Remembrance - 6th Royal West Kent Regiment 1914-18. By Sidney T Kemp

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We were all back on duty about the third week of May when one final show was arranged. We were to outstay in the open for forty-eight hours and look after ourselves. There was plenty of room in Hampshire and Berkshire for this to happen and to crown it all we were told that King Georve V and Queen Mary would be waiting about one mile out of Aldershot to take the salute. Well we halted a short distance before we were to be reviewed and Sergeant Dale "Tommy to everyone" our Signal Sergeant looked meat and said that I looked pretty queer and I folt queer too. Sergeant Bale told the Regiment Sergeant Major and he said that I should go back to Aldershot for treatment. We trust you togo by yourself Kemp. So Instead of seeing their Majesties I trudged back to the Barracks. A doctor looked meat and sent tome Cambridge Military Hospital which was a lovely place and I was put to bed as the doctor said that I had got flu. The Regiment came back to barracks and Fred came to see me but in the meantime all the rest of the fellows in the Regiment had a medical examination passing them fit or unfit for overseas service. I was back justin over a week but had had no medical examination so I asked Lieutenant he waa Lieutenant now Matthews about it. He said do you want togo with us. Of course I do said I. Well islet pass he said, and so I did but I have wondered how many people went overseas as I did without a medical examination. So that was almost the last few days in England for us. We were told that no-one would be allowed out of camp and that no letters would be for-warded until after we left England as they feared German submarines would find out. We were then apart of the 12 Division the Ace of Spades Division which comprised twelve regiments besides artillery and all the other parts. On the Saturday which was a lovely day Lieutenant Matthews paid for all his platoon the Sth to have their photos taken in a group with him sitting in the middle and he had each photo sent to the address that we gave him. Many of those chaps never saw their photos as they died before it was time to have leave in France. So our preparation was over and we were to take part in the real affair which was war. Our division was one of the first of the new divisions that had been formed togo overseas and most of us, except some seven officers and some Non-Commissioned Officers were civilians before August 1914 Dut we knew that the British Expeditionary Force needed help and so went away not unhappy but curious as to the outcome of it all. Tome death didn't seem possible as it seemed most of us felt that he would be spared to comeback home again. But alas how great was the toll of one regiment alone when you read the names on the Memorials overseas of these gallant men of Kent. By Monday I was ordered to proceed with the transport in advance of the Battalion as I had been riding one of the bicycles alloted to signallers. So early on Monday morning without any fuss we just went down to the little railway station of Fleet entrained quickly under the command of Major Beeching the Battalion's second in command to travel to Southampton. Well it was May 31st 1915i and we arrived at Southampton without trouble. We all helped put the horses and mules and General Service wagons water carts too and baggage aboard the transport ship Maileran which was an old iron vessel and looked as if it had been a cattle carrying ship. We left Southampton at 6 p.m. We were warned by the destroyer escort that there were floating mines in the Channel so the Captain took a sweeping course.
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