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Remembering World War I Yarmouth Connections
Keith Dalston Withycombe
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Article from the Cambridge Chronicle newspaper, Cambridge, Massachusetts November 23, 1918 Sunday morning; Mrs. George A. Littlefield, of 2062 Massachusetts Avenue, received a cablegram from the London War Office announcing that her son, Private Keith D. Withycombe, had been killed in action October 22nd. Private Withycombe was born In Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, 27 years ago. He came to this city in infancy and lived here up to January, 1916. He was for some years employed as driver by the Fresh Pond Ice Co. He attended the Shepard School. In July, 1915, he enlisted in England in the Royal Field artillery, and drove a truck in the ammunition train. During the six months prior to his enlistment Private Withycombe was engaged in the trans-Atlantic merchant marine service, making one trip as a hostler on a horse transport, and three trips as a seaman. During his trips across he had some exciting experiences in dodging submarines, and on one occasion a near-by sister transport was torpedoed. During his 39 months of active service in France he received a shell-shock wound in the eyes which entitled him to the wounded shoulder service strap which will be noted in the picture. He was a member of Mt. Sinai lodge, I. O. O. F., where he was very popular. His brother Odd Fellows sent him a Christmas box last year. A box from his mother Is now en route in the mails, and at the moment of receiving the cablegram announcing his death she was in the act of putting a favorite fruit cake in the oven that was intended for the boy overseas. Beside his mother, Private Withycombe is survived by two brothers. Hadley, who is attached to the Engineers Corps in the American Expeditionary Force, and William Withycombe who is a third mate in the merchant marine service.
Name: Keith Dalston Withycombe Service Number: L/35497 Rank: Driver Service United Kingdom Royal Field Artillery “D” Battery 51st Brigade Date of Enlistment: July, 1915 Date of Birth: May 11, 1891 Place of Birth: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Date of Death: October 22, 1918 Age at Death: 27 Cemetery: Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Belgium Grave Reference: Section IX, Row B, Grave 10 Not Commemorated on the Yarmouth War Memorial Not currently commemorated in the First World War Book of Remembrance Keith was the son of Mathilda (Chafe) Withycombe (b. 1857), and William Robert Withycombe (1855-1900), and the brother of Hadley Edward Withycombe and William Withycombe. Keith’s mother’s middle name is recorded as Maria, Maud, and other names elsewhere. She is also listed as Mary on later censuses. His father, William, was born September 26, 1855 in Ferryland, Newfoundland and died in Cambridge Mass., September 8, 1900. After William’s death, Keith’s mother remarried George A. Littlefield. Keith served as a Driver with “D” Battery of the 51st Brigade Artillery in the Royal Field Artillery. On November 19, 1918, the Boston Globe in Boston, Massachusetts reported that Keith Withycombe was killed a month earlier, on October 22, 1918. He is interred at the Harlebeke New British Cemetery in Belgium.