Fred 'Buck' Kite - A Tribute

  Memorial to Buck Kite  

Fred ‘Buck’ Kite was born in Hassell Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1921. He attended Hassell Street Primary School followed by The Orme School. At the age of 17 he joined the British Army enrolling into the Royal Armoured Corps and was posted to the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment.

He died in 1993 at the age of 72 and had the unique distinction of being the only British soldier to receive the Military Medal three times in WW2. Fred received his first military medal for bravery in North Africa in January 1943 when engaged on a special reconnaissance mission. The second medal was awarded for leadership, initiative and personal courage during action near the village of Bras, Normandy in July 1944. The third medal was awarded for great personal courage before being seriously wounded at Le Grand Bonfait, Normandy.

Montgomery’s signature appeared on all three citations, first as General Officer Commanding 8th Army, then as Commander in Chief 21st Army Group, and finally as Field Marshall. Fred also saw action in Egypt, Crete and Greece. King George VI presented his medals to him at Buckingham Palace.

In 2004, youngsters at his former Primary School helped to design a permanent memorial to the former pupil who became a war hero. The Borough Council held a design competition for children at Hassell Primary School after it was agreed to set up the memorial for Fred Kite. A total of 46 youngsters entered the contest and a special prize-giving ceremony was held in Newcastle's Civic Offices.

Prizewinners Bethany Crawford, Joshua Johnson and Morgan Eglin were each presented with a book token by Elaine Kite, Fred's widow, and George Beckett, who served with him in WW2.

"Fred Kite was an outstanding citizen of the Borough and we are hoping to mark his achievements with a permanent memorial in Newcastle, and we decided to link this piece of local history to the school so that the children can learn about a former pupil" said Cllr. Vic Finnemore.

A Floral Tribute to Fred 'Buck' Kite

Floral tributel to Buck
  Elaine Kite with the Mayor being presented with the picture

A floral tribute to Fred Kite took pride of place at the Royal Horticultural Society Tatton Park show in July 2008. An exhibit dedicated to Fred Kite was entered by the Borough Council in the national flower bed competition at the Cheshire event.

The Tatton flower bed takes the form of a Crusader tank, as used in the African desert campaign, coming over a sand dune and approaching an oasis. The tank is made of timber and covered in carpet bedding. The sand dunes comprise yellow marigolds and the oasis contains tropical plants.

"Sgt. Kite showed great bravery during the Second World War and we felt it was fitting to design our entry to the competition in commemoration of his achievements,” said Cllr. David Becket.

The floral tribute to a Newcastle war hero was eventually given the highest honour, a gold award, at the show. Fred Kite’s widow, Elaine, viewed the flower tribute to her late husband , along with Newcastle Mayor John Cooper and was presented with a picture of the tribute. It’s the first time that Newcastle Borough Council have taken the top accolade in the national flower bed competition at the Cheshire event. “We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised in this way, and It’s very appropriate that we should win this honour in memory of Sgt. Kite, who showed great bravery in the Second World War.” said Cllr. Mary Maxfield.

A copy of the Newcastle-under-Lyme Council Information sheet about Fred Kite can be viewed here. You will require Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded free if required.