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George Hendrie Kyles

Updated: Apr 9, 2023


7625 Private

1st Infantry Labour Company, Seaforth Highlanders, (13th Labour Company, Labour Corps)

Age: 24

Date of Death: 9.1.18

Buried: Duhallow Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery II.F.12


Family history: Son of David Kyles, 25 Snab Row, Bo’ness. His father was a miner who had moved from Portobello to Bo’ness. He had a brother, William. Prior to enlisting, he was labourer and lived in Kirkcaldy.


He enlisted in September 1914, in the Black Watch however, he was deemed not likely to become an efficient soldier and was discharged in October 1914. He again enlisted later in the war and joined the 1st Infantry Labour Company, Seaforth Highlanders. His company was transferred to the 13th Company, Labour Corps in April 1917.

What was a Labour Company?

The Labour Corps Company was defined in Army Orders when the Labour Corps came into existence in 1917. Its standard composition was defined in Army Council Instruction 611 of that year.

Composition

1 Major, commanding the company

4 Lieutenants or Second Lieutenants

1 Company Sergeant Major and 1 Company Quartermaster

Sergeant

8 Sergeants

18 Corporals (of which, 1 a Corporal-Cook and 1 a Corporal-Clerk)

461 Privates (of which 6 were appointed to Lance-Corporal)

6 officers’ batmen (normally Privates)

Attached

1 Medical Officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps

8 Drivers of the Army Service Corps (of which 1 a Corporal)

Organisation

The company was structured into:

Company Headquarters

4 Platoons (under a Lieutenant or Second Lieutenant), each of 2 Sections (under a Sergeant). Each Section made up of 2 Sub-Sections (under a Corporal).

Transport

The company was provided with three carts and four General Service wagons and a total of 13 draught and heavy draught horses. The officer commanding would be provided with a riding horse or bicycle at his discretion.


The action leading to his death

The 13th Labour Company was engaged in salvaging ammunition when they came under air attack on 9 January. A bomb struck a loaded truck and killed forty one men. George is buried in a mass grave with forty of his comrades. The headstones show a variety of cap badges, many from the Seaforth Highlanders.

The men buried in a mass grave. Plot II, Row F Authors image

His headstone does not mention he was a member of the Labour Corps. In 1919 it was decided that the headstone of a member of the Labour Corps, who previously served in any other unit, should record his connection with his previous regiment.

Medals

The British War Medal, Victory Medal


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