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

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V.'e first put up tents to live in and our duties were to help unload railway trucks of tirr.ber and other materials." On the evening of the'10th when nil except I and another chap in our tent were on Guard duty at the HeadQuarters we had lit afire in a brazier and stood it outside to clear as the others had done in the adjoining two tents when suddenly we heard an aeroplane flying low overhead and then heard the swish of a bomb falling. I saw it coining by the fire of it because it seemed red hot as it fell and we the other chap and I were in the tent. I threw myself onto the floor of the tent and in seconds the bomb had burst about eight feet outside. The other chap had been killed by the flying metal ashe had just remained standing, arid those in the adjoining tents were either killed or wounded. The next day when gunnery experts came to look at bits of the bomb that were around, they couldn't believe that I could be alive after being almost underneath it when it fell. I think it v/as the side of the tent that saved my life for it was riddled with holes from the hurst bomb and our rifles which were hanging in the tent had their butts pocked with bits of shrapnel. The German airman also dropped another bomb on the sentry who was on duty at the HeadQuarters post killing him and killing or wounding the others inside the hut. Altogether six were killed and eight wounded that night and that was not avery happy start. Y/e went a day or two later to a cemetery at Humbercamps where we dug the graves of our comrades and buried them with a chaplain conducting the burial service. One of those killed was a chap named Turner who I had palled up- with. We still worked on the railhead unloading railway trucks of wood and other materials which the Royal Engineers used or which were sent by trucks drawn by horses to the various places in and around where our division was stationed now. Ethel had had her birthday on November 24th over in England. I wasn't able to send her anything but kept having letters from her my parents and friends. We from the tents had left these after we had been bombed and went to live in the huts with the Royal Engineers but December 12th the Germans having observed such a lot of activity at the railhead had brought up an armoured train as close as possible to their front line and bombarded this railhead with big shells hitting the hut occupied by the Middlesex Regiment. V/e had parties from all the regiments in the division now- working at this depot. Several chaps of the Middlesex Regiment were killed and several more were wounded. He continued to shoot shells over for several nights and v/e found it better to take to the fields during the evening rather than stay in the hut and get killed. We again went and dug graves for the chaps of the Middlesex Regiment and attended their funerals completing the job by infilling the graves. These losses at the railhead were becoming worse and we were told to pack our belongings and march back to our depot at Beaunute where later on December 16th we joined up with the Battalion again but this wasn't our old Battalion nearly everybody was a stranger tome. We were all expected to play football in the afternoons one Platoon against another. This seemed to be done to inspire us with confidence in each other but these fellows were not our old chaps and we were strangers to each other. V.'e continued to outstay of the trenches playing football or watching. We were now at Sonbuin where there was a theatre and everything seemed to be done to cheer people up. The new boys were ill at ease and the few 'unsold getting a bit fed up with things. A year had passed and Christmas was here again and so many faces that we knew were missing. Christmas toDay iue was just another day. True there was plenty to eat with some beer but I was glad when night came aJid I went and laid down and slept and tried to forget.
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