MAJOR GASTON PIERRE PETER KURTEN
24TH APRIL 1918 AGE 29
BURIED: CAMON COMMUNAL CEMETERY, FRANCE
This is a lovely tribute from a soldier, a bombardier, the equivalent of a lance corporal, to his officer. It was one that his father appreciated enough to chose as his son's headstone inscription. There would have been other tributes in plenty as Kurten was something of a superstar, however this was the one that most touched him.
At the time of his death, Major Peter Kurten was the officer commanding 291st Siege Battery, a rapid promotion for someone who had only joined the army in 1916. But then Kurten was an able man. He had 1st Class degrees from both Oxford and King's College, London and in 1912 had entered the Civil Service as an Upper Division clerk. Two years later, in 1914, he was appointed private secretary to Sir Matthew Nathan, Under-Secretary for Ireland.
Kurten joined the Army Service Corps in February 1916, transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery the following September, was appointed acting captain in April 1917, acting major two months later and was given command of his battery that August. He was killed by shellfire near Villers Bretonneaux during the German Spring Offensive.
Gaston Pierre (Peter) Kurten was the son of Johann Robert Kurten, a naturalised British citizen born in Germany in 1858.