Killed in action on 31 October 1914.

Lt KC North
Lt KC North

On the 29th of October 1914, the German Army launched a major assault, between Gheluvelt and Messines.

The attack commenced under cover of fog at 5.30 hrs, with no preliminary bombardment. The British line was broken in some places, but the enemy did not exploit these gains.

The following day, the German attack was aimed at capturing the Messines Ridge. By 10.00 hrs the German infantry had captured Zandvoorde and turned their attention towards the Comines canal and Hollebeke.

Lieutenant North was in charge of the Maxim Gun detachment when, on 30th October, they were isolated near Hollebeke. However, he managed to get both guns away in a wheelbarrow, with his detachment covering the withdrawal. The following day, the 31st of October, Lieutenant North and his detachment were covering the canal bridge half a mile north of Hollebeke when they were shelled by enemy guns. Lieutenant North was killed, but the 4th Hussars defended the bridge until relieved.

Lieutenant North was initially buried on the north bank of the canal, under the bridge near where he fell.

After the war, his grave was brought into the Oak Tree Dump Cemetery, which is located 5 km south of Ypres, on the road to Armentieres. The cemetery now contains 111 burials from the First World War, 5 of which are unidentified.

On the 26th of June 1920, a tablet in the memory of Kenneth Croft North was unveiled in St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. The tablet is in the form of a bronze profile of the Officer, on a base of Sicilian marble.

Kenneth Croft North, born in 1887, was the son of Arthur and Mary Fearnley North of Leeds. His father was a solicitor and his mother was the daughter of Samuel Croft, a builder and Alderman of Leeds. His parents had married in 1880 and for a time lived at Oak Lea, Far Headingley and at Gledhow Hall, Headingley, Leeds.

Later the family moved to Fieldhead, at Stanley near Wakefield, the home of his widowed grandmother, Mary Croft. At the time of the 1901 census, Kenneth Croft North was a boarder at Oatlands College, Harrogate, but that same year was admitted to Rugby School.

He remained at Rugby School until 1906 when he was admitted to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. On gaining his commission in 1907 he was posted to the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars, serving in South Africa. In 1910 Kenneth Croft North was promoted to Lieutenant.

On 9th December 1911, Kenneth Croft North married Frances Evelyn Berry, the second daughter of Henry Berry of Donisthorpe House, Moor Allerton, Leeds. After their marriage, Lieutenant North and his wife lived at Star Hill, Hartford Bridge near Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Timeline: The Western Front 1914-18