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Les soldats de la Grande Guerre : Projet de biographies historiques sur les soldats de Fredericton

Les textes explicatifs, les descriptions archivistiques, les commentaires, les en têtes de champs de données et les messages d’assistance à la navigation dans le site Web des Archives provinciales du Nouveau Brunswick sont en anglais et en français. Lorsqu’un élément est extrait d’un document pour être inséré dans une base de données ou présenté comme fac similé, il apparaît dans la langue du document d’origine.

Kitchen, Stewart Edward

Lieutenant 85736
23rd Canadian Field Battery (6th Brigade)
48th Howitzer Battery (2nd Brigade)

Background

Lieutenant Stewart Edward Kitchen was born on February 20, 1895 in Fredericton, New Brunswick to Harry Allen Kitchen and Susan Annie Porter. Harry, born in Prince William, and Susan, born in Miramichi, were married on March 9, 1888 in Fredericton. In addition to Stewart, there were two older brothers, Gordon and Roy, and newspapers indicate Stewart had a younger sister Pearl, however, there no records of her birth. Records indicate the Kitchens lived in the Parish of Kingsclear outside Fredericton and that Stewart had been educated in local public schools before entering the University of New Brunswick as a Forestry student prior to his service.

By the time he formally enlisted on December 2, 1914 with the 23rd Battery, he was 20 years old and had three years of cadet corps training ensuring he was not completely unprepared for the harshness ahead. According to his attestation, Stewart was a relatively short young man standing five feet four and half inches tall, weighing 130 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a “blond” complexion. Stewart belonged to the Baptist church and was unmarried when he joined the 23rd Battery in Fredericton the winter of 1914 with a number of other university students, just a few months after war had been declared in Canada.

Wartime Experience

According to his service record, Stewart sailed for England with his unit on February 23, 1915 where he would be held in reserve at Shorncliffe, England until the spring. At the end of May, Stewart was drafted to France with the 2nd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery as reinforcement in the field for almost a year until a ten day leave of absence to England in January 1916. It may have been his first real chance to relax since arriving in Europe.

According to his active service form on January 25, 1916, he returned from leave to the 2nd Brigade, CFA where he would stay for the next eight months until being attached to the 1st Canadian Train, Canadian Army Service Corps on September 28, 1916 for three days before he “ceased to be attached” to his unit October 1 only to rejoin the 2nd Brigade, 48th Howitzer Battery the same day in the Somme region near Albert, France. While questions still surround his death during the battle of the Somme, it is believed that he was repairing a dugout nearby his position on November 6 during a lull in fighting. As he was doing so, an enemy shell fell close to the dugout he was repairing, killing him instantly. Newspapers reveal that he was the third University of New Brunswick student that sacrificed his life for his country and that he was one of the most popular young men in college.

Lest We Forget

Stewart is buried in the Bapaume Post Military Cemetery, located in the town of Albert, France. This cemetery was designed by Charles Henry Holden. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the cemetery contains 410 burials and commemorations of First World War soldiers, 181 of them still unidentified. This cemetery lies on two hills. At the time, they were called the Tara Hill and the Usna hill. Bapaume Post Military Cemetery is on the west side of Tara Hill and the southwest of side of Usna Hill. These hills within the town of Albert fell into the German hands for a short period of time from March 1916 to August 1916.

*This biography was researched and written by Tessa Warren & Frank Yu, Grade 8 students (2015-2016) at George Street Middle School located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

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