Typed letter from the War Service Homes Commission to Mrs Annie Kemp, widow of Pte Albert Edward Kemp, who was killed in action in 1917, during World War I. The letter explains that the Commission has no record of ever having received an application from her for assistance under the War Services Homes Act 1918-1920. The letter originally included a Form of Application for Annie to complete and return. The letter sternly points out that 'consideration cannot/be given to the purchase of an existing dwelling-house unless very special circumstances exist'.
Letter comprising single sheet of grey paper, typed onto letterhead, with stamped number and original signature.
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 Glencorse Wood, 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.
Text: COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA/WAR SERVICE HOMES COMMISSION/VICTORIAN BRANCH/Repatriation Buildings/Jolimont/5th December, 1921./Dear Madam,/I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 25th/ultimo, and in reply desire to inform you that I have no record/of ever having received an application from you for assistance under/the War Services Homes Act 1918-1920./I am, therefore, forwarding you under separate cover/Form of Application for completion and return to this office./I would, however, point out that consideration cannot/be given to the purchase of an existing dwelling-house unless very/special circumstances exist.
Type of item
22.9 cm (Length), 21 cm (Width)