PRIVATE JOHN WILLIAM KINGSLAND
6TH NOVEMBER 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: CAMBRAI EAST MILITARY CEMETERY, FRANCE
John Kingsland was wounded on 28 October 1918 in the 1st/4th Seaforth Highlanders' attack on Mont Houy during the Battle of Valenciennes. He died nine days later in a Casualty Clearing Station in Cambrai.
Kingsland's father, John Padden Kingsland, a Congregational minister and an artist, chose his son's inscription. Whilst I can imagine that the family called John junior, Jack, I feel sure that the first line of the inscription is a reference to Rudyard Kipling's poem, 'My Boy Jack'. Many assumed that the poem, written in 1916, was a lament for his own son, John Kipling, but it is in fact a haunting generic lament for the thousands of dead sailors, 'Jacks', who died at the Battle of Jutland 31 May/1June 1916.
The poem may apply to sailors but the sentiment is appropriate to any grieving parent:
"Have you news of my boy Jack?"
Not this tide
"When d'you think he'll come back?"
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
"Oh dear, what comfort can I find?"
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind -
Then hold your head up all the more,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide.
The second part of the inscription is a quotation from Luke 24:6. On the Sunday after the crucifixion the Mary, Jesus' mother, and Mary Magdalene, arrived at Christ's tomb to find that the body had gone. The distressed women found themselves addressed by two figures in shining garments who asked, "Why seek ye the living among the dead. He is not here but is risen". This evidence of the resurrection, of the fact that in Christ there is no death, brought great comfort to many mourning families.