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Thomas James Kidston WW1

by Jess Gibby | People, World War One

Thomas James Kidston was born in Bishopsteignton on the 28th March 1876 to John and Louisa Kidston. He was a Leading Stoker in the Royal Navy with the Service No 280054 serving on HMS Ariadne. He is described as 5’5″ with light brown hair, light blue eyes and a fair, fresh complexion. He lost his life at sea when the Ariadne was sunk off Beachy Head in July 1917.

Early Life

Thomas James Kidston was born in Bishopsteignton on the 28th March 1876 to John and Louisa Kidston.

According to the 1881 census he was living with his mother Louisa  (shown as a sailors wife) and his elder brother William and his grandmother Sarah Morritt at 59, Clanage Hill, Bishopsteignton.

In 1911 Thomas was registered as living in the Triangle together with his widowed mother, his younger brother Edward and his elder brother William, a domestic gardener. Thomas was 34 years old, single and a leading stoker RN (following his father’s footsteps). Edward was a farm labourer.

Military Experience

On the 1901 census Thomas was listed as part of the crew of HMS Apollo, based in North Basin Keyham Dockyard, Devonport.  He was one of 24 stokers.

He then became a Leading Stoker in the Royal Navy, serving on HMS Ariadne.

HMS Ariadne was a Diadem-class protected cruiser of the Royal Navy. In March 1913, she was converted to a stokers training ship and  then a mine-layer in 1917, assigned to the Nore Command.  On 26th July 1917 she was torpedoed by the German submarine UC-65 (Otto Steinbrink) and sunk off Beachy Head.[1]

Death and Burial
Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel


Thomas was 41 years old when he died as a direct result of this enemy action. His body was not recovered for burial.  He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Plot 22 Memorial ID 13297328. [2]

His parents were living at 4, Clanage Street, Bishopsteignton at the time of the registration.[3]

Full commemoration details can be found here


Are you a descendant of the Kidston Family? Do you have any photos of Thomas or his siblings? Please do get in touch.