Summary

Letter relates to the death of Private Kemp, killed in action 21 September 1917. It is addressed to Kemp's widow, Annie Kemp. The letter concerns the planting of memorial trees for those who had lost their lives in World War I.

The Caulfield Avenue of Honour was located in North Road and Nepean Highway, and was combined with the Brighton Avenue of Honour. The idea was reported in the Argus in July 1918, when it was intended to comprise 'two extensive avenues of gum trees' (Argus, 1 July 1918, p.6). Matters moved fast, and on 3 August the Governor planted the first tree (Argus, 5 August 1918, p.6). On the same day, Albert Kemp's tree was planted.

On 23 August, returned soldiers were invited to muster at Brighton railway station at 2.15, and then march to North Road, accompanied by the bands of the 46th Infantry and Brighton District. The trees were to be planted at the same time on a signal issuing from a raised platform (Argus 22 August 1919, p.6).

Significance

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.

More Information