RFA West Lancs Bdes
LT. K. McCULLOCH. R.F.A.
Kenneth McCulloch was born in the second quarter of 1886 in Blundellsands, Great Crosby, Lancashire. His father was Alexander McCulloch (b. 1844 in Liverpool), a cotton broker. His mother was Sarah Burd (b. 1844 in Manchester). Alexander and Sarah were married in 1874 and they had 10 children, Kenneth being the youngest. His older siblings were: Agnes (b. 1975), Alexander (1876-1901), Sarah (1877-1889), William (b. 1879), Edgar (b. 1880), Malcolm (1881-1914), Jessica (b. 1882), Robert (b. 1883), and Mary (b. 1885). Kenneth’s parents, Alexander and Sarah, died within six months of each other in 1904. In 1908, Kenneth married Esther Marion Radcliffe (b. 1885 in Freshfield, Lancashire), and in May 1910, they had a son, Geoffrey Kenneth. In 1911, the family was living at Portelet Park, West Heswall, Cheshire. Kenneth was a cotton salesman in the family cotton business.
Kenneth was commissioned as Second-Lieutenant in the West Lancashire Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery on 3 August 1915. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 June 1916. According to the War Diary, he was 286 Brigade’s Brigade Signals Officer.
In late September the Brigade was relieved from the front line and withdrew for a period of training, and returned to the line at Langemark about 35km north of Armentières, not far from the small village of Passchendaele, which would be the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the War. On 9 October 286 Brigade returned to action engaging in harassing and destructive fire on enemy strongpoints, but also suffering their heaviest losses of the war so far, with many soldiers being gassed. Kenneth was killed in action on 12 October 1917. He was 31 years old.
286 Brigade was to lose over 300 men before the end of the month, killed and wounded – almost half their full complement.
Date of Death: 12/10/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, 286th Bde.
Grave Reference: III. D. 29.
Cemetery: CANADA FARM CEMETERY
After the War, in 1919, Esther remarried. Her second husband was Frederick Steele Pilcher (b. 1888 in Blundellsands), a coal mining engineer. Fred had also served as a Lieutenant in the West Lancs Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He landed in France with 57th Division in February 1917 and was discharged (presumably wounded) on 28 September 1918. He died in 1986.
Marion died in 1982. Her son, Geoffrey Kenneth McCulloch became a barrister in London and died in 2004.