Kenneth SINCLAIR
Rank: Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 432nd Company ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 12 October 1918
Age: 28
Cemetery: Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, Somme, France

Kenneth was the eldest son of Arthur and Annie. He had been born at 5 Clifton Road, Prestwich on 12 November 1890. His name at birth was registered as Harry Roderick Sinclair - the name Kenneth was added when he was baptised.

When the 1901 Census was taken, the family was living at Allerton, near Liverpool. Kenneth had two younger siblings - Celia and Patrick. Arthur Sinclair was a successful metal merchant and his income provided for a comfortable middle class life which included the employment of two live-in servants. These were Mary Watson, a 20 year old cook, and 16 year old Florence Lupton who was the housemaid. Kenneth's early education was at Liverpool College and, later, at Manchester Grammar School.

At some point, the family moved to the Marple area where, after the War, they were living at "Green Bank". Kenneth graduated from Manchester University with a B.Sc and was training to become a mechanical engineer with the Bredbury tool-making firm of Pollock & McNab when War broke out. Whilst at University, he had been a member of the Officer Training Corps and, on 16 August 1915, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers. He was assigned to the 1/3rd Field Company which was a Territorial army unit and he saw service in Egypt before moving to France when 42nd Division was reassigned.

On 25 July 1916, Kenneth suffered an accident which proved to be very painful. The Company was at Achiet-le-Petit and he was laying out the line for new trenches. His service file at the National Archives includes the medical notes "Whilst laying out trenches, he jumped across a trench and slipped on the parapet with his legs forced widely apart. He felt immediately a pain in groin which was followed a few hours later by swelling of right side of scrotum."

After initial treatment in France, Kenneth was evacuated home on 4 August and spent some time at 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester, where his injury was diagnosed as acute hydrocele. Whilst on sick leave, he married his fiancée, Beatrice McLaine. The marriage was a civil ceremony registered at Stockport. Beatrice was the sister of Donald McLaine. After recovering, Kenneth was posted to the Royal Engineers Command Centre at Thetford and, on 19 March 1918, he was transferred to the School of Military Engineering at Chatham. This must have been a brief posting as, by April, he was back in France and had joined 432nd Field Company, which was a Territorial Army unit of the Engineers.

On 8 October 1918, the infantry battalions of 66th Division attacked the German army near Serain in the ongoing action that would bring an end to the War a month later. Half of the Field Company went forward with the infantry and helped to consolidate the gains. The other half cleared roadways around the village of Beaurevoir to allow vehicles to bring supplies to the new front line.

The next day, the whole Company was engaged in filling in shell crater near Aveluy. On the 10th, the infantry again attacked capturing positions near Le Cateau, scene of the one of the earliest battles of the War in August 1914. Three sections of Engineers went forward to assist in consolidating the gains on the high ground overlooking the village. Kenneth was in charge of two of the sections and, whilst he was there, a shell burst close to him, causing severe injuries. He was evacuated to a field hospital - 18th Casualty Clearing Station - at Malassise where military surgeons tried to save his life. Their efforts were unsuccessful and he died two days later.

Some ten weeks before his death, Beatrice had given birth to a son. They are thought to have called him Donald, possibly after his uncle Donald McLaine. In 1919, Beatrice was conducting correspondence with the War Office about a widow's pension. At the time, she had returned to the McLaine family home at 29 Broadway , Withington. She would later move to "Brookland", Penmaennawr, Carnarvonshire.

Further information about Kenneth, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

   
           
   
     
© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
 
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
 
Close Search Window