Bernard Francis Kelly

KOYLILance Corporal, 18444, 8th (Service) Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, killed in action, 1st October, 1916, aged 23.

Born at Eastoft in 1893, the younger brother of Thomas, Bernard was the second son and one of the seven children of Thomas and Ann Kelly. Both of his parents were agricultural labourers from Ireland.

The family lived in Crowle in the late 1890’s and by 1901 had moved to Moor Farm, Reedness. Mrs Kelly had died by 1911 when family lived in the High Street, Swinefleet. Thomas Snr still working as a farm labourer, elder brother Thomas was a dock labourer whilst Bernard was farm waggoner. When the brothers enlisted in the army, they both gave their address as 42 Cooper Street, Old Goole.

Bernard enlisted in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at Goole in 1914 or early 1915. Posted to the 8th Battalion, he was with his unit when they arrived in France on 26th August 1915, with 70th Brigade, 23rd Division.

On the morning of 1st October 1916, the 8th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry were in trenches at Destremont Farm, near Martinpuich, preparing for their role in the next stage of the Somme offensive where they were to attack Flers Trench near Le Sars. Coming under heavy German shelling whilst they were still forming up, the 8th King’s Own Yorkshires lost even more men during a difficult approach across 600 yards of open ground before they even reached the German front line. Once into the trenches the troops faced more determined resistance before they capturing their objectives and consolidated them against the subsequent German counter-attack. From where they were relieved the following day.

In their attack on Flers Trench near Destremont Farm, the 8th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry suffered 259 casualties. One of whom was Lance Corporal Bernard Kelly.

Bernard has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. He is also commemorated on Swinefleet War Memorial.