Died: 7 October 1917
Service number: 35390
Regiment/Service: 8th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of Thomas Kitchin, 6 High Street, South Elmsall
Arthur enlisted in May 1914 at the KOLYI Barracks, Pontefract. After
training he went to France in August 1916. His regiment was the 8th Battalion
Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, which was formed in Pontefract in September
1914 and went to Aldershot for training three months later.
On 1 July 1916 the 8th Battalion KOYLI was virtually annihilated on the
first day of the Battle of the Somme. During the second half of 1916 the 8th
Battalion received reinforcements, Arthur Kitchin was one of these.
Arthur was fatally wounded whilst his battalion were occupying positions
astride the Menin Road out of Ypres, north west of Gheluvelt, Belgium. He died
of wounds at a casualty clearing station October 7th 1917 aged twenty-one.
His grave ref is 21B.1. in LIJSSENTHOEK Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West
Vlaanderen. This cemetery contains 9901 Commonwealth burials and 883 war graves
of other nationalities, mostly French and German
Arthur Kitchin lived in South Elmsall (High Street). He was employed in the
blacksmith’s shop at Frickley Colliery before he enlisted.
His father Thomas Kitchen was also wounded in France. He was discharged on
27 March 1917 and lived until 1955.
The following poem, written by Liz Crompton, sister-in-law of John Walker, is
included as a memorial to Arthur and all other casualties of the Great War:
What greater gift
Can any man give
Than to give his life for me
this day I will remember
To be glad that I am free
To walk the fields and meadows
Without a worry or care
thoughts to you
In gratitude and prayer
Man’s freedom is a precious gift
But it comes wrapped up in strife
I will not forget the day
Story submitted by John Walker