Herbert Harry Kitching
Serial No. 10055
3rd Field Artillery Brigade & 1st Divisional Ammunition Column
Herbert Harry Kitching - Information
Herbert was one of many children born to Thomas and Cecelia Kitching. Thomas and Cecelia married in Stockton, Yorkshire in England in 1869. They were blessed with four children, before deciding to immigrate to Australia at the end of the 1870s. They eventually settled in Campbelltown where their family grew. This included Herbert who was born in Campbelltown in 1895. When the war started, Herbert or Bert was living with his family on Clover Meadow in Campbelltown and working as a clerk. He then decided to enlist in the AIF, volunteering on the 23rd of August 1915 in Holsworthy. He trained with the reserves before being posted as a Gunner to the 13th Reinforcements, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade. Bert’s unit embarked Sydney on the HMAT Berrima on the 17th of December 1915.
Bert landed in Egypt and was taken on strength to the 1st Divisional Ammunition Column in January 1916. He was then allocated to the 21st Howitzer Brigade, 101st Battery in Tel-el-Kebir. In March, he was shipped out from Alexandria to the Western Front in France. Bert served efficiently throughout 1916 and 17, providing artillery support for the infantry during operations. On the 15th of October 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium, he was wounded when his Battery was hit with mustard gas shells. Unluckily, he was in a dug out when the gas shells hit, burying him in walls of earth, and preventing him from reaching his gas mask. His mates freed him from the rubble and he was rushed to the 17th Casualty Clearing Station and then the 53rd General Hospital. In November, he was evacuated to Exeter Hospital in England, and was later granted some convalescence. Bert was quite ill. He spent over a year recovering and working on lighter duty details.
Bert was sent back to Australia in early January 1919 from England. The following month, Bert was complaining of pain around his heart, a result of the gas attack. However, x-rays showed that his heart and lungs were clear and normal. Bert then returned to his life and family in Campbelltown. However his health continued to decline as a result of his war experience. Shortly after he returned, he died at Miramichi in Campbelltown on the 27th of November 1920, he was only 25.