Name: Kenneth James Stafford
DoB: April 7 1898
Regt: Royal Field Artillery
DoD: November 14 1918
Academic Career: CGS 1908 – 9
Kenneth was the only son of John Owen Stafford and his wife Mary Anne Smith Tweedie Kerr. He had two sisters. At the time of Kenneth’s death his father a christian minister; at Gretna, the family’s address was “The Manse”, Gretna. Kenneth’s paternal grandfather had been a school teacher in Scotland and his maternal grandfather was a wire manufacturer in Cheshire however he was a Scot by birth.
After attending the Grammar School, Kenneth went to Clifton Bank School, St. Andrews and Edinburgh University. Whilst at the grammar school he won the prize for scripture.
Kenneth enlisted in Edinburgh on April 19 1916. He applied for a commission on September 8 1916. He is described as 5ft 6 1/2″ and he weighed 124lbs, He stated that he had artillery experience in Edinburgh University O.T.C. He was mobilised one month later on October 26 1916. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the R.F.A. (Special Reserve) on February 20 1917. Just over a year later he was promoted to Lieutenant on August 20 1918, although the notice of the promotion did not appear in the London Gazette until the day he died.
He injured his left thumb on September 1 1918, and his family were sent a telegram. Two months later on November 8 they received a second telegram stating,
“Regret Lieutenant K J Stafford RFA 37th Battery admitted 8th General Hospital Rouen. Dangerously ill gunshot wound left ear, temple penetrated, left arm compound fracture. Further news sent immediate. Visit not possible.”
A further telegram was received a week later on November 15
“Deeply regret Lieutenant K J Stafford RFA died of wounds”
He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross. His citation in the London Gazette stated:
“Lt. Kenneth James Staffordm R.F.A. (Spec. Res.), attd. 37th By., 27th Bde.
For great gallantry and devotion to duty on 4th November, 1918, near Beaudignies, when his battery was very heavily shelled. he went up to the position and remained there for some hours, encouraging the men and attending to several who were wounded. He continued to do so after being badly wounded. Throughout these operations he has set a fine example to those with him.”
Royal Field Artillery 37th Bty, 27th Bde
He is also commemorated on Gretna War Memorial and Mochrun Village Memorial as he’d been born there. His family had the following inscribed on his gravestone ” Until the day dawn” a quote from 2 Peter 1.19
National Archives, Kew WO339/7211
Mr Paul Evans, Librarian, Royal Artillery Museum
The London Gazette Supplement 9 December 1919, page 91, and the award of the Military Cross (M.C.) in The London Gazette Supplement 2 April 1919 page 18