Private Bertram Kyte

Bertram Kyte was born in 1887 in Tilshead, the son of Enos and Eliza Kyte.  He was baptised in Tilshead on 6 November 1887. 

I can find no record of any of the family in the 1891 Census.

In the 1901 Census Bertram (then 13) is recorded as living in a St Joan a Gore Farmhouse cottage with Father Enos Kyte.  Enos was born in 18 Aug 1861 in Tilshead and died in Salisbury in 1940.  Enos is recorded as being a Shepherd on St Joan a Gore Farm.  Bertram’s Mother was Eliza Kyte (nee Sprat).  Eliza was born in 15 Sep 1866 in Netheravon and died in 1950 in Salisbury.  Enos and Eliza were married on 15 Jan 1887 in Amesbury.  Bertram’s siblings recorded in 1901 were brother Camond Kyte (born 1889 Tilshead) sister Annie Kyte (born 1892 Tilshead) and sister Ellen Louisa Kyte (born 1894 Tilshead).

In 1911 only Enos (now recorded as a small holder) his wife Eliza and daughter Ellen Louisa are together in Tilshead and I can find no record for Bertram in the 1911 Census although a statement on the bottom of his medal index card shown below suggests he might have  married.  In 1939 Enos and Eliza are living in Hoopers Farm, Tilshead.

Service Detail

Sadly, no service record survives for Bertram (nearly 2/3 of WW1 service records were destroyed in the blitz and the rest are fire and water damaged).  His nephew Bernard Kyte confirmed Bertram was a very religious man and was a conscientious objector and as such decided to save lives rather than take them.  He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in Gallipoli and the Middle East and an analysis of his service number and medal cards confirms the following information.

Medal Index Card

2254 Private Bertram Kyte enlisted in Walthamstow, Essex and served with 1st/3rd East Anglian Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the 54th (East Anglian) Division.

Field Ambulance

The Field Ambulance was a mobile front line medical unit (it was not a vehicle), manned by troops of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Most Field Ambulances came under command of a Division, and each had special responsibility for the care of casualties of one of the Brigades of the Division. The theoretical capacity of the Field Ambulance was 150 casualties, but in battle many would need to deal with very much greater numbers. The Field Ambulance was responsible for establishing and operating a number of points along the casualty evacuation chain, from the Bearer Relay Posts which were up to 600 yards behind the Regimental Aid Posts in the front line, taking casualties rearwards through an Advanced Dressing Station (ADS) to the Main Dressing Station (MDS). It also provided a Walking Wounded Collecting Station, as well as various rest areas and local sick rooms. The Field Ambulances would usually establish 1 ADS per Brigade, and 1 MDS for the Division.

East Anglian Division

The East Anglian Division was a formation of the Territorial Force. It was formed as a result of the reforms of the army carried out in 1908 under the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane and was one of 14 Divisions of the peacetime Territorial Force.

1914

The units of the Division had just departed for annual summer camp when emergency orders recalled them to the home base. All units were mobilised for full time war service on 5 August 1914 and moved to their allotted positions at Brentwood by 10 August 1914. Ten days later the entire Division moved to the areas of Chelmsford, Bury St Edmunds and Norwich.

1915

The Division moved to St Albans in May 1915 under orders for overseas service.

On 8 July the Division was ordered to refit for service at Gallipoli. Leaving the artillery and train behind, the rest of the Division left 14-19 July and embarked at Devonport. Sailing from Liverpool and Devonport, the first ships reached Lemnos on 6 August. On 10 August units landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli.

Artillery exploding behind Field Ambulance at Suvla Bay

The Division was then involved in the following moves and engagements:

  • The landing at Suvla Bay (10-15 August)
  • Operations in the Suvla Bay area

On 26 November the Division was ordered to prepare to withdraw to Mudros. On 3-8 December the Division was evacuated from Gallioli, only 240 officers and 4480 men strong. On 13 December it then went on to Alexandria, where it arrived on 18 December. The units then concentrated at Sidi Bishr..

1916

The divisional artillery rejoined at Mena Camp (Cairo) 11-15 February 1916. The Division occupied No 1 (Southern) Section of the Suez Canal defences on 2 April 1916.

1917

The First Battle of Gaza (26-27 March)

The First Battle of Gaza was fought on 26 March 1917, during the first attempt by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) to invade the south of Palestine in the Ottoman Empire during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. Fighting took place in and around the town of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast when infantry and mounted infantry from the Desert Column, a component of the Eastern Force, attacked the town. Late in the afternoon, on the verge of capturing Gaza, the Desert Column was withdrawn due to concerns about the approaching darkness and large Ottoman reinforcements. This British defeat was followed a few weeks later by the even more emphatic defeat of the Eastern Force at the Second Battle of Gaza in April 1917.

Gaza Defences 1917

Bertram died of wounds on 30 March 1917 probably after the First Battle of Gaza fought on 26/27 March 1917.  He is buried in plot D7 of the DEIR EL BELAH WAR CEMETERY in Gaza along with 732 other Commonwealth soldiers.

Deir El Belah War Cemetery Location


1914/15 Star Medal Index Roll

1914/15 Star
 War Medal
Victory Medal

                                                                                 

War and Victory Medal Roll

Bertram Kyte – Record of Effects Register entry

George Clegg

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