Topic: Charles Cornish Kelland

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A soldier of the Great War killed in action near Hebuterne, near Colincamps.

 Private Charles Cornish Kelland – 27307  Kelland, Charles Cornish 

Charles was born at Geraldine on 3rd February 1874, son of William and Mary Kelland.  He was a widower having married   Amelia nee Kelland in Christchurch in 1906 and they had two children Annie Elizabeth May and Charles Albert. Sadly both his wife and son had died in 1907, his son at 5 weeks. His daughter Anne was living in Linwood, Christchurch presumably with friend or family and was his listed next of kin.. He had considerable military experience having served for 14 months in the South African Campaign with the 7th New Zealand Contingent. Before enlisting for The great War he was farming at Annat. He had previously been rejected for service because of a varicose vein but had been operated on. He was 5ft 10 ½ in tall with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.

Charles enlisted 31 June 1916 and was assigned to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 17th Reinforcements, J Company. He embarked from Wellington on 25th September 1916 and arrived in Devonport on 21st November 1916, marching into Sling on the same day. He left for France on 7th January 1916 and marched in to Etaples two days later. He was posted to the 1st Battalion, Canterbury Regiment in the field on 6th February, where he was attached to the 2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery. He was then sent to the No 2 Anzac Reinforcement Camp, perhaps to train others. On 5th June 1917, whilst at Reinforcement Camp he was awarded Field Punishment no 2 although his papers do not indicated why. Time at camp over he was re-attached to the Light Trench Mortar Battery in the field in 14th July. Two months later he was evacuated to hospital on 25 September with an injury to his neck. He was admitted to hospital firstly at St Omer on 25th September, then to Trouville on 6th October. He was released to duty and attached to the strength at Etaples on 20th November and then he joined the 1st Battalion Canterbury Regiment in the field on 5th January 1918 being re re-attached to the Light Trench Mortar Battery . He was evacuated again with a sprained knee as the result of an accident which occurred when he was playing football and collided with another player ccording to a notation on his record. He was admitted to the 4th Stationary Hospital at Arques on 27th March and then to the Convalescent Depot at Ecault near Boulogne on 4th April. He was considered fit again and he marched into Etaples on 13th April and again re-joined the 1 Battalion Canterbury Regiment, 2nd Company in the field on 18th April. Ten days later he was dead, killed in action on 28 April, aged 44. He was initially buried in an isolated grave 20yrds from west side of Souastre Hebuterne however after the war he was gatherd in and is now buried in Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme. In New Zealand Charles is remembered on the Malvern County and Sheffield War Memorials.            

Cemetery locale history: Colincamps and "Euston", a road junction a little east of the village, were within the Allied lines before the Somme offensive of July 1916. The cemetery was started as a front line burial ground during and after the unsuccessful attack on Serre on 1 July, but after the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917 it was scarcely used. It was briefly in German hands towards the end of March 1918, when it marked the limit of the German advance, but the line was held and pushed forward by the New Zealand Division allowing the cemetery to be used again for burials in April and May 1918. The cemetery is particularly associated with three dates and engagements; the attack on Serre on 1 July 1916; the capture of Beaumont-Hamel on 13 November 1916; and the German attack on the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade trenches before Colincamps on 5 April 1918. The whole of Plot I, except five graves in the last row, represents the original cemetery of 501 graves. After the Armistice, more than 750 graves were brought in from small cemeteries in the neighbouring communes and the battlefields. The cemetery now contains 1,293 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 170 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 32 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and to two soldiers whose graves in nearby small cemeteries were destroyed in later battles. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

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Charles Cornish Kelland


First Names:Charles Cornish
Last Name:Kelland
Date of Birth:3rd February 1874
Place of Birth:Geraldine
Date of Death:28 April 1918
Place of Death:Somme, France
Memorial or Cemetery:Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps.
Age at death:44
User Name:Selwyn Library
Occupation before enlisting:Farmer
Marital Status:Widower
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Enlistment details:31 June 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of the late William and Mary Kelland, of Orton, Rangitata, New Zealand; husband of the late Amelia Kelland. Daughter Miss A.E.M. Kelland, 514 Cashel St, Linwood, Christchurch.
Service Number:27307
Rank last held:Private
Embarkation:25 September 1916
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Devon
Theatres of War:Western Front
Cause of Death:Killed in action
Other biographical information:Served in the South African Campaign with the 7th New Zealand Contingent.