The Albert Edward Kemp Mourning Collection comprises 69 objects acquired by Museum Victoria in 2006. It represents one family's memoralization of a soldier who died in World War I, leaving a young family to mourn him. His widow and later his daughter cherished the few items remaining from his service: letters and postcards from and to the front, sweetheat brooches and photographs of him in uniform. They also kept the heart-breaking letters advising of his death and how he died, and later correspondence concerning official recognition of his sacrifice: a tree in an avenue of honor, a scroll, medals and a plaque, and his name at 29 The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

Albert Edward Kemp was a 32-year-old butcher living in Caulfield, married to Annie Josephine and with two young children, when he enlisted to fight in World War I in 1916. He enlisted at Royal Park on 4 October 1916 and was assigned to the 22nd Reinforcements, 6th Battalion - regimental number 6800. His battalion left Melbourne on 25 October 1916 - just 21 days after he enlisted - on the Ulysses. The ship arrived in Plymouth three days after Christmas. Albert was shipped to France on 27 March and was 'taken on strength' on 4 April. On 21 September 1917 he died in the trenches at Glencorse Wood, Ypres, during a fierce battle. His body was never found.

Annie received a war pension but appears to have fallen on hard times. She was eventually evicted and moved to 19 Raleigh St, Malvern in 1922. She never re-married, and was still living at that address in Malvern, apparently with her daughter Ethel, when she died in 1961. Ethel never married either, and lived until old age, dying in 2003. She never liked to talk about the past, although carefully kept momentoes of her father. Her family describe her house as 'a museum'.

National Archives of Australia Series B2455/1 - barcode 7368872 - KEMP ALBERT EDWARD
Kemp collection supfile, Museum Victoria

'Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918'
Personal communication with the nephew and great-nieces of Annie Kemp, April 2008

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