One-page letter from the Department of Repatriation to Mrs Annie J. Kemp, regarding increased living allowance, dated 7 February 1919. Annie was the widow of World War I soldier Private Albert Edward Kemp, was killed in action in 1917.
The letter responds to Annie's request for increased living allowance, and informs her that she has been granted £1.14.0. per fortnight, with an additional £7.10.7 adjustment of allowance to be forwarded to her post office.
Annie struggled financially after her husband's death, raising two children on her own. The increase in allowance and back-pay would have been very welcome. However, three years later she was evicted from her home for financial reasons.
Letter comprising single sheet of pale grey paper, printed with contact details of Commonwealth of Australia, typed with purple ink and signed. Someone has scrawled calculations on the lower left. Has been folded, and pinned at the upper left corner in the past. Left corners folded back.
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/DEPARTMENT OF REPATRIATION/STATE OF VICTORIA/WELLINGTON PARADE SOUTH/JOLIMONT, MELBOURNE/7th February 1919/Dear Madam/With reference to your application to this Department/for the increased living allowance, I have to inform you that you/have been granted £1.14.0. per fortnight./An amount of £7.10.7 being adjustment of allowance as/from date of application to 12.2.1919 has been forwarded for your/collection to the Post Office where your pension is made available.
Type of item
2D Dimensions - Document
16.7 cm (Length), 21 cm (Width)