St. Mary’s A.D.S. Cemetery, Haisnes

Historical Information (Source: CWGC)

The village was reached, or nearly reached, by the 9th (Scottish) and 7th Divisions on the 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos; and parts of the commune were the scene of desperate fighting in the Actions of the Hohenzollern Redoubt (13th-15th October, 1915). No further advance was made in this sector until October 1918, when the enemy withdrew his line. "St. Mary's Advanced Dressing Station" was established, during the Battle of Loos, and the cemetery named from it is at the same place. The cemetery was made after the Armistice, by the concentration of graves from the battlefield of Loos; the great majority of the graves are those of men who fell in September and October 1915.

 

There are now nearly 2,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this cemetery. Of these, over two-thirds are unidentified and Special Memorials are erected to 23 soldiers from the United Kingdom, known or believed to be buried among them. Six other special memorials record the names of soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in Loos Communal Cemetery, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The cemetery covers an area of 6,097 square metres and is enclosed by a low rubble wall. There was at one time a French cemetery of 800 graves on the opposite side of the road; but in 1922 these graves were removed to Notre Dame-de-Lorette French National Cemetery.

 

Served with

  • United Kingdom (212)
  • Canadian (6)

Served in

  • Army (217)
  • Navy (1)
St Marys A D S
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Lieutenant KIPLING, JOHN  -  Died 27/09/1915 Aged 18 - 2nd Bn. Irish Guards

Only son of Rudyard and Carrie Kipling, of Batemans, Burwash, Sussex.

 

"Have you news of my boy Jack?”
    Not this tide.
"When d'you think that he'll come back?"
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

"Has any one else had word of him?"
    Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,

    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

"Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?"
    None this tide,
    Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind—
    Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
    This tide,
    And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
    And gave to that wind blowing and that tide

 

John Kipling (17 August 1897 – 27 September 1915) was the only son of British author Rudyard Kipling. In the First World War his father used his influence to get him an army commission, despite his having been decisively rejected for poor eyesight. His death at the Battle of Loos caused his father immense grief.

 

Kipling was 16 when the First World War broke out in August 1914. His father, a keen imperialist and patriot, was soon writing propaganda on behalf of the British government. Rudyard sought to get his son a commission, but John was rejected by the Royal Navy due to severe short-sightedness. He was also initially rejected by the army for the same reason.  However, Rudyard Kipling was friends with Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, a former Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, and Colonel of the Irish Guards, and through this influence, John Kipling was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards on 15 August 1914, at not quite 17. After reports of the Rape of Belgium and the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915, Rudyard Kipling came to see the war as a crusade for civilisation against barbarism, and was even more keen that his son should see active service.

 

After completing his training John Kipling was sent to France in August along with the rest of the battalion, which was part of the 2nd Guards Brigade of the Guards Division. His father was already there on a visit, serving as a war correspondent. Kipling was reported injured and missing in action in September 1915 during the Battle of Loos. There remains no definite evidence relating to the cause of his death but credible reporting indicates he was last seen attacking a German position, possibly with a head injury. With fighting continuing, his body was not identified. His parents searched vainly for him in field hospitals and interviewed comrades to try to identify what had happened. A notice was published in The Times on 7 October 1915 confirming the known facts that he was "wounded and missing".

 

The death of John inspired Rudyard Kipling to become involved with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and write a wartime history of the Irish Guards. However, contrary to popular belief, the poem My Boy Jack does not allude to the wartime loss of his son, rather it was written about the death of Jack Cornwell, the youngest sailor killed at the Battle of Jutland. He also wrote the short verse: "'My son died laughing at some jest, I would I knew / What it were, and it might serve me at a time when jests are few."