Kitching was born in 1893 to a Quaker family and joined the ranks of The Salvation Army. He was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1914 and served variously in pastoral and administrative positions in the United Kingdom, Australia and Sweden.
Kitching was elected General on 11 May 1954, by 32 votes out of 46. He assumed command on 1 July. His nine-year term was the longest so far of any elected General. Kitching visited and ministered in every territory and command in which Salvationists were to be found, excepting Burma.
Kitching served as General until 1963. He died in 1977, aged 84.