KITCHEN, John Randall [of Mansfield]

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'KITCHEN, John Randall [of Mansfield]' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'KITCHEN, John Randall [of Mansfield]' page

Company Sergeant-Major, Sherwood Foresters

By Cliff Hughes



Born 1894 in Mansfield, Notts. Lived at 100 Union Street.

Went to St John's C of E school, Mansfield.

As part of the school choir, sang in front of Edward VII at Rufford Abbey in 1907.

Clerk “to Mr. Beckett, builder”.

Jack Kitchen volunteered into the 2/8 th Sherwood Foresters in October 1914. As a second line Territorial battalion the 2/8 th was not a priority for receiving equipment or training, and by April 1916 was still training in England. In that month the Easter Rising took place in Dublin and the 59 th Division, of which the 2/8 th battalion formed part, was rushed to Dublin to help in restoring order. Its soldiers had still not fired a rifle in anger, and the battalion suffered many casualties marching into the city from the docks. After order had been restored in the city, the battalion remained in Ireland until 1917.

Jack Kitchen was promoted to CSM some time in late 1916 or very early in 1917. 59 Division went to France in February 1917 and Jack will have taken part in a couple of unsuccessful minor actions that spring. Late in May, whilst out of the front line, Jack's company headquarters was fairly comfortably accommodated in the village of Lempire. However they were very unfortunate because a shell from the British artillery fell short and burst under the table at which were seated Jack, his officers and other personnel. Jack and others were wounded by this shell. He probably took part in the battalion's successful attack at Passchendaele in the autumn.

At some stage Jack courted a lady from Rochdale whose father “had much livestock”.

When the 2/8 th battalion was disbanded in February 1918 Jack became a CSM in the 2/6 th Sherwood Foresters. He was killed in the great German attack of 21 March 1918. There are 2 conflicting accounts of his death. The one reported in a local Mansfield newspaper reports a Private Shelley finding Jack in the trench, killed by a machine gun bullet. The other report comes from the Leeds Modern School Roll of Honour. Jack's officer, Lieutenant Pollard, although himself wounded, went to help Jack, who had also been wounded, but both men were then shot by a German officer.

Jack's body was never found, but I have his identity disc.

The following year the family was again hit by tragedy. Jack's father, Charles Kitchen, was a brewer's drayman. His horse was startled by a tram in Mansfield and reared up, throwing Charles off. A barrel of beer fell on Charles and the horse stamped on his head. Charles died of his injuries.

This page was added by Cliff Hughes on 03/03/2014.
Comments about this page

this is my husbands gt uncle and this year we are going to France to visit the area were he was killed ,on the 21st march 1918 ,he was killed and on that same day this year 100years later we will be there standing close to where he fell 

By pamela kitchen
On 08/03/2018

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