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Arthur Gordon Kilner, known as Gordon, was born on 3rd March 1885 in Patterdale. Arthur's father was John Kilner, who was born in 1857 at Field Head, Great Strickland, Westmorland the son of William (born 1818 at Strickland) and Elizabeth (born 1829 at Strickland nee Fallowfield). In the 1861 census William is listed as a retired Farmer, and according to a member of the family moved to Patterdale in 1862 from Great Strickland, after he 'lost' the family farm, Field Head, in a game of cards in 1861 (see article below). In the 1871 census William is listed as working at Greenside Mine as a Labourer and John as a Lead Ore Washer, quite a come-
Arthur was one of seven children, including an elder brother Alfred (born Patterdale 1883), sister May Elizabeth (Patterdale 1886), Robert William (known as Roy) (Patterdale 1888), Annie Isabel (Patterdale 1895), John Theodore (Kirkby Stephen 1901), and Arnold Fallowfield (born Kirkby Stephen 1902). By 1901 16 year old Arthur is listed as living with Margaret Wright (widow), Jane Robinson (widow) and Edith Robinson (niece) at Main Street, Temple Sowerby and is a Railway clerk. By 1911 he was a Surveyor living with his sister May Elizabeth at Bainbridge road, Sedbergh. On the 29th April 1912 he married Mabel Thistlethwaite (born 1887) from Settle whose father was a Grocer. The superb family photo shown below was we believe taken after his wedding.
Arthur joined the Royal Air Force near the end of the war on the 2nd August 1918 aged 33 years old and was at the time a Road Surveyor, when he and Mabel were living in Settle. It is unclear from his RAF service record exactly what he did or where he served although it looks like he spent some time in France before returning to RAF Halton which was one of the main RAF training depots in World War One. In February 1919 he transferred to the RAF reserve before final discharge at the end of April 1920. We are unsure as to why he served for such a relatively short time although one clue may be in his Medical Board Examination result which listed him as “Grade II”, lower than the usual “Grade I”.
After the war we assume that Arthur returned to his work as a surveyor. He died in Oakham, Rutland (where he had been County Surveyor) in the second quarter 1959 and his wife Mabel in the third quarter 1946 at Westminster, London. We believe there was a son, John ("Jack"). We also believe that Arthur married twice.
Arthur’s father John was one of seven children, many of whom retained links to the Dale. Barbara Ann (born 1885) married William Sewell from Caldbeck and worked at Greenside Mine. William (born 1861) married Mary Edgely and had no children. He worked at Greenside Mine and eventually left to run a guest house possibly Kilners Lodgings at Rose Cottage next door to the Glenridding Hotel (see below). Thomas (born 1864) married Maggie Thompson and had no children. He also worked at Greenside Mine and later owned Kilners Tea Gardens and Greengrocers opposite Patterdale Church. Isabella (born 1866) married Hedley Grenfell who worked at Greenside Mine and had several children. Alfred Kenelm (born 1869) married Martha Norman and had 6 children. He also worked at Greenside Mine and eventually left the district. Little is known of John's younger sister Mary Jane, the third child.
Private (Arthur) Gordon Kilner
281155, Royal Air Force
Born 3rd March 1885 Patterdale. Died 1959 aged 74 in Rutland
Son of John and Mary Jane (nee Furness) Kilner, of West Side Glenridding and Kirkby Stephen
Husband of Mabel Thistlethwaite. Father of Jack.
We believe this to be one of Arthur and Robert’s Uncles outside Kilners in Glenridding.
Mersey Z/393 Able Seaman Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
Born 22nd April 1888 Patterdale. Died 14th August 1967, Crieff Scotland (aged 79)
Son of John and Mary Jane (nee Furness) Kilner, of West Side Glenridding and Kirkby Stephen
Husband of Margaret Alice Tabor and Johan (Joan) Aird
Robert William Kilner (known as Roy) was born on 22nd April 1888 in Patterdale. His father was John Kilner, who was born in 1857 at Field Head Farm, Great Strickland, Westmorland who had moved with his family to Patterdale in 1862 from Great Strickland to work at Greenside Mine. In the 1871 census William is listed as working at Greenside Mine as a Labourer and John as a Lead Ore Washer. Robert's mother was Mary Jane Furness who was born in 1862 and married John in 1882. By 1901 census Robert’s family had moved to Millbecks, Kirkby Stephen where John was superintendent of the Highway and in the 1911 census John is still living at the same address and is listed as a Highway Surveyor. Robert was one of seven children, including his older brother Arthur Gordon (see above).
By 1911 Robert was working as a Grocers Assistant based at the Midland Hotel in Appleby. He enlisted with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) on 12 January 1915, when he was shown as being a “kitchen assistant”, and at the time listed his next of kin as his father, who was living at Malbecks House in Kirkby Stephen. Although we have a copy of his naval service record it is a little difficult to decipher as it is so full of acronyms and abbreviations. What we do know is that in April he went Absent Without Leave from 24/4/16 until apprehended by Civil Police at Bournemouth. Brought back by escort. 144 Hours Detention. 6 days pay forfeited”. He was released from detention on the 9th May 1916 but just 11 days later went AWOL again for 2 days. Perhaps he was busy courting as we also know that Robert married Margaret Alice Tabor (aged 38) on 30th Sept 1916 at Upper Norwood, All Saints with St Margaret Church Surrey. At the time he was listed as with the 4th Reserve Battalion RNVR living at Naval Camp Blandford Dorset.
On the night of 21st November 1916 he entrained at Blandford bound for the Hawke Battalion of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). They arrived in Calais on the 23rd November 1916. The Hawke Battalion was part of 1st Brigade, Royal Naval Division founded by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Spencer Churchill, in late August 1914, and it basically fought in the trenches like any normal infantry battalion. In May 1916 Hawke Battalion joined the BEF as part of 189th Brigade, 63rd (RN) Division seeing action in France and Belgium until May 1919.
In early 1917 it looks as if Robert was involved in the Operations on the Ancre, on the Somme battlefield. It was reported that he was wounded on the 15th February 1917, and rejoined his battalion on the 2nd March, only to be wounded again on the 15th March, this time more seriously. He was admitted to the hospital in Boulogne with a gunshot wound in his left thigh on the 25th April 1917. He was invalided back to the UK aboard the Princess Elizabeth on 28th April 1917. We believe he was then transferred to the Royal Naval Hospital at Chatham. By 7th January 1918 his injury was reported as “satis”(factory), although we know that around this time his left leg was amputated above the knee. On the 15th March 1918 he was classified as “invalided” and discharged from RN Hospital Chatham. His home address at the time was given as Gorton House, Kirkby Stephen, although this is more likely to have been his father house. His wife’s address on the front of his service record was given as 48 Upper Hill, Central Norwood. On the 8th August 1919 his Kings Certificate of Discharge was given to him.
After the war Robert would have been entitled to a war service and disability pension but we have few definite details of his life after the war, or of his wife Margaret, although we believe she died in the Manchester area. Robert is believed to have then married and lived with Johan (Joan) Aird, who nursed his injuries in hospital.
Some details have been kindly supplied by his great niece Barbara (who also supplied the great family photo below). She wrote to tell us “Roy (as he was known to the family) was involved in growing tomatoes in Guernsey around the 1950s, I don't know how long for. I remember I went on a school or Brownie trip to Guernsey and met him. He gave me a carrier bag of tomatoes to take home, and unknown to me there were lots of packs of cigarettes in the bottom for his sisters, so I innocently smuggled them through customs! … I remember a wizened old man with one leg and no teeth, but I was very young!” Barbara and her cousin Diana visited us Patterdale in the summer of 2018 and brought along Roy’s medals and his Silver War Badge, issued to those servicemen honourably discharged due to their wounds in World War One. They also provided some fantastic photos of Kilners Tea Garden.
Roy worked until his retirement as a production controller and subsequently lived in Cricklewood, London. He finally moved to the British Limbless Ex-
Please see the section on Robert’s brother Arthur Gordon above for more on his parents, siblings, uncles and aunts. If you have any further information about Roy or Gordon or their relatives please let us know.
RNVR Recruitment Poster from WWI
One of the pages from Robert’s RNVR Service Record. It looks from the location of the dates as it it was typed and them over typed several times! This one includes his AWOL escapades in 1916.
Kilner Family Photo from around 1912 -
John Mary Alfred
John Theodore (Theo) Arnold
Photos of Roy’s Medals which were kindly shown to us by Barbara and Diana in the summer of 2018, and included his Silver War Badge.
They also had a copy of the report from The Penrith Observer about Roy’s brother Arthur’s wedding to Mabel at which the family photo below was taken.
Please click the article to see a full sized version.