Kilbee, Charles

Charles Kilbee was born in Oxford in 1891. He was fourth child of seven to Abel and Jane Kilbee of 7, Upper Fisher Row, Oxford. His father’s occupation was recorded as being a college servant on the 1901 Census. He was then listed on the 1911 Census of England and Wales as living at 14, Mostyn Cresent, Llandudno. He was recorded as being a 20 year old single male. His occupation being a domestic servant, namely a valet, to the head of the house, James Craig, a Physician.

According to the Flintshire Roll Of Honour, Charles enlisted at Denbigh in 1915. He stated he was a valet to Colonel Arthur Mesham, Honary Colonel of the Denbighshire Hussars Yeomanry, living at Pontruffyd Hall, Bodfari.

Charles Kilbee, joined 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, arriving in France on 27th October 1915.

There is no additional information about Private Kilbee, either on Graves Register or Graves Registration Report.

Ironically the Flintshire Roll of Honour questionaire was sent to Pontruffyd Hall, Bodfari, the home off his pre war employer after the war and returned endorsed, “Not Known”.

A transcription of the war diary of the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards states:

7th- 11th April 1916.

‘ In good billets at POPERINGHE but very little room for drill. On the night of the 11th the enemy shelled the town and most unfortunately twice hit a house in which the officers kits were being unloaded. (4 killed 2 wounded).’ The diary entry fits with the date of death of Private Kilbee.

The New Military Cemetery at Poperinghe, is the final resting place for 677 Commonwealth Soldiers of the First World War and 271 French War Graves.

The town of Poperinghe (now Poperinge) was of great importance during the First World War because, although occasionally bombed or bombarded at long range, it was the nearest place to Ypres (now Ieper) which was both considerable in size and reasonably safe. It was at first a centre for Casualty Clearing Stations, but by 1916 it became necessary to move these units further back and field ambulances took their places.

The earliest Commonwealth graves in the town are in the communal cemetery. The Old Military Cemetery was made in the course of the First Battle of Ypres and was closed, so far as Commonwealth burials are concerned, at the beginning of May 1915. The New Military Cemetery was established in June 1915.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

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