Letter from the Chaplain of the 6th Battalion, George W. Carter, to the widow of Private Kemp, about his death in action on 20 September (officially recorded as 20 September) 1917.
Single sheet of off-white paper, printed with cross-hatch lines. Hand-written in ink. Staples and/or pins have left rusted marks, although have been removed.
Albert Edward Kemp was a 32-year-old butcher, living at 8 Normanby Ave, Caulfield and married to Annie Josephine, when he enlisted. Born in South Yarra, he was a small man, 5'4½", and weighed only eight stone. He and Annie had a daughter, Ethel Mavis, and a son, George Percival.
Albert enlisted at Royal Park on 4 October 1916, and was assigned to the 22nd Reinforcements, 6th Battalion - regimental number 6800. His battalion left Melbourne 25 October 1916 - just 21 days after Albert enlisted - on the "Ulysses" with two officers and 150 O/Rs. The ship arrived in Plymouth three days after Christmas.
A little over one month later, on 1 February 1917, Albert was disciplined for being absent without leave from midnight and was apprehended the next afternoon. He forfeited 18 days' pay for his offence. He was shipped to France on 27 March, and probably went into action in the trenches. On 13 July Albert was again in trouble, this time for disobeying orders from a superior officer. (It is unclear what his punishment was, but "48 hours" may refer to imprisonment).
Two months later, on 21 September 1917, Albert died in the trenches in Glencross Wood, France (according to his memorial medal and the Roll of Honour, but his Field Service record says he died in Belgium). He is buried at 29 The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. His name is located at panel 47 in the Commomorative Area at the Australian War Memorial.
Some time in 1918, Albert's belongings were sent in error to a family who had lost a member by the same name in Wonthaggi, and Annie received that man's belongings. In June she was asked to return the other Pte Kemp's belongings.
Annie received a war pension, but appears to have fallen on hard times - suggested by her need for assistance with a grocery bill approved in one of the documents. She moved to 19 Raleigh St, Malvern in 1922. It is unclear what happened to Ethel, as only George is mentioned from the early 1920s. Further research is required.
The family's home at 8 Normanby Ave is still standing, largely with original façade; their street overall is also largely original.
'In the Field / 27.11.19 / To Mrs A.E. Kemp / 8 Normanby Ave. Malvern.Vic / Dear Mrs Kemp, / I write on behalf of the officers and men / of this 6th Battalion to convey to you our / depth of sympathy in the sad loss you have / sustained by the death of Private Kemp no / 6800 who was killed in action near / Paschendale by enemy shellfire on / 20.9.17. May God comfort you in / your sorrow and may he soon / send us that complete victory in the / pursuit of which our comrade gave / his life. / Yours sincerely / George W. Carter / Chaplain 6th Btn A.I.F.'
Type of item
20 cm (Length), 13.6 cm (Width)