Letter from the Australian Imperial Force Kit Store, London, to Mrs C. Kemp of Heathcote relating to the return of personal effects from her husband, Private A. E. Kemp, a World War I soldier killed in action. It probably dates to May 1918.
The letter lists the effects in an accompanying parcel: photos, post cards, a rosary and a religious book. Unfortunately, the parcel should have been sent to Mrs A. E. (Annie) Kemp of Malvern. In turn, however, Mrs A. E. Kemp received the parcel intended for Mrs C. Kemp.
No apology was made in later correspondence to Annie Kemp (HT 13570) for what must have been a heart-rending mistake, made at the A.I.F. Headquarters in London.
Annie eventually received the proper parcel nearly a year later, on 25 May 1919. It contained the correct photographs, postcards, a rosary and a 'religious book' (according to his service record held at the National Archives).
Single page letter, typed, on letterhead printed in blue, with AIF rising sun motif at centre.
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.
Australian Imperial Force (AIF), 110 Greyhound Road, Hammersmith, England, Great Britain, May 1918
Date made based on known date of a similar letter sent to the wrong Mrs Kemp, which she received on 22 May 1918.
Text: Australian Imperial Force/KIT STORE/110 GREYHOUND ROAD/HAMMERSMITH, LONDON/W.6./Inventory of Effects of The late No. 6800 Pte. Kemp, A.E. 6th Batt. A.I.F./Forwarded to-MOTHER/Mrs C. Kemp/Heathcote/VICTORIA/EFFECTS/Ex. 3rd Echelon. France. 27.12.17. (8065)/Photos, Post Cards, Rosary, Religious Book.
Type of item
16.5 cm (Length), 20.5 cm (Width)