S. F. Kemp
Second Lieutenant, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, Bucks Batallion
Killed in action age 34 on 16 April 1918
Awarded Military Cross
See Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry for an account of the attack in which Kemp died.
CWGC: “Eldest son of Frank John and Ellen Kemp, of 40 Lansdowne Gardens, London; husband of Eva Kemp (formerly Wisdom), of 10 Ross Street, Rochester.”
Remembered at St. Venant-Robecq Road Cemetery, Robecq, Pas de Calais, France
Brother of Hugh John Kemp.
At the time he enlisted on 26 August 1914, Sydney Frank Kemp worked as a prison warder. His paperwork includes the information that he had served in the 7th Hussars of the Line and had been discharged in 1905, having served his term.
It is therefore a little surprising to see the number of transgressions on Kemp’s conduct sheets. His crimes were all committed while he was serving in the ranks of the 11th Hussars of the Line; that is, before he was given a commission. Kemp’s crimes included absence from reveille, absence from billet, drunkenness, leaving the ranks without permission, neglecting to obey an order, making an improper remark to a warrant officer and ditto to a commanding officer. However, someone must have spotted his military talent, as in April 1917, after serving 3 years and 29 days, he was transferred to England, where he joined the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment, moved to the Officer Cadet Battalion at Berkhamsted in June, and joining the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
This may have given Kemp the confidence and motivation he needed. Kemp and his fellow officers were described by Major G. K. Rose writing in The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (1920) as “an infusion of new blood and vigour,” and he and the officer who was killed with him in the attack of 17 April 1918 were “capital officers.”
Sydney Kemp, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 8 stone, blue-eyed and fair-haired, married Eva Wisdom at St. Barnabas church on 3 February 1916. He was the eldest of 11 children of Frank John and Ellen Kemp of 40 Lansdowne Gardens, Stockwell. Eva later moved to Rochester.