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Joseph Harold Kemp


Serial No:
Serial No. 23

4th Battalion


Joseph Harold Kemp - Information

The Kemps had extensive ties to the Ingleburn area. Joseph was born to farmers Joseph and Hannah Kemp in Liverpool in 1893. In the 1910s, the Kemps had settled at Rawson Park in Ingleburn. Here, Joseph Harold participated in the School Cadets and eventually found work as a fitter. Shortly, after Australia declared war on Germany, Joseph felt that he should do his bit and sign up. He travelled into Sydney to enlist in the AIF on the 17th of August 1914, and was later posted as a Private to the 4th Battalion. He said goodbye to his family as he left for war upon the HMAT Euripides, which left Sydney on the 20th of October 1914.

Joseph and his unit landed in Egypt for further training. The 4th Battalion was then shipped to Lemnos Island for upcoming operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula. They landed ashore on the 25th of April 1915. When they were unable to overrun the Turkish defences, the Allies dug in. Conditions on the Peninsula were horrendous. Terribly hot, flies, lice and unsanitary conditions made life miserable. As a result, Joseph developed gastroenteritis in late June. He returned to his unit three days later. On the 13th of July, he was wounded in action with a bullet wound to his thumb. The next day, he was evacuated on the HMS Clan McGillivray to hospital in Malta, and in mid September to England. For further treatment, he was sent back to Australia on the 12th of December 1915 due to his hand wound.

Joseph recuperated and returned to duty on the 14th of July 1916. He was once again sent overseas for war service, leaving Sydney on the SS Port Nicholson on the 8th of November 1916. While sailing, he was appointed Voyage Only Corporal and later Lance Sergeant. In early January 1917, he disembarked in Devonport. A month later, he was shipped to the Western Front, rejoining the 4th Battalion. At the time, the Germans were preparing to withdraw to the Hindenburg Line, a series of new defence fortifications. The Allies were ordered to chase them, with much bitter fighting developing. The 4th Battalion was near Hermies when the Germans attacked at 3:45am on the 15th of April. Joseph was in a party in the forward Machine Gun Section nest, when it became surrounded by enemy troops. Overwhelmed, Joseph was subsequently captured by the Germans at Dernancourt. He was interred in a Camp in Lindburg, Germany. In early July, he wrote to a Miss E. Harding of 72 Leigh Rd, Eastleigh stating that he was “faring pretty bad.” At the beginning of 1918, Joseph was moved to a Camp in Stuttgart and was feeling much better. After the war ended, prisoners were repatriated. On the 19th of December 1918, Joseph arrived in Dover. In January 1919, he was granted some much deserved leave. Consequently the following month, he was treated for venereal disease. He then returned to Australia onboard the Ormonde.

Joseph retuned to his family in Ingleburn. He then met and married Selina Cudd in Woollahra in 1919. Joseph and Selina soon welcomed a son, Joseph Leonard Kemp. Joseph passed away in Maitland in 1965. In 1967, his son whom was living at 36 St Warners Bay requested his father’s Gallipoli medal, to honour the memory of a brave man.