CWG: Private Martin Kiddle

Private Martin Kiddle

Martin Kiddle was born in 1871, the oldest of four children to Joseph and Annie Kiddle. Joseph was a butcher in the Somerset town of Street, and the family lived above the shop on the High Street.

When Joseph died in 1886, Martin took on the role of shopman, before taking over the business entirely.

In 1895, aged 24, Martin married Eleanor Freeman, four years his senior from the nearby town of Ilminster. The young couple had five children and, by the time of the 1901 census, they were running the business as a family, employing an assistant in the shop and a domestic servant.

It is evident that Martin left the butchery business behind him, though. Ten years later, on the 1911 census, he is listed as a Stock Room Manager in a local rug factory.

Martin joined up when war broke out, initially serving in the Somerset Light Infantry, before transferring across to the Royal Defence Corps.

While there is no date for his transfer, it is likely to have been at some point in 1915. Private Kiddle’s wife, Eleanor, passed away in May of that year, so it is reasonable to assume that he requested a transfer to support her before her death, or to support his children afterwards.

Sadly, however, Martin was also to succumb to illness. His pension ledger shows that he passed away on 5th March 1917, dying from carcinoma of the liver. He was 46 years old.

Martin Kiddle lies at rest in the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church in his home town of Street. The gravestone gives dedications to his father, Joseph, and his brother, John, who had died as just over a year old.

Guardianship of Martin and Eleanor’s five, now orphaned, children – Eleanor, Martin, John, Rachel and George – passed to Martin’s mother, Annie.

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