Kirkup R.A.


315180 Private Ralph Alexander Kirkup, 11th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers was killed in action 27 October 1918 and is buried in Tezze British Cemetery, Italy. [1]  He was 24 years old and is commemorated on Cockfield War Memorial.

Family Details

Ralph Alexander Kirkup was born c.1895 at Chillingham, Northumberland the son of William and Isabella Kirkup.  There were at least 6 children:

  • John H. bc.1884 at Lowick, Northumberland
  • Ann bc.1886 at Chatton, Northumberland
  • Thomas bc.1887 at Lowick, Northumberland
  • Mathew bc.1889 at Chillingham, Northumberland
  • George bc.1892 at Chillingham, Northumberland
  • Ralph bc.1895 at Chillingham, Northumberland

In 1901, the family lived at Trickley House, Newtown in the Parish of Chillingham, Northumberland.  William was employed as a game-keeper.  By 1911, William worked as a general labourer and rabbit catcher, 27 year old John was a horseman on the farm, 24 year old Thomas was a general labourer and rabbit catcher and both 22 year old Mathew and 16 year old Ralph were horsemen on the farm.  They worked at Whitting Farm. [2]  The CWGC information records that William and Isabelle lived at Trickley House, Chatton, Belford, Northumberland. [3]

Service Details

The service details of Ralph Alexander Kirkup and the war diary of the 11th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers has not been researched.  He enlisted at Alnwick and was given the regimental number 315180[4] and served with “D” Company.[5]  He did not enter France until after 31 December 1915.[6]

In September 1914, the 11th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers was formed in Newcastle as part of K3, Kitchener’s New Army.  It came under the orders of the 68th Brigade, 23rd Division and landed in France in August 1915.  The Division served on the Western Front until November 1917 when it was moved to Italy.[7]  The 68th Brigade consisted of:

  • 10th (Service) Bn., Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 11th (Service) Bn., Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 12th (Service) Bn., Durham light infantry
  • 68th MGC joined March 1916 moved to the Divisional MG Battalion May 1918
  • 68th Trench Mortar Battery formed June 1916

The Division saw action on the Italian/Austrian Front:

  • 15-16 June 1918: Asiago Plateau
  • 26 October – 4 November 1918: Battle of Vittorio Veneto including the passage of the Piave 26-27 October and of Monticano 29 October.
  • 2 November 1918: 3pm – armistice took effect on the Italian/Austrian Front [8]

In May 1915, the Italians entered the war on the Allied side after declaring war on Austria and Commonwealth Forces served on the Italian Front between November 1917 and November 1918.

12 October: XIV Corps (7th and 23rd Divisions) were transferred to the Asiago sector and took over the River Piave Front from Salletuol to Palazzon, serving as part of the Italian tenth Army.

23 October: night, the main channel of the river was crossed using small boats and the northern half of the island of Grava di Papadopoli was occupied.  After the capture of the island, the bridging of the Piave proceeded rapidly although the strength of the current meant that the 2 bridges were frequently broken and many men drowned.

27 October: early morning, the attack to the east of the Piave began.  Despite difficulties bringing forward supporting troops across the river, the Austrians were forced back until the Armistice was signed.[9]

The 11/Northumberland Fusiliers between 26 October and 4 November 1918 lost 3 officers and 62 other ranks killed in action or died of wounds, the majority 3 officers and 55 other ranks including Private R.A. Kirkup died 27 October 1918.[10]

315180 Private R.A. Kirkup was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[11]


315180 Private Ralph Alexander Kirkup is buried at grave reference 5.A.11, Tezze British Cemetery.   Many of those who died on the north-east side of the river Piave are buried here.  There are 356 Commonwealth burials.  Ralph’s headstone has the following epitaph:

Ever Remembered

Organised by his father W. Kirkup esq., Bilton Farm Cottages, Lesbury, Northumberland.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] 1901 & 1911 census Note: No other individual has been traced with the name of Ralph Kirkup (as commemorated on the Cockfield War Memorial) either on the 1901 census, 1911 census, ancestry or CWGC data bases.  It is assumed that the above named Ralph Alexander Kirkup is the correct servicemen but this is not 100% certain.

[3] CWGC

[4] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[5] CWGC

[6] Medal Roll card index



[9][9] CWGC

[10] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[11] Medal Roll card index





Railway Station





One thought on “Kirkup R.A.

  1. Pingback: COCKFIELD | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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