Remembrance Day – Old Blue, Captain Ken Kettle MC

Sunday 10 November 2019

In June of this year, Christ’s Hospital received a very special donation to its museum collection.

The three children of Old Blue, Captain Ken Kettle MC (1918-2009) presented a beautifully framed commemorative memorial to their father with his Military Cross as the centrepiece.

Kettle acquired a Presentee entrance to Christ’s Hospital, with Miss Enid Bevan as his Donation Governor. Kettle attended Christ’s Hospital 1929 – 1934, in Barnes A. He always held the School highly, never forgetting his time at CH. He served during WWII in the Queen’s Royal Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross on 4 May 1943, attending the investiture at Buckingham Palace in 1945.

The Military Cross is an operational gallantry award given to all ranks of the services in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land. In this case it was awarded for his efforts in Egypt 1942, across the desert to Tripoli – he made a key contribution to victory in World War II.

Kettle was recommended for his medal by General Montgomery, Commander-in-Chief of the Middle East Forces.

Quoted from despatches 8th March 1943:

“For a long time Captain Kettle has been putting in a great deal of extremely valuable, though unostentatious work for the benefit of the Battalion.

During the fighting North of Hineimat when the Battalion had been forty-eight hours without food or water…Kettle…personally collected the rations, and in the face of considerable shelling and mortaring delivered supplies to the various Company H.Q.s.

…He has been perpetually on patrol…he was the first to enter Zuara, searched for and found where the road had been mined; captured three Italian prisoners; took up a position to the West and handed the town over to 1/7 Queen’s.

At Fisia Captain Kettle did a great deal of important patrolling as far forward as the Tunisian Frontier in the face of the enemy and brought back most valuable information. Throughout these operations…he has been constantly employed in contact with the enemy; yet his cheerful bearing together with his own personal courage in moments of adversity, have in no small measure been responsible for the various successes of both the carrier P1. And the Battalion itself.”

Kettle wrote about the battle in Egypt in 1942. You can read his accounts here.


With thanks to the Christ’s Hospital Musuem for information and photos.