EVELEIGH Kenneth

Kenneth was born in Whittington in 1899.  His parents were Ernest, who was born at Barlow and Edith born at Whittington.

The first record available (after the birth registration) is the 1901 census.

1901 census

The family are living at 100 Holland Road and Kenneth’s father was a Corn Factors Assistant. There is another child listed Ernest J who is under 1 month old in 1901.

There are no school records listed on line for Kenneth and the next record is the 1911 census.

1911 census

The family now live at 43 Whittington Hill and Kenneth’s father is a shopkeeper/grocer.  I have checked Kellys Directory for 1912 and it would appear that the family ‘lived over the shop’ at 43 Whittington Hill.

(Kelly’s Directory (or more formally, the Kelly’s, Post Office and Harrod & Co Directory) was a trade directory in England that listed all businesses and tradespeople in a particular city or town, as well as a general directory of postal addresses of local gentry, landowners, charities, and other facilities). Explanation taken from here

What is interesting is that Kenneth’s grandfather was also a grocer in Whittington at 123 Holland Road.  According to the 1891 census Kenneth’s father worked there as an errand boy. It seems shop keeping was the family trade!

In 1911 Kenneth is listed as at school and has now two sisters and two brothers, but if you notice from the census Kenneth’s brother Ernest, who was born in 1901, is not listed on the 1911 census.  Ernest died at four months of age in July 1901, he is buried in Old Whittington churchyard. The 1911 census also shows that 2 children had died.  Kenneth had another sister Edith who died in May 1909 aged just 9 months.

According to a newspaper report in the Derbyshire Courier on 28th September 1918 after Kenneth left school he started working for his father’s business.  However, prior to enlisting he worked for Dr Palmer as his chauffeur   Dr Palmer also lived on Whittington Hill and is listed on the 1911 census as Physician and Surgeon.

Kenneth enlisted on 9th July 1917 in Chesterfield. He joined the South Staffordshire regiment and his Service Number was 46692. He was sent to France at Easter (April)1918 and was then transferred to the Leicestershire Regiment and his Service number changed to 42260.

The 6th Battalion Leicestershire regiment were attached to 110th Brigade, part of 21st Division. The 6th was known as the Leicester Tigers.

The history of the Lewis Gun can be read here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_gun

Kenneth quite possibly saw action at the Battle of the Lys in April 1918 and the Battle of the Aisne in May.

The 21st division also saw action at the second battles of the Somme.

Kenneth was killed on 19th September 1918, he was 19 years old.  It is highly probable he was killed at the Battle of Epehy one of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line. A series of very large-scale offensive operations that advance to and break the Hindenburg Line system. Carried out by the First, Third and Fourth Armies these victories rank among the greatest-ever British military achievements. The German Army fights on but it is increasingly clear that their ability to do so is declining fast. Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and United States Divisions all play key parts. Information on the Hindendburg Line taken from https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/battles-of-the-western-front-in-france-and-flanders/the-battles-of-the-hindenburg-line/

German_Retirements

Extract from a map contained in the British Official History of Military Operations, France and Flanders, 1918. Crown copyright.

 

Operations since 8 August 1918 had brought British forces forward to face the formidable deep defensive systems of the Wotan Stellung and Siegfried Stellung: the British knew the latter as the Hindenburg Line. Although they would go on to face other defences, the breaking of the Hindenburg Line was an achievement of first-class importance. The text on this map, such as “Ninth”, shows the German Armies that the British were facing.

At some point in his service Kenneth was promoted to Lance Corporal but as his Service Records no longer exist I cannot confirm when this happened.

Kenneth is buried at Villers Hill British Cemetery, Villers-Guislain.

 

Cemetery picture  http://www.webmatters.net/cwgc/villers_hill.htm

Grave picture https://www.twgpp.org/

It would appear from the Commonwealth war Graves Commission that Kenneth was buried where he fell then later his body was moved to Villers Cemetery.

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His Grave registration report shows that his mother, Edith, had died by the time Kenneth was killed.

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In fact, Edith Eveleigh died in the first few months of 1917, before Kenneth enlisted.

A newspaper report in the Derbyshire Courier 28 September 1918 gives an account of what happened to Kenneth. “He was killed when a shell exploded close by”

 

Tuesday 28th 076 (2)

 

Tuesday 28th 078 (2)

Kenneth’s medal card doesn’t give a lot of information apart from the fact he was awarded the British and Victory Medals. It shows that he was a Private not a Lance Corporal, which would suggest it was quite a recent promotion.

medal card

He is remembered on Old Whittington  and the Brushes War Memorials and on the Leicestershire regiment roll of honour here

Kenneth’s father remarried in 1922 to Florence Bertha Manknell from Old Whittington and in 1939 was still living at 43 Whittington Hill.  He died in 1948.

Interestingly, on the 1939 register is an entry for Douglas Eveleigh, born in the first quarter (J, F, M) 1917, this is the same time as his mother, Edith, died.  Without checking a copy of the death certificate it is impossible to tell if the two things are linked, but it would appear that Douglas never knew his mother or his brother Kenneth.

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Hetty Eveleigh married Reginald Frost in 1921 and in 1939 they were living at New Whittington.

Lizzie Eveleigh married Arthur Berisford in 1923 and in 1939 they were living in Chesterfield and Arthur was coincidentally a shopkeeper too!

Cyril married Ivy O’Connell in 1939 and in 1939 was living in Chesterfield and his occupation was postman and grocers assistant.

John married Edith Wooldridge in 1935 but I am unable to find them on the 1939 register, possibly John was serving overseas or the transcription has the incorrect names.

As I was checking through the Birth records I found that Kenneth had another brother, Haydn who was born in 1913. He married Kathleen Worne in 1935 and in 1939 was still living in Chesterfield but had not followed in the family tradition of shop-keeping and instead was working on the railway.

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