No.1430 Sergeant Alan George Kyd
Alan George Kyd was born in Elsternwick, Victoria, in 1893, the son of George and Caroline Kate Kyd (nee Tijou). His father George owned a grain mill in Werribee (George Kyd & Co.).
Alan was 20 years old, single and working as a bank
clerk when he enlisted in St Kilda, Victoria on 17 August 1914. He was described as being 5 feet, 4-and-a-half inches tall, with blue eyes and fair hair. He was allotted as a Gunner in the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade (Brigade Ammunition Column).
On 21 October 1914, Alan’s unit embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A27 Southern, headed for Egypt for training. In April 1915 he became part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) and took part in the Gallipoli landing. In October 1915 he was transferred to the Heavy Battery of the Artillery. The following month, Alan was promoted to Temporary Bombadier.
On Christmas Eve 1915, Alan was evacuated from Gallipoli on the HMT Caledonia, arriving in Alexandria, Egypt, on 27 December 1915. In March 1916, he was transferred to the 55th Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade of the 5th Division, stationed in Tel-el-Kebir for training. There he was promoted first to Temporary Corporal in April, and then to Sergeant in May 1916.
In June 1916, Sergeant Kyd left Egypt with his unit, heading for Marseilles, France, and then on to the trenches of the Western Front, near Armentieres. In July, Alan’s unit formed part of the attack on the German trenches in the Battle of Fromelles, but the Allies were forced to withdraw. Australia suffered 5,533 casualties, and the battle was responsible for the greatest loss of Australian lives in one 24-hour period during the entire war.
In 1917, when the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line began, the 5th Division joined the pursuit. On 2 April 1917, the 14th Brigade captured the villages of Doignies and Louverval.
On 31 July 1917, the 55th Battery came under heavy enemy bombardment and Sgt Kyd was gassed. Despite that, he displayed “high courage and devotion to duty”. The whole of his detachment were either killed or wounded on that day, but Kyd “nevertheless succeeded in keeping his gun in action, performing the duties of three other men besides his own. His high courage and devotion to duty inspired the remainder of the Battery”.
The following day, he was hospitalised in the Australian General Hospital in Abbeville. For this act of bravery, Sgt Kyd was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery in the Field in November 1917.
Alan re-joined his unit from hospital in late August 1917. In September, the 14th Brigade were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres, capturing Polygon Wood. In October, Sgt Kyd was wounded in action for a second time, and was transferred to Middlesex, England for hospital treatment.
On 6 March 1918, he was awarded the Military Medal "...for conspicuous services rendered..."
London Gazette, 2 November 1917 page 11346 at postion 30
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, Issue No. 19 dated 14 February 1918 p.285
Alan was was not fit to return to his unit until March 1918, just as the 5th Division returned to action, with the Germans threatening the important town of Amiens. On 24 April the Germans attacked and captured the town of Villers-Bretonneux. The 13th and 15th Brigades launched a counter attack and the following day the town was recaptured. This was the end of the German advance on Amiens.
In June 1918, Sgt Kyd was transferred to the RFA Cadet School in England (an Officer Traning College) in order to qualify for a commission. The following month, Alan was awarded the Croix de Guerre by His Majesty King of the Belgians for his act of bravery in July 1917.
London Gazette, 12 July 1918 at position 47.
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 27 November 1918 p.2262
At the end of October, Alan was transferred to the AIF Rest Camp at St Budeaux in Devon. In December 1918, he left England to return to Melbourne aboard the SS Leicestershire.
After the war, Alan worked in sales and as a merchant. He married and had two children, and lived in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Alan died in Mount Martha on 28 June 1937, aged just 43. He is buried in St Kilda Cemetery.
Medals and Entitlements:
- Military Medal
- Croix de Guerre
- 1914/15 Star Medal
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal