Captain William Miles Kington was 38 years old when he was hit by a shell on a battlefield in Belgium in 1914.
The tomb of an unknown First World War soldier finally bears his name after his family found his grave more than 100 years after he died.
Captain William Miles Kington, described as a ‘very fine officer’ who ‘would crack a joke in the trenches’ was 38 years old when he was hit by a shell on a battlefield in Belgium in 1914.
One soldier, devastated by his death on October 20 near Ypres, said ‘his jokes would set us all laughing our sides out – it made us all mad to avenge his death’.
Captain Kington’s family did not know where his final resting place was but an investigation by the Ministry of Defence found his grave in Tyne Cot Cemetery in Zonnebeke, Belgium.
His name had been missing with the headstone describing it as the resting place of a captain in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Family members, including his great grandson and great granddaughter, attended a re-dedication service at the site after his name was finally added.
In a statement, they said: ‘We are extremely grateful for the hard work put in by all those who helped identify the final resting place of our great grandfather, William Kington.
‘It is wonderful to discover the effort that goes in to preserving the memory of those who fought and died for their country.’
Group Captain Justin Fowler, Defence Attache Belgium and Luxembourg, lays a wreath at Captain Kington’s grave
A similar service was also held for the burial of an unknown soldier of The South Wales Borderers at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Béthune Town Cemetery in France.
Both services, organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), were conducted by the chaplain to 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh.
Rosie Barron, of the JCCC, said: ‘It has been a privilege to work with The Royal Welsh to organise these two services.
‘Now more than 100 years after their deaths, it is vital that the sacrifices of such men are not forgotten.
‘To share this experience with the Kington family has been an honour as he is remembered by his family.’
The family of Captain Kington and soldiers of The Royal Welsh at the rededication service at Tyne Cot Cemetery
Captain Kington’s body was recovered after the Great War and he was buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery as an unknown captain of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
As his grave was unidentified, he was commemorated on the Menin Gate.
His final resting place came to light after researchers submitted evidence that suggested he had been found.
Further investigation to corroborate this finding was undertaken by the MOD’s JCCC and the National Army Museum.
Born in Cheltenham, Glos., Captain Kington completed his training at Sandhurst and joined 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh Fusiliers in September 1896.
He served in South Africa during the Second Boer War, 1899-1902, and was most notably present at the Relief of Ladysmith.
For his service in South Africa, he was awarded The Distinguished Service Order, the Queen’s South Africa Medal with five Clasps, the King’s South Africa Medal with two Clasps and was mentioned in dispatches four times.
On the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, William re-joined 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, deplaning at Zeebrugge on October 7.
The soldiers arrived in the town of Ypres on October 14, 1914. On October 20 they moved into trenches near Broodseinde.
One of his soldiers was later quoted as saying: ‘He was a very fine officer, and would crack a joke in the trenches which would set us all laughing our sides out.
‘It made us all mad to avenge his death.’
Mel Donnelly, the CWGC’s commemorations manager, said: ‘The ceremonies show how the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission continues.
‘The soldier of the South Wales Borderers, recovered by CWGC staff, now lies alongside his comrades.
‘Captain Kington’s grave has been rededicated in the presence of his family with a new headstone bearing an inscription chosen by them.
‘The graves of both men will be cared for by the commission forevermore.’