VALE – Neville Kidd

Neville Thomas Kidd 1922 - 2018

Neville Thomas Kidd 1922 – 2018

On behalf of the Committee and Members of Families and Friends of the First AIF, I extend condolences to the family and friends of FFFAIF Foundation and Honorary Member Neville Kidd on his passing in the Lady Davidson Private Hospital on 22 April 2018, aged 95 years.

Neville’s father, 3138 Pte Thomas Oswald (“Ossie’) Kidd (1897-1928) served with the 1st Pioneer Bn on the Western Front before returning to Australia in 1919. His mother, Mary, raised 6 infant children, after being widowed in 1928 aged 29. Neville also had 3 uncles who served in The Great War. Neville followed in his father’s footsteps, enlisting in World War 2, where he met Pte Winifred (“Win”) Booth AWAS 7AAOD (Australian Women’s Army Service 7th Australian Advanced Ordinance Depot), and they married in 1944.

Neville joined FFFAIF as Member AUS 22 in November 2002 and provided much voluntary and invaluable assistance during the establishment of FFFAIF Inc and the John Laffin Memorial Fund.

In 2003 Neville Kidd first introduced many of us to Major Roy Harrison in his article An Anzac I Never Knew which appeared in DIGGER Magazine. Neville’s book An Impression Which Will Never Fade, the story of Major Roy Harrison, published in 2000, charts the course of Harrison’s enlistment in the AIF and his service with the 2nd and 54th Battalions through to his death during the Battle of Fromelles, 19 July 1916. In 2008 Neville shared his moving experience when he and Win first visited the grave of Major Harrison in Rue Petillon CWGC in 1990 with FFFAIF Founder John Laffin and his wife Hazelle. Read An Anzac I Never Knew.

Neville Kidd, Martial Delabarre and John Laffin at Fromelles June 1990

Neville Kidd, Martial Delabarre and John Laffin at Fromelles June 1990

Neville Kidd, Martial Delabarre and John Laffin at Fromelles June 1990

 Neville generously donated copies of An Impression Which Will Never Fade, to winners of the John Laffin Travel Scholarship from 2005 to 2008.

2006 was a significant year in raising awareness of the Battle of Fromelles. Lambis Englezos and his team and Chris Bryett with ROAM were campaigning for the investigation of the “missing” soldiers of the Battle of Fromelles; Lambis and ‘Froggie Cobber’ Yves Fohlen featured on Ray Martin’s story on the Battle of Fromelles on 60 Minutes; and Neville, along with Ross St. Claire presented the John Laffin Memorial Lecture focussed on the Battle of Fromelles. Neville with FFFAIF President Russell Curley laid a wreath at the 19 July Fromelles Day Commemoration at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park in Sydney with 7 FFFAIF members attending and FFFAIF wrote to the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney re the Fromelles Commemoration.

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Neville with FFFAIF President Russell Curley honouring the fallen 19 July 2007 and Neville with Jim Munro honouring the fallen 19 July 2008
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The following year, Patrick Lindsay’s Fromelles was published, which included extracts of Neville’s book An Impression Which Will Never Fade, and outlined Neville’s campaign for greater recognition of the Battle of Fromelles on the ANZAC Memorial in Sydney (p160-162).

 Patrick Lindsay Fromelles Book Dec 2007

Patrick Lindsay Fromelles Book Dec 2007

A high point for Neville was the 2008 John Laffin Memorial Lecture focussed on the Battle of Fromelles when he joined with FFFAIF Members Lambis Englezos, Tim Whitford, Chris Bryett, Ross St Claire and Professor Richard Wright and author Patrick Lindsay for a series of lectures.

In 2009, Neville was invited to accept Honorary Membership of FFFAIF in recognition of his extraordinary service to Digger Heritage as demonstrated by his prolonged and untiring efforts to have the sacrifice made by the 5th Division AIF at Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916 properly recognised, and his voluntary and invaluable assistance during the establishment of FFFAIF Inc and the John Laffin Memorial Fund, and his continuing contributions.

In 2010, Neville participated in the inaugural FFFAIF Western Front Tour, 14-27 July 2010 as one 48 members on the tour. This tour combined individual and group commemorations with visits to most of the Western Front locations of significance to Australians and was an outstanding success. Neville commented that he had last experienced comradery similar to the Tour experience in his military service in World War II. Neville’s sense of humour and status as an elder statesman contributed significantly to the experience for all participants.

WF Tour Day 3_MattSmith - 111 2010 07 27 WF Tour Day 14 HF 2266 - Sarah & Neville (youngest & eldest)

Maurice Campbell commemorates Harold Campbell at Aeroplane Cemetery and
Elder Neville with Younger Sarah on the Western Front at Compienge July 2010
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Highlights for Neville included meeting Channel 7 Reporter Chris Reason on the battlefields and attending the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate and meeting Australian Ambassador Brendan Nelson.

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Neville with Chris Reason and Mat McLachlan on the Western Front July 2010
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WF Tour Day 4 The Wards - 248   Neville with Brendan Nelson at the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate July 2010

A memorable moment was when the Tour visited the Berks Cemetery Extension Memorial at Messines, where Neville misjudged the height of the chain and took a tumble, and was then reliant on a wheelchair with his “battlefield wound” for several days. However, this did not deter him pointing out that the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 is commemorated by inscription on the Memorial as “Fromelles 1916”, something that Neville aspired to see on Australian State and National War Memorials.

 

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Neville at Berks Cemetery Extension Memorial at Messines where “Fromelles 1916″ is inscribed July 2010
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Neville also trekked to the top of the Butte at Polygon Wood to point out the primacy of the Battle of Fromelles on the 5th Division Memorial.

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Neville at the Memorial to the 5th Division at Polygon Wood July 2010
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Visiting the graves of Major Harrison and Rev Spencer Maxted at Rue Petillon, visiting Pheasant Wood and attendance at the dedication of the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery had special significance for Neville.

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Neville laying a wreath on the grave of Roy Harrison at Rue Petillon July 2010

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Russell Curley, Neville and Ross St. Claire, and
Neville with Kath, Val and Colin at the grave of Roy Harrison July 2010
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Lambis and Neville commemorate Rev Spencer Maxted at his grave at Rue Petillon and with Ross St. Claire at VC Corner July 2010

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Neville with FFFAIF Tour Group looking across no-man’s land from the German front line July 2010

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Neville with Trevor Munro and Tim Whitford at Pheasant Wood July 2010

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Lambis Englezos and Neville where the “missing” soldiers were buried “before Pheasant Wood” July 2010

As a post-script to the Dedication ceremony at Fromelles, then FFFAIF Patron and Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC invited FFFAIF to organise a Fromelles Retrospective at Government House in Canberra, which Neville was honoured to attend on Remembrance Day 2010.

2010 11 11 Remembrance Day 2010 Canberra Neville and FFFAIF at AWM P1070164  2010 11 11 Remembrance Day 2010 Canberra P1070263

Neville on Remembrance Day 2010 at the AWM and at Government House with Val and Colin
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Neville with Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC and Michael Bryce at the Fromelles Retrospective on Remembrance Day 2010

Neville continued to advocate for greater recognition for those men who fought in the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. Part of his legacy is that the Fromelles Day Commemoration at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park in Sydney has grown from the small Commemoration in 2006 to more than 250 people attending a decade later. The Fromelles Day Commemoration is now one of the most significant commemorations in the Anzac Memorial calendar.

Neville also continued to participate in FFFAIF John Laffin Memorial Lectures and AGM’s, and as his mobility declined, on several occasions he connected via Skype and participated by reciting Laurence Binyon’s For the Fallen as The Ode.

Neville Kidd with FFFAIF members

Neville Kidd with FFFAIF members

We give thanks for Neville’s contribution to helping Keep The Memory Alive and to FFFAIF and its members. We will treasure our memories of him.

Neville is at rest next to his beloved wife Win at Macquarie Park Cemetery. Condolences are extended to Kath, Colin and Val and families on the passing of their much-loved father, father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Jim Munro
President

A copy of this FFFAIF Tribute to Neville Kidd may be downloaded by clicking here.
Neville Kidd – FFFAIF Tribute – May 2018

This entry was posted in 2010 Commemorative Tour, Commemorations, Fromelles, John Laffin Memorial Lecture, The Western Front. Bookmark the permalink.