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

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Cantain Parker a fine officer who came back to train us was in command of B Coy. Sergeant Pace was sergeant in charge and a fine man he waSf he came from Bromley in Kent and there were one or two porals coi as veil. Now in 8 Platoon we had a chap called by the chaps as Sailor. His real name was Livesay. He was a deserter from the Royal Army Medical Corps and two or three years before the war when he was stationed at Aldershot he belted a Non-Commissioned Officer one night and then deserted. His home was at Famborough near Aldershot so he hadn't been home to see his parents since deserting. He had been working on the riverboats plying ut and down the Thames that is all he knew about being a sailor. Well free pardons were being offered to deserters who enlisted so Sailor applied for a pardon which was granted to him. Now Sailor used to bolt beer and spend his money on beer yet wanted togo home and see his mother so he asked me if I would help by him giving me half of his wages 3/6 out of 7/- each week until he had enough money togo home to Famborough in Hampshire. Well I saved some for him then he hadn't any money for beer and asked for it back and in the end he didn't save anything and didnt go home until we forwent Christmas leave later on. Veil after we had trained and before we left for France in June 1915 >Sailor was appointed the doctor's orderly and what a good job he did. Ee gave up drinking so much beer and devoted himself to caring for others and when I left the regiment in 1917 Sailors name was always respected for he knew his job and stuck to it. When we first went to Purfleet we had no Platoon Officer these hadn't yet arrived. But one day along comes a nice young officer who Sergeant Pace introduced to us as Second Lieutenant Matthews. Ee had almost auburn hair and looked what he was at least tome a gentleman. Ve found that his father was a retired army officer and his home was near Sevenoaks around the back of Knole Park. Well Lieutenant Matthews soon showed us that he was going to be our friend and that was how he always was until he was killed leading i )Coy on the Somme on July 3^d 1916. Time moved on the autumn was dry and sunny. Fred was still at home. I went on leave every other week and saw my parents and Ethel and yet deep down inside of us all there was the question: when and that meant when would we be joining the British Expeditionary Force for they were now dug in intrenches but news leaked out that they were sorely short of reinforcements and the Germans never stopped attacking at anytime. Just let me say once more that everyone in Britain at that time must have known that it was the courage and discipline of General French's little army the Contemp tibles as Jerry called them who not only saved Britain from a German invasion but who laid the foundation of the final victory in 1918. Ve were drawing now into November and that brought rains galore. Our two blankets now at first we had one used to get pretty wet with the water seeping along the ground we still were sleeping on the ground and with so many to a tent whenever you touched the side the moisture came through the tent side. The Commanding Officer had been appointed by now, and we had a Lieutenant Colonel an elderly officer named Venables. His Adjutant was Captain Wingfield Stratford an officer taken from the 1st Battalion and a fine officer too and so there were not only A Band Coys but C Band Coys had been formed making us up to a full Battalion. We were promised that huts were being built to house us in at Sandling Junction near Hythe and Folkestone.
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