Leonard Kilcoin

Leonard Lewis Kilcoin was born in 1884 in Wellington in the Madras Presidency into a military family. His father was Captain Patrick Plunkett Kilcoin and his elder brother Charles rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
At the age of 14 he joined the Welch regiment and served in The Boer War. From his military record at the time and letters in possession of the family a picture emerges of a slightly reckless but likeable young man who was, in his early years a bit of a worry to his caring family. He left the regiment in 1903 and his military history from that date is not clear. In 1910 he married Annie Robinson and started their family with the birth of their first son Charles. He then becomes very much a caring husband and father. On the outbreak of war on 4th August 1914 at the age of 30 he was immediately called up (having previously enlisted with the Irish Guards.) Later in the war, having been granted compassionate leave to visit his wife and children, seriously ill with “Flu he wrote the following poem (author unknown) in his notebook, now in the possession of his family.

Our day is over, ended the Dream Divine.
You must go back to your world.
I must go back to mine.
Back to the joyless duties.
Back to the few friends dear.
Loving and yet divided.
All through the endless years.
How can I live without you.
How can I let you go.
I that you love so well dear.
You that I worship so.
Dearest our night is passing.
Warmth thy trembling moan.
Hark! How the wind ariseth.
Morn will be here so soon.
Tell me again you love me.
Kiss me on lips and brow.
Love of my soul, I love you.
How can I leave you now.

So in August of 1914 he had to leave for France. The above poem however appears not to refer to that first parting but to his return from compassionate leave granted when his wife (whom he called “Nance”) and his children were seriously ill with ‘Flu.


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