1 6 Friday, August 28.2009 Kent Messenger (KM)
SERVING KENT AND THU COUNTY TOWN FOR 150 YEARS
From the KM files
Chlldrsn clamber on a tank outside the town hall, Maidstone
A PICTURE which captured the boyhood
fun of cllmblnq on a tank brought back
lom o wartime memories for one man.
Oliv#r Burrows' wife and daughter
rocognlsed him as a boy clambering on
a tank parked outside Maidstone town
hall In a picture published In the Kent
Messenger's The Way Wo Were.
Mr Burrows, now 80, from Cranbrook
Hoad, Frlttendon, doesn't remember
the picture being taken, but his family
believes ho Is the boy In light coloured
shorti and opon shirt sitting directly
above the turret. It Is thought to have
been taken during within the first two
years ot the Second World War.
Mr Burrows recalled the time the pilot
of an American P-47 Thunderbolt flew
just above the tops of the buildings in
Maidstone's town centre to impress a
During the latter years of the war,
Maidstone was attacked by VI and V2
flying bombs. Mr Burrows thought he had
collected "a nice souvenir", part of a VI
'doodlebug' but, he said: "Along came the
A RP and took it off me."
The photograph was one of 3,500 Images
on glass negatives acquired by Rex
Cadman, organiser of the War & Peace
Show, held at the Hop Farm Family Park in
Beltrlng, Paddock Wood.
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Annivenary logo designed by Emma llewsllyn age 10
W ar diary reunited
with soldier’ s family
by H elen F airley
A FIRST World War diary is set to
be reunited w ith the family of its
We printed a story in last week’s
Kent Messenger about historian Mike
Brown who was trying to track down
the family of Sidney T Kemp, from
Wrotham, after Mr Kemp’s diary came
into his possession.
Mr Brown gave us some excerpts from
the diary, which are reproduced here.
But while he knew that Mr Kemp died
in 1975 and had a brother called Fred,
he had been unable to track down any
information about his sister.
Following the story we were contacted
by Dave Hollands from Maidstone, who
was related by marriage to Mr Kemp.
He knew Mr Kemp’s sister, who was
called Hephzibah Victoria Kemp. She
was married to Mr H olland’s great-
Like Mr Kemp, Hephzibah was bom in
Australia before moving to the UK. The
siblings lived in H ailing in 1906/1907
before moving to Oxen Hoath Estate
near Wrotham. Heph7.ibah married
W illiam Manser in 1913 and they lived
in South Street, Barming.
Mr Hollands said: “I am interested
in family history and in particular
relatives who served in the two world
wars. I am currently actively engaged
in researching a number of military
relatives from the 1880’s onwards.”
Mr Brown was thrilled to learn that
a relative of Mr Kemp’s had been
in touch and is looking forward to
showing him the diary.
‘ Ethel was 19 but oh, wasn’ t she lovely3
he year 1914 w ill be
remembered in history
not for the weather or -
who won the Cup, but
for the start of the most
I had been working as a gardener at
Oxen Hoath Hadlow and although 1
was 23 years of age on April 5th, I had
not yet met the woman who I wished
to be married to. But on April 13th,
which was Easter Monday, I met Ethel
Ashdown and I know that we loved
each other from that first meeting.
Ethel was nineteen years of age but
oh, wasn't she lovely....
On Sunday 13th August clearing
up parties were sent into captured
trenches by our Colonel to clear up.
Charlie Moon was in charge of one
party of B Coy and as he went down
the steps into a German dug-out he
trod on a Mills bomb that had the
firing pin partly pulled out. The
bomb went off, blowing off one of his
feet. He was taken down to hospital
where he later died, not knowing if
he had been awarded the Victoria
Cross for his gallantry in March in
the Craters. Later we were told he had
been awarded the Military Medal. We
lost a good friend in Cliarlie, who was
not only a fine soldier but he always
behaved as a gentleman should. 1
wrote to his parents at Southborough,
and they told me that their youngest
son, serving in the Royal Navy
Division, was also killed on that day,
and the loss of these two sons made a
loss of all four sons in three months.
Sec what war does, it spares no-one if
your name is on the list to die.
11 J 1 t r r I