A Painful Duty

Form letter informing Mrs. W. Maberley that one of her sons has died. A full transcription of this letter at the end of this entry.

Some time shortly after April 7th, 1917 Mrs. W. Maberley, the mother of Private Henry Kiddle, reg. no 745109, was informed of his death from pneumonia on April 2nd, 1917. He died at the no. 30 Casualty clearing probably near the area of Mont-Saint-Elois, France which is just east of Arras, France. The the letter’s origin being within 3 to 4 kilometers to the receiving address she probably got it with in a day or two of it being sent.

Map circa 1914 -18 of the
Map circa 1914 -18 of the Bios-des-Alleux. Mont-Sant-Eloi is below and to the right and Arras is roughly southeast. The 18th Battalion was billeted here in late March/early April 1917 in preparation for the attack on Vimy Ridge on April 9th. The Battalion trained on an “…exact taped replica of enemy frontage to be attacked…” according to the April 1st, 1917 War Diary entry.

Private Kiddle, according to his attestation papers, was born in London, England and listed his present address as being Rouleau, Saskatchewan [further research shows that his brother, Charles, lived in the Port Perry area, which explains his travel to Ontario to enlist.]. For some reason instead of enlisting in Saskatchewan, he travelled to Port Perry, Ontario and enlisted with the 116th Overseas Battalion. The reason for his movements are not known but as his trade or calling is listed as a farmer and he enlisted on January 3rd, 1916 it could be surmised that he was visiting family or friends in Ontario. His attestation papers show a hint to this as there is a barely legible notation of a name and “116th Bn.” Perhaps he listed a family member or friend who joined the 116th Battalion. For whatever reason this information was overlaid in hand-writing over the original typewritten information regarding his mother and then appears to be amended with a series of typed ‘x’s.

A further investigation reveals that his brother, Private Charles Kiddle, reg. no. 745108, attested to the same battalion and completes the picture. Henry travelled to Ontario to join his brother’s battalion. An interesting note is though their regimental numbers are consecutive (745108 for Charles and 745109 for Henry) Charles attested on November 8, 1915 and Henry on January 3, 1916. Note that the Certificate of Magistrate section is signed on the same date on both attestation papers (February 23, 1916).

It appears that Charles survived the war though his service history won’t be realized until the LAC digitized both these soldiers’ service records. Mrs. Maberley did not have to suffer two such notices.

Below is the first page of the Kiddles’ attestation papers showing the consecutive regimental numbers in the upper right part of the page and the amendment made to the next-of-kin information. Both brothers listed the other brother as their next-of-kin and this was rejected and amended to that of their mother, who live in England.

Charles Kiddle next of kin

Transcript of Form Letter:

No. R.L. 1_X-26/Cas. 7417
(in replying please quote above No.)

T0. Mrs.W. Maberley
153 Coventry Street,
Bethnal, Green. E.2.

Canadian Record Office,
Green Arbour House
Old Bailey, London, E.C. 4.

7th April, 1917


It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has this day been received notifying the death of No. 745109 Rank Pte. Name Henry Kiddle Regiment 18th Canadians which occurred at 30 Casualty Clearing Stn. on the 2nd of April and I am to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Militia Council at your loss. The cause of death was Pneumonia.

Further information regarding the personal effects and any balance of pay due to the military estate of the soldier will be communicated to you in dues course by the Estates Branch, Canadian Contingent, 7, Millbank, London, S.W., but some time must necessarily elapse before these questions can be dealt with. If you do not receive further communication in six week’s time, please write to the Estates Branch, quoting Reference No. above, also Regimental No., Name and Unit of deceased soldier.

I am, Madam,
Your obedient Servant,


For Lt. Colonel i/c Records

Approximation of the addresses of the letter transcribed above and that of the recipient. Mrs.Maberley did not live far from where the letter originated from.

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