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Ronan McGreevy

CWGC confirms that John Kipling is buried in the correct grave

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ss002d6252

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

Two points I can think of from this - 1) did the GRU normally just state 'Lt' where they could not tell for certain (it may just have been this particular GRU though) and 2) apart from the pips could a Guards 2nd Lt & Lt be identified from any other part of the uniform ?.

Craig

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Guest

This is the Gazette entry for Kipling 7th June 1915. Is it worth searching for, and is there any evidence that, any of these officers were wearing their 1st Lieutenant insignia before 27/9/1915?

Irish Guards. The undermentioned Second Lieutenants (on probation) are confirmed in their rank, and to be Lieutenants:- Dated 7th June, 1915.

John Kipling
Godfrey V B Hine (since killed in action)
Alexander R Pym
Reginald E Sassoon
Graham Y L Walters
Noel F Durant
William B Stevens

Dated 15th July, 1915.
Kenelm E Dormer
Lionel C Whitefoord
Percy J H Close
The Honourable Henry B O'Brien
Raymond J P Rodakowski
Cyril H Brew
Charles R Tisdall

Mike

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TwoEssGee

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"?

Were the statements of Privates Martin and Roger written by them, or noted by someone else, I wonder?

In my experience as a former Guardsman, I agree that the men under his command would most likely have referred to him verbally as either Lieutenant or Mister Kipling (no cake jokes please).

If the statements were submitted by the men themselves in written format, then it's more likely that they would have used 2/Lt for accuracy.

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Muerrisch

Kipling a 2Lt on 19th September.1915

It is worth recalling that Jack wrote home on 19th September and, inter alia, asked for an ID [aluminium], sketched what he wanted, and used "2nd Lt" for his rank.

Thus there is the narrowest of windows in which he might have put up the extra rank star, and not a trace of evidence that he did.

Parker/Legg would have us believe that he was made up temporarily or acting [they do not specify] 39 days before the date in the LG, being about 30th April 1915. This does not appear to have been recorded. In any case, CWGC have no record of any army acting-lieutenant or temporary lieutenant [temporary rank, not temporary commission] dying in the war, so they must have been a scarce breed indeed.

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Muerrisch

Were the statements of Privates Martin and Roger written by them, or noted by someone else, I wonder?

In my experience as a former Guardsman, I agree that the men under his command would most likely have referred to him verbally as either Lieutenant or Mister Kipling (no cake jokes please).

If the statements were submitted by the men themselves in written format, then it's more likely that they would have used 2/Lt for accuracy.

It was customary for survivors of an action to be questioned regarding the fate of the missing, and the few that I have seen [2nd RWF] appear to have been written verbatim by an officer. There were, however, many instances of soldiers writing spontaneously to the N o K of their officer, expressing grief and condolences and describing the last moments. This usually included "he died instantly" or "he felt no pain". These letters are so poignant as to bring a tear to the eye 100 years later.

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Muerrisch

Of those with back dated Lt rank LG 7th June 1915, Waters and Stevens appear to have survived, and Durant died after the LG was published.

They have nothing to contribute to the discussion I fear.

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Guest

" They have nothing to contribute to the discussion I fear. " OK Grumpy, thanks for that. I thought it worth throwing in the mix.

Mike

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Jack Sheldon

Grumpy, the usual way for an other rank to refer to a subaltern is 'Mr', which is not to rule out that the witnesses did indeed use the rank 'Lieutenant'.

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Muerrisch

Grumpy, the usual way for an other rank to refer to a subaltern is 'Mr', which is not to rule out that the witnesses did indeed use the rank 'Lieutenant'.

Thank you, but of course "Mr". is ambiguous too.

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Muerrisch

One last observation this evening.

Did Foot Guards officers really go into battle as late as September 1915 dressed as officers? Wearing the expensive and distinctive tunic? Or did they wear an Other Rank SD, thus enhancing their chances of survival to lead and direct their men?

I ask because the FOI M o D material, in addition to that posted above, includes some rather questionable information about officers who "often wore Sam Browne belts and swords, even when going into battle". I don't think so.

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SteveE

Godfrey Valentine Brooke Hine was still a 2/Lt when KIA 6/10/1915, if that means anything?

I rather think it does because it highlights a discrepancy in the assumption that Kipling was a Lieutenant.

The London Gazette issue which the promotions were announced in was #29363 dated 11th November 1915, this being the third supplement to the London Gazette, dated 9th November 1915.

Godfrey Valentine Brooke Hine and John Kipling were both confirmed in their probationary rank of Second Lieutenant and promoted to Lieutenant in the same issue, with both being backdated to 7th June 1915.

Hine was killed in action on 6th October 1915, so ten days or so after Kipling went missing and still a full month before the Gazette issue confirming his promotion to Lieutenant was issued, yet he is recorded by CWGC as a Second Lieutenant. Presumably, as Hine has a known grave, he was identified by the GRU as a Second Lieutenant and recorded as such?

If Hine was still being recorded as a Second Lieutenant, ten days after Kipling went missing, then why then would the assumption that John Kipling was a Lieutenant hold true? To my mind it just further backs up the lists, that Martin G has posted, showing no references to Kipling being shown as a Lieutenant by the Irish Guards.

Steve

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Guest

I rather think it does because it highlights a discrepancy in the assumption that Kipling was a Lieutenant.

If Hine was still being recorded as a Second Lieutenant, ten days after Kipling went missing, then why then would the assumption that John Kipling was a Lieutenant hold true?

Steve

Thank you Steve, that was my train of thought, but I was not confident enough, or articulate enough to express it.

Mike

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roughdiamond

My own conclusions from the Canadian case posted on here 3 months ago is that they believe they identified an error in a map reference for a missing Canadian they were researching, as a consequence they believe this error was also made in the remains identified as John Kipling.

As to the discrepancy in rank, they make no case as they IMHO are only putting forward the location evidence.

My own thoughts on the rank are that there are 3 trains of thought that are used to support the Kipling identication, they are
1. He was wearing 1st Lt rank.
2. The GRU made an error with his rank.
3. The GRU listed all unidentified 2Lt's and It's simply as Lt.

1. There is zero documentary evidence for this conclusion that anyone can find.
2. It's possible but can never be proven.
3. This one could be the easiest option to find supporting evidence for, I know Skipman makes a point by an example in post #194 but that man was identified by name and rank, if the records of the GRU responsible for the error in map reference were studied and no unidentified remains were listed as 2Lt then the case would have credibility.

Sam

Edit : Post numbers have changed- Keith

Edited by Keith Roberts
clarify changed post numbers

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charlesmessenger

a. I suspect that by the time Kipling's back pay had been worked out, the London Gazette issue would have been published. Hence the sum would have been based on his back dated promotion.

b. I again suspect (some Guards expert please correct me if I am wrong) that Kipling would have gone into battle in Service Dress, with metal pips on his shoulder straps. It is the latter that may have enabled the GRU to identify the cadaver as a full Lt. He may also have been wearing knickerbockers (trousers with puttees) rather than breeches.

c. I reiterate that platoon commanders were never given acting rank as full Lts and that acting rank goes with the job and nothing else.

Martin Many thanks for republishing your documentary evidence. The crucial document is the Divisional report of officer casualties. The Guards always prided themselves (and I'm sure still do) on attention to detail. I therefore do not believe that they made a mistake with Kipling's rank.

Charles M

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Muerrisch

Charles, my #179 [a long way north above!] shows that pay as such was not the subject of the Parker/Legg calculations.

Thank you for your offerings re. uniform and "acting", exactly my thoughts.

Mod comment-- post numbers have changed as some posts have been removed. Keith

Edited by Keith Roberts
post numbers changed

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laughton

My own conclusions from the Canadian case posted on here 3 months ago is that they believe they identified an error in a map reference for a missing Canadian they were researching, as a consequence they believe this error was also made in the remains identified as John Kipling.

That is correct. It goes beyond believe however as the McPherson file has his burial grid marked and that is in H and not in G so it is a proven fact not a theory.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The only reason we may now support the claim that the grave is that of 2nd Lt. Kipling is that we believe we may have found the grave of 2nd Lt. Law. We were looking for Lt. McDonald (CEF 15th Bn.) when we found Kipling and we were looking for his counterpart Lt, Wylie (also CEF 15th Bn.) when we believe we got a hit on the grave of Lt. Law.

For the record, the claim that there is no G.25.c is ridiculous. A simple example - consider the following letters:

a, b, d, e, f, g

Conclusion: You will note from the letters above that there is no longer a letter "c" in the english alphabet.

For those that have not read the book by Tonie and Valmai Holt, I would start there. They deal with almost all the issues in a format that is easy and enjoyable to read. It is my opinion (that is all it is and not fact) that the ordering of the new identity disc by 2nd Lt. Kipling is the key to that question. I agree with others that the GRUs often took short-cuts and they made A LOT or errors so they may have just written Lieutenant. There are many that are in error for Canadians as we have 2nd Lieutenants listed on GRRF and COG-BR documents but unless they were in the RFC or related air units under British rule not such category exists. Canada dropped the 2nd Lieutenant classification in 1903.

For those that want to join me for a pint after work in Courcelette, please meet me at the pub on the main street which you will see here:

http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo%3A4181

If you are driving from Thiepval please use map 57d and Sector R30. For those driving from Martinpuich please use map 57c and Sector M25. For those of you already in Courcelette you may use either map as 57d.R.30.a is the same as 57c.M.25.a. for those that believe that 57c.M.25.a or 57d.R.30.b do not exist, best you stay home and have a cup of tea.

Edited by Keith Roberts
policy

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Guest

One last observation this evening.

Did Foot Guards officers really go into battle as late as September 1915 dressed as officers? Wearing the expensive and distinctive tunic? Or did they wear an Other Rank SD, thus enhancing their chances of survival to lead and direct their men?

I ask because the FOI M o D material, in addition to that posted above, includes some rather questionable information about officers who "often wore Sam Browne belts and swords, even when going into battle". I don't think so.

This is an interesting question. Regardless of what he was wearing, the GRU claim he was an Officer but the report does not specify how or why they came to this conclusion. Even if an Officer was wearing some soldier's kit, I suspect he would still be wearing something that identified him as an Officer. The question of swords and Sam Brownes has been discussed elsewhere. The earliest record of discarding swords is the crossing of the Aisne in Sep 1914, ...but... some infantry Officers are still recorded with swords in mid 1915. I stress 'some' not 'all'. By 1915 it was scarce. I have attached a photo of Harold Macmillan as a Grenadier Guards Officers during the war clearly wearing SD and a soldier's webbing (no date). Here is another Grenadier Guards Officers' view exactly a year earlier which at least establishes that fact that some Guards Officers wore some parts of soldiers' equipment:

‘There is a detachment of 200 men rejoining from hospital so we’ve heard a certain amount of horrid stories about what faces us. Apparently if one is captured without a sword he is treated by the Germans as a private soldier and protests are useless, so I’m keeping my sword but having a web equipment like the men so as not to be easily picked out.’ [Lt John Steere GG]
Ref: Murland, Jerry (2010-07-19). Aristocrats Go to War: Uncovering the Zillebeke Cemetery (Kindle Locations 1605-1608). Casemate Publishers. Kindle Edition.
I think it is a minor point. I would focus on the fact that the GRU made a positive statement about the identity of the body. There seems little point speculating if they might have made an error without any counter-evidence.
This incidentally highlights the muddled thinking by the MOD/CWGC reports; they argue the GRU (and implicitly those handling and transcribing the info in the chain of evidence) could not have made a mistake identifying the uniform but acknowledge that the same unit (ditto) made a mistake with the Grid Ref. I find this hard to accept. How can the MOD/CWGC assess whether a team of people 80 years ago made an error (or not) among the tens of thousands of bodies that they recovered. Clearly there were errors (double burials etc Edit my excellent friend Geoff tells me there are a few in the CWGC data) and for the MOD/CWGC to claim otherwise is simply factually incorrect. It reinforces my belief that the CWGC has painted itself into a corner on Kipling; their only way out is to accept/believe/justify the idea Kipling (and by implication dozens of other sublaterns) were running around the battlefield wearing rank above their station.
If I am reading the paper-trail correctly, Kipling and others were not even 2nd Lts... they were probationary 2nd Lts whose commissions were confirmed and promotions to Lts were confirmed in the same Nov edition of the London Gazette... which stretches the bounds of credulity even further. The more one does even the most rudimentary analysis, the more this theory stretches the boundaries of belief.
I am going to trawl the whole of the Guards Division for this period and find all the probationary commissions that were confirmed later and trawl the relevant diaries and histories and report back. I anticipate there will be around 100, so it should be a useful exercise. I already have most of the data. Hopefully with a larger body of evidence we will have something far more statistically robust. If one is going to make arguments of what was common practice, it is traditional to provide the evidence. I will revert with my findings.
Cave.
MG

post-55873-0-01141700-1453973812_thumb.j

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johnboy

Forgive me if I am not up to speed [there's a lot to take in]. and if this has been mentioned/asked before.

It seems the body was found and reburied in 1919 as an unknown. 2 yrs later it has been identified. Was the body exhumed and examined or were effects or uniform or other items used for a positive ID?

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TwoEssGee

I have had a look at the History of The Guards Division in the Great War 1915-1918 (Headlam, 1924)

There is an appendix which deals with the Dress and Equipment (App VII, p 329)

I have reproduced the sections relating specifically to officers -

"The officers wore khaki serge jackets of a pattern differing slightly from that of the Line, and with the badges of rank on the shoulder-straps, instead of on the forearm, as in the Line. Khaki peaked caps, cord breeches of the ride-and walk type, puttees and brown ankle boots completed the costume of the dismounted officer. Mounted officers wore brown leggings and ankle boots, or brown field boots. Every officer was equipped with a Sam Browne belt, haversack, waterbottle and field glasses, and was armed with a sword and revolver.

After the Battle of Ypres, officers discarded their swords and carried walking-sticks instead.

About this time (January 1915) dismounted officers began to adopt loose knickerbockers instead of the cord breeches worn in the early months of the war. These knickerbockers, familiarly known as “plus-fours” continued to be worn throughout (and after) the war.

In 1917 a modified pattern of waterproof sheet, shaped so as to admit of its being used as a cape, was introduced. From this time onwards to the end of the war, no considerable change in dress or equipment took place.

Officers dress for battle or the line consisted of steel helmet, service dress as described above, belt, box-respirator, haversack, waterbottle and revolver. From 1917 onwards it became usual for officers to wear battle jackets and trousers of the pattern issued to other ranks, with only the badges of rank on the shoulder-straps for distinction."

So, it seems that in 1915 the Guards officers were not routinely wearing OR's battle jackets etc. That's not to say it didn't happen, of course.

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Ken Lees

On the subject of errors by the teams exhuming the bodies in this area, I can highlight another in the same cemetery.

Private 2966 Leonard Walker, of the 1/9th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment,whose headstone is in the St. Mary's A.D.S. Cemetery, Haisnes.

He was killed in action at Flers on 25th September, 1916. The body identified as his was only found in 1919 during the battlefield clearances.

Nothing too unusual about that. But, his body was found at Loos, 40 miles north of the Somme battlefield.

The 1/9th King's fought over the exact ground where his body was found during the opening day of the Battle of Loos exactly one year to the day earlier - 25th September, 1915. How is this possible?

The bottom line is it is not him. There was a mistake in the identification.

My research has led me to believe that it is one of two men killed at Loos on 25/9/16 - One of the missing had the same surname, Richard Walker. Maybe it was him they found. The other possibility is the man with the service number next to 2966 Leonard Walker's (2965 John Fazackerly).

The concentration documents don't give the means of identification. If all they had was a T|9|King's shoulder title and a hard-to-read 2966 you'd have to go for Fazackerly, but if it was a T|9|King's shoulder title and a name on an item then it would be Richard Walker.

Either way it is definitely not Leonard Walker.

As information

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laughton

That is worth checking but perhaps we should put his case on another TOPIC. Here in Canada I can do that but not at the GWF.

Here is the Concentration Report:

http://archive.cloud.cwgc.org/archive/doc/doc2045462.JPG

Found at 44a.G.23.a.9.8

I have to agree it is a long way from Courcelette to Loos!

I note the CWGC listing is for "L" and the COG-BR is for "T"?

The 18th Labour Company has more mistakes than any other that we have examined.

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Muerrisch

I have just re-read the relevant parts of Rudyard Kipling's battalion history.

Rudyard, writing years after the war, referred to 2Lt Kipling during the Loos battle?

Parker/Legg write that Rudyard knew that his son was a lieutenant in the battle and refer to a letter Kipling/Dunsterville. It appears [Reference 53] in a very expensive book.

In fact Jack appears in the narrative as 2Lt and in the list of dead as Lt. One wonders if Rudyard had the LG announcement to hand when he wrote the history, and disregarded it, knowing better? Did he delegate the lists of dead and wounded, much as those able to afford it use an index compiler?

The Parker/Legg article makes no mention of this anomaly.

It is surely as important in evidence as a private letter.

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Muerrisch

Noting TwoEssGee's information re. dress, for which many thanks,

please does anyone have photographs roughly contemporary with Loos showing Foot Guards officers in the field?

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SteveE
On 28/01/2016 at 15:52, GRUMPY said:

In fact Jack appears in the narrative as 2Lt and in the list of dead as Lt. One wonders if Rudyard had the LG announcement to hand when he wrote the history, and disregarded it, knowing better? Did he delegate the lists of dead and wounded, much as those able to afford it use an index compiler?

If I understand  Guest's posted list (post #176) correctly then 2nd Lt. Kipling was originally posted as 'Missing'? When was his death finally accepted because if it's after the date of the Gazette then his Lieutenancy would have been confirmed (backdated to 7th June) and he would be officially listed as a Lieutenant?

Steve

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