PRIVATE ROBERT HENRY KIDDLE
THE KING'S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT)
15TH MARCH 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: LAPUGNOY MILITARY CEMETERY, BETHUNE, FRANCE
Robert Kiddle's inscription comes from Lycidas, John Milton's (1608-1674)threnody, his lament, for his friend Edward King who was drowned in 1637 whilst on his way to visit his family in Ireland. King was twenty-five, five years older than Kiddle when he met his death. Both of them dead before their prime. Milton claimed that there was no one left who was King's peer, his equal, and this is the line Kiddle's father chose for his son.
Robert Henry Kiddle was the younger of John and Elizabeth Kiddle's two sons. How could the father say that Robert had not left anyone who was his equal when he had another son? The announcement of Robert's death in the Liverpool Echo of 20 March 1918 makes the reason clear:
Kiddle - 15 March, died of wounds, at Casualty Clearing Station. Signaller Robert Henry Kiddle K.L.R., aged 20, only surviving child of John Henry and Elizabeth Parker Kiddle, now of 75, Urmston Road, Wallesy.
Kiddle, who was twenty in February 1918, was a qualified signaller serving with the 10th Battalion The King's Liverpool Regiment. He had been in France since January 1917. He died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station on 15 March, the Sister in charge writing to tell his parents that he'd been brought in seriously wounded in the head, thigh, arm and abdomen, and that his condition was hopeless from the first.
It's not possible to tell what date Kible was wounded but the 10th Battalion were in the front line near Festubert at the time he died. On the 13th the war diary records that it had been an "exceptionally quiet day"; on the 14th that their sector was subjected to a heavy bombardment, which left two of their men dead, and on the 15th, "Enemy artillery very aggressive, and 4 casualties were sustained (1 killed, 2 died of wounds, I wounded)". That suggests to me that Kibble died of wounds received on the same day.