Thomas Herbert Kesby

Thomas was a cousin of my great grandfather. This makes him my first cousin three times removed

Thomas Herbert Kesby was born in the year 1882 at Canterbury, Kent. He was baptised on the 20th November 1882. He was the tenth child of James Walter Kesby and Kate (nee) Mahon. Eight of his older brothers and sisters were still alive at the time of his birth. At the time of the baptism the family lived at 9 Notley Street, Canterbury.

Thomas’s father, James, was a career soldier. He had served in many places, world-wide, but by 1882 he was past 40 and seems to have been involved with the East Kent Militia on training duties.

In 1891, Thomas Herbert was living in Benenden with his family. He was aged nine and a scholar.

Thomas followed his father into ‘The Buffs’ – The East Kent Regiment. We have the following records from his military career (Thanks to James French)

  • 28.10.1899  Attested at Canterbury
  • 22.12.1899 to 02.06.1902  Service in South Africa
  • 30.11.1900  promoted Lance Corporal
  • 03.10.1902  promoted Corporal
  • 20.10.1906  promoted Lieut. Sgt.
  • 13.10.1910  promoted Sergeant  and re-engaged to complete 21 years service
  • W.W.1        promoted Temp. Capt.  Machine Gun Officer
  • 29.11.1914  promoted 2nd. Lieut.     )
  • 11.04.1915  promoted Temp. Lieut.  )
  • 01.04.1916  promoted Lieutenant     )  PRO records.

Thomas Herbert Kesby – thought to be about 1912 (picture supplied by Sheila Farah)

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In his private life, Thomas met and married Margaret Flinn. We do not know the date or place of the marriage (I’ll guess at a home leave for Thomas in 1915). What we do know is that the couple had a daughter, Margaret Maud Kesby who was born on 16th July 1916 at Smarden in Kent.

I think it most likely that Thomas never saw his daughter for the next date we have is the 15th September 1916, when Thomas Herbert Kesby was killed in the Longueval area of The Somme region. He was 34 and at the time he was attached to the 170th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).

Thomas Herbert is buried in the London Cemetery Extension at Longueval. This cemetery was used after the armistice, bringing in bodies from other, scattered, burial grounds so we do not know just where Thomas fell.

Pictures of the grave and cemetery were taken at about 7 am (French Time) on October 27th 2003.

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