Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
5474 Private Albert Richard Kyle - Goon Nure   Killed in Action 3 May 1917
In 1871 James Kyle married Ellen Hine and the couple settled in the Wood’s Point/Matlock district and it was at Wood’s Point that Ellen gave birth to their children. Their first born was Elizabeth Ann and in the next ten years John William, Francis William, Mary Jane, Albert Richard, Florence, Annie and Ellen were also born there with Albert being born in 1878. The young family moved to Bairnsdale c1885 perhaps because other members of the Kyle family already residing in the district. After settling at Goon Nure, Ellen gave birth to four more sons, James Elias, Ernest Walter, Oliver James and finally Herbert Francis in 1893. James had taken up sawmilling and was a one-third owner of The Ridge sawmill at Moormurng where the family lived and the he grazed sheep and bullocks on their farm. The Kyle children’s ages spanned 24 years and no doubt seven sons and five daughters would have kept James and Ellen well occupied and Ellen would have welcomed the time when the majority of the children were at school at Goon Nure. It would have been devastating for Ellen when on 25 November 1895 James died, aged 63 years (although his death notice would suggest he was 57 years old at the time). Albert would have been seventeen years old at the time of his father’s death and no doubt would have been regarded as old enough to help his mother and assist with his six younger siblings – young Herbert was just two years old. Ellen continued to raise the children, no doubt with the assistance of her older sons and daughters, including Albert, at The Ridge. It is here at The Ridge that Albert started labouring and learning the trade in the sawmill and running the farm. The Kyle children were all involved in the local community with the older males involved in cricket and football, rowing and rifle shooting while the females are often mentioned as participating at church functions and performing at concerts. Five years after the death of her husband James, Ellen married her cousin Edwin William Wines Hine, who was fifteen years her senior, on 16 May 1900. This union lasted less than fifteen years when Edwin died on 6 January 1915. In May 1903 during the nine day railway strike, Albert was one of ten men from the district who volunteered their services to the Government however, by the time they were accepted the strike was over. By 1910 Albert’s youngest brother Herbert was seventeen years old and Albert found his responsibility and priorities shifting. In 1911, Albert married Isabella Mary Dale, a Bairnsdale girl, and they settled at Goon Nure where Albert continued with the sawmill and his grazing pursuits. Their first daughter, Olive Muriel was born the following year and Isobel Annie born in 1915. With the outbreak of war, Albert’s younger brother Oliver was the first of the Kyle men to sign up and he embarked in November 1915. Three months later on 4 February, another brother, James Elias, enlisted and before the end of the month Albert had also travelled to Sale and enlisted. When Albert enlisted on the 29 February 1916 he was 37 years old and his attestation papers describe a red headed Presbyterian grazier who was 5’10” tall. It also notes his sloping shoulders, possibly from years of labouring from a young age and a reddish complexion.  One of the tasks Albert undertook before embarking was to write his will. In this document, dated 4 July 1916, we see, perhaps, Albert’s optimism as he makes provision for his wife and daughters and any future sons he evidently hoped to father.     Albert was attached to the 22nd Battalion, 14th Reinforcements and embarked from Melbourne on the HMAT Themistocles on 29 July 1916 with 28 fellow East Gippsland soldiers. The rate of survival amongst these men was not high and a quarter, seven men, did not make the return trip. After six weeks at sea they disembarked at Plymouth, England on 11 September. On 19 September Albert sent his brother Frank a cablegram from Rolleston in Staffordshire saying “Well” and giving the names of Ptes Morley, Manly, Bird, Brooker, Day, Gardiner, Wyndham, McBriar, Boyd and Captain-Chaplain Buckley. After being stationed in England for two months Albert left for France on the SS Victoria from Folkestone, England on 16 November 1916 and disembarked the next day at Etaples, France. Albert’s active service record is brief and reflects that the 22nd were marched into the field on 9 December 1916. The next entry records his death. In May 1917 the 22nd were involved in the second attempt to break the Hindenburg line at Bullecourt and it is here that Albert was killed in action on 3 May 1917. The report of Albert’s death was initially cabled on 25 May and was to be confirmed by mail on 20 July, however this original notification was lost through the sinking of the mail steamer and reissued on August 1917. As was the case many of the soldiers committed to each other to notify each other’s families in the event of their death. In a letter to Albert’s brother James, Sgt W.C. Harris wrote He was by my side when he got killed He was sniping and after firing about fifty shots he was unlucky enough to get a bullet through the forehead. He died instantly. I can honestly say he was a good brave man. I only wish that I had a few more like your brother. He was an excellent shot and I can safely say he accounted for a German every shot as they were very close. It was after we took our objective that he was killed. It was 6 am on 3/5/17. The Red Cross also made enquiries regarding the circumstances of Albert’s death and two witnesses were found. Pte A. Cosson, also of the 22nd Battalion, saw Albert shot and stated that we held the ground, but I do not know place of burial and cannot refer to anyone for particulars and Cpl T. Mackenzie who was lying in the same shell hole up at the barbed wire also witnessed his death. He went on to say he was sniping and got sniped himself … and never moved afterwards. We stayed out there and got relieved at night, so I cannot say if Kyle had a decent burial. We never went over that ground again. A fellow soldier wrote in October 1917 that two or three of his comrades have told me that he was a good man in the lines, as game as the best, and it was whilst performing a fine piece of machine-gun work at a perilous time, when it was necessary to expose himself, that he received fatal injuries. Albert’s brother, Frank, was a councillor with the Shire of Bairnsdale at the time of Albert’s death and in response to his fellow councillors expressed that his brother’s death had caused great grief to his people, as his demise was the first break in a family of twelve and the Bairnsdale Advertiser wrote he was a resident of Goon Nure, and in many ways a good type of settler. He was very industrious, progressive and thrifty, a land improver in the truest sense. He enjoyed the confidence and respect of everyone. The brothers of the Mitchell Lodge, of which Albert was a member, financially supported Isabella and the girls and ultimately a pension of £2 per fortnight for Isabella, 20/- per fortnight for Olive and 15/- for Isobel was awarded to them.     Alberts estate was valued £5,773 and in February 1918 Isabella left the farm at Goon Nure and purchased a home in Francis Street from H. Laird where she raised her daughters probably with the assistance of her mother and mother-in-law. Albert’s mother died on 23 July 1921 and Isabella’s mother died in 1926. In 1939 their daughter Olive married Keith Moneith and Isobel married Frederick Doherty in 1941. Albert’s wife Isabella never remarried and died in Bairnsdale in 1966. In the years following the end of the war the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was tasked with locating the remains of those who died on the battle field. In 1922 Albert’s body was exhumed from where he fell and re-interred at London Cemetery, Neuville- Vitasse, 2½ miles from Arras, Nord Pas De Calais, France in plot 2, row L, grave 15, stone 377. His headstone carries the inscription “For ever with the Lord, A noble sacrifice”. It was also May 1922 that Isabella received Albert’s service medals and scroll. Albert Kyle is remembered on several Honour Rolls in the district including St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Goon Nure Presbyterian Church, Shire of Bairnsdale, Bairnsdale MUIOOF Lodge and Forge Creek. Both of Albert’s brothers returned safely to Australia. James married Jessie Hosie who had lost two brothers in war. After surviving the war, Oliver died as a result of a car accident in 1929 when 38 years old and left a widow and three young children. Few families escaped untouched and the deaths were entwined in the community. Several months after Albert’s death, his brother John became a father on 21 November 1917. He named his son Albert Richard after his uncle.
….. unlucky enough to get a bullet through the forehead