant' as a generic description of subaltern Officers. The CWGC argues that the Labour Coy would not have mistaken or misreported the uniform details. If one accepts this, why would they mistake the rank details? They cant argue they would be consistent in one area of identification and not in another. The CWGC effectively paints itself into a corner on this and has to believe he was a Lt if they argue the labour Coy could not have made a mistake. This takes us back, full circle to whether he had put up rank. The 'Lieutenant = Subaltern' argument is a possibility that should not be discounted particularly as no Lieutenants were missing (edited); it is an easy mistake to make, however it is not proof, it is simply speculation. Unfortunately speculation and proof have become blurred.

 

My concerns with the Parker/Legg analysis is that it is not particularly robust: It is not difficult to find the examples shown above. Without these examples the arguments becomes less balanced. One could easily argue that most (all?) of the documentary evidence points to Kipling being a 2 Lt on the date of his death and there is nothing that supports the idea he was a Lt. This would only leave the generic 'Lieutenant = Subaltern' argument or the possibility that the Labour Coy misidentified the body as being an Irish Guards Officer. Without any counter-evidence it is difficult to argue this last point.

 

I have attached two of the Guards Div A&QMG War Diary records showing the rank. There are at least six other documents which in the interest of space I have not shown. If anyone needs them I would be happy to forward.

In summary I would argue that there is inadequate proof that the body is Kipling's and some of the counter-evidence has not been included in the recent article or considered by the CWGC. The Parker/Legg arguments have the benefit that it concurs with the CWGC's standpoint. Given the CWGC is the arbiter (whether we agree or not) it would seem that the burden of proof now lies with those who believe it is not Kipling.

 

Any mistakes are mine. MG

 

edited: Aug 1915 not Aug 1914.

edited 2. "No Lieutenants were missing" substituted for "No 2nd Lieutenants were missing"

Kipling 3.JPG

Kipling 4.JPG

Edited by Guest

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corisande

Martin

A brilliant summary from you

Seems to boil down to identification rather than the grid references and was he a Lt or not

I find both of the above arguments compelling, however these assumes the body was correctly identified as an Irish Guards Officer. The Officers' uniform would have buttons in fours, a distinguishing feature that was unique to the Irish Guards. The Labour Coy report does not provide the reasons for the identification - cap badge, documents or uniform detail, however it is clearly a 'positive' identification as many other bodies are simply marked as being unidentified.

Does anyone know what the original identification was, other that that he was a Lt in Irish Guards

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Muerrisch

Pay as an indicator of rank.

The Parker/ Legg article has a paragraph which states that the post-war Gratuity Admissions show that Kipling’s gratuity [not, repeat, pay] was calculated at 186 days at 8/6- per day.

They then are left with an awkward 39 days of payment which they say “could be explained as upgraded pay for carrying out the duties of a lieutenant without the substantive rank”, without presenting any evidence. Given that the duties of a 2Lt were identical with those of a Lt except for non-platoon appointments, this is a surmise, not a deduction.

In fact the 186 days at 8/6- need no arcane calculation or invention, they are exactly what is laid down in the Pay Warrant 1914. Kipling was a Special Reserve officer. Article 496 includes such officers in the provisions of Article 497.

Article 497 [which I will gladly scan and email to those interested] provides for war service gratuity to be calculated as 124 day’s pay for the first year or part year, and 62 day’s pay for each subsequent year or part year of service. I cannot find a reference to a policy of paying all the 124 + 62 = 186 days at the highest rank attained [in this case Lt], but this appears to be what happened. It may well be in an Army Council Instruction which laid down the nuts and bolts.

If Parker/Legg looked at the Pay Warrant they should perhaps have recorded this inconvenient fact, which fulfills the requirements of Occam’s Razor. If they did not pursue Article 497 [it appears in their sources as item 55] then perhaps they should have.

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ss002d6252

Pay as an indicator of rank.

The Parker/ Legg article has a paragraph which states that the post-war Gratuity Admissions show that Kipling’s gratuity [not, repeat, pay] was calculated at 186 days at 8/6- per day.

They then are left with an awkward 39 days of payment which they say “could be explained as upgraded pay for carrying out the duties of a lieutenant without the substantive rank”, without presenting any evidence. Given that the duties of a 2Lt were identical with those of a Lt except for non-platoon appointments, this is a surmise, not a deduction.

In fact the 186 days at 8/6- need no arcane calculation or invention, they are exactly what is laid down in the Pay Warrant 1914. Kipling was a Special Reserve officer. Article 496 includes such officers in the provisions of Article 497.

Article 497 [which I will gladly scan and email to those interested] provides for war service gratuity to be calculated as 124 day’s pay for the first year or part year, and 62 day’s pay for each subsequent year or part year of service. I cannot find a reference to a policy of paying all the 124 + 62 = 186 days at the highest rank attained [in this case Lt], but this appears to be what happened. It may well be in an Army Council Instruction which laid down the nuts and bolts.

The gratuity was paid at the highest rank achieved (acting or substantive)for 'other ranks' (AO17 of 1919) - https://wargratuity.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/army-order-17-of-1919-army-council-instructions/. I'll look around and see what I have for officers.

I'd be grateful for a copy of Article 497 if can post it.

Craig

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Muerrisch

Craig thank you and please remind me of your email by PM.

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ss002d6252

Pay as an indicator of rank.

The Parker/ Legg article has a paragraph which states that the post-war Gratuity Admissions show that Kipling’s gratuity [not, repeat, pay] was calculated at 186 days at 8/6- per day.

They then are left with an awkward 39 days of payment which they say “could be explained as upgraded pay for carrying out the duties of a lieutenant without the substantive rank”, without presenting any evidence. Given that the duties of a 2Lt were identical with those of a Lt except for non-platoon appointments, this is a surmise, not a deduction.

In fact the 186 days at 8/6- need no arcane calculation or invention, they are exactly what is laid down in the Pay Warrant 1914. Kipling was a Special Reserve officer. Article 496 includes such officers in the provisions of Article 497.

Article 497 [which I will gladly scan and email to those interested] provides for war service gratuity to be calculated as 124 day’s pay for the first year or part year, and 62 day’s pay for each subsequent year or part year of service. I cannot find a reference to a policy of paying all the 124 + 62 = 186 days at the highest rank attained [in this case Lt], but this appears to be what happened. It may well be in an Army Council Instruction which laid down the nuts and bolts.

If Parker/Legg looked at the Pay Warrant they should perhaps have recorded this inconvenient fact, which fulfills the requirements of Occam’s Razor. If they did not pursue Article 497 [it appears in their sources as item 55] then perhaps they should have.

After checking through all my paper work very little actually refers to Officers (other than references back to Article 497) however I'm reasonably confident it was dealt with in the same was as O.R's ( highest rank achieved on or before 11/11/18).

Cabinet Officer Minutes (CAB 24/72/93) is referred to in other docs for reference re gratuities.

post-51028-0-36966200-1453898861_thumb.j

Craig

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ss002d6252

Worth posting the FOIA documents from MOD Click

2v3k7l4.jpg

Mike

Are they the ones I did the FOI for or has someone got some more info ?

Craig

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Guest

Sorry Craig, yes they are the ones you received. I just thought it useful to add here.

Mike

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ss002d6252

Sorry Craig, yes they are the ones you received. I just thought it useful to add here.

Mike

Thanks Mike - I haven't particularly looked through them ( I requested them just so they were publicly available) so I wasn't sure. Anything that can be pulled from them will be useful.

Craig

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Muerrisch

The testimony of Other Ranks

Parker/Legg note the statements of Privates Martin and Roger after the battle. They are said to have referred to Lieutenant Kipling.

I have never been a serving soldier or indeed an army officer, but surely a soldier would, when debriefing to an officer, refer to any subaltern as "Lieutenant"?

This is much as they would refer to their Lieutenant-Colonel as "Colonel"?

I have Rudyard Kiplings histories of the Irish Guards in the attic and will see what reference he makes to the events of the deadly battle.

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Neil Mackenzie

If the GRU could get the map reference wrong might they not also have misrecorded some of the other information as well?

Neil

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KevinBattle

Just passing through as heard the handbags swinging...

Are there any other officer candidates, such as a missing Lieutenant?

If the only ones still unidentified are ONLY 2nd Lieutenants, then the GRU report of LIEUTENANT has to be wrong.

(Of course, if they were wrong, how accurate can any part of the identification given be?)

How can we be sure of Irish Guards, rank or whatever?

Carry on, don't mind me, just seems to be a way to narrow down the issues

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