Rudyard Kipling and Son John

30 Jun

Hello everybody in the late 19th and early 20th century this country of ours were blessed with great writers and poets Rudyard Kipling is amongst the top of these. He was born and christened John Rudyard Kipling in Bombay in 1865 where his British parents worked and lived. He was educated in England and excelled in writing short stories. He returned to India, a country he loved and took up a post working for a Newspaper and also worked as a War Correspondent.
Rudyard Kipling wrote many children stories including The Jungle Book and Kim which are still popular today. He also wrote many poems. The one I like best is IF, with the opening lines. IF you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
There are many people who have wrote and know more about Rudyard Kipling than I, but I want to mention about his son John. Rudyard’s son John at the outbreak of World War One, tried to join the Royal Navy, but like his father he had poor eyesight and failed the medical. He tried unsuccessfully to join Army regiments, but again he failed through his eyesight. Rudyard had many friends and contacts both in the military and civilian circles. A Lifelong friend of Rudyard Kipling was Lord Roberts the Commander in Chief of the British Army and was also the Colonel of the Irish Guards. Due to this friendship John Kipling was accepted and commissioned into the Irish guards.
John Kipling was 18 years old when he was posted to the western Front in France, within weeks of his arrival the Battle of Loos started. A few weeks into the battle during the month of September, eye witnesses saw John Kipling fall holding his neck. Due to the intense shelling and machine gun fire it was impossible to retrieve him and he was posted missing presumed killed.. At the end of the battle there was no sign of John Kipling body or whereabouts. Rudyard and his wife Carrie were grief stricken and they used all their power and endeavour with the hope to find that their loved son John was still alive. The search went on after the War ended in 1918. They visited the Loos area often, always living in hope, but finally in 1919 they accepted he had been killed in action. John Kipling’s name is on the memorial to the missing at Loos. It is sad that there were over half a million men who have no known grave due to the First World War. Rudyard never got over losing his son John and blamed himself for his death. Rudyard Kipling Died in 1936 still a heartbroken man
The story does not end there, because due to the diligence of a Canadian, who worked for the War Graves Commission. He came across paperwork of two bodies buried in St Mary’s Field Hospital Cemetery in Loos, with only one name on the headstone. Further investigation revealed that the other body in the grave wore an Irish Guards Lieutenants uniform. John Kipling had at last been found and his name is now on a headstone in the Graveyard at Loos. I have been to this cemetery in 1993 and like all War cemeteries they are beautifully kept for the heroes they hold within.
There are historians and writers who don’t believe it was John Kipling they found. My answer to them is, let it be.
Alan

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One Response to “Rudyard Kipling and Son John”

  1. Charles Burgess September 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Alan,
    I agree with you. Let it be. But I also think the CWGC got it right. Those who dispute this stand on weak ground. It is obvious that the body was that of an Irish Guards lieutenant, second or first (Kipling had been promoted when he was killed and, contrary to tradition, young officers in Kitchener’s new regiments frequently sewed on their pips as soon as they heard the news; with his family infuence he probably learned soon after the promotion became official). A single map coordinate error is all too common (those who dispute the identification apparently wish to place the body behind British lines where there was never any fighting during the entire war – one would think a dead officer would have attracted a bit of attention lying in the middle of the rear area). He was the only missing Irish Guards lieutenant in that area during the war. As we say in the U.S., a no brainer. The body is that of Lt. John Kipling.

    Like

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