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

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-5-enough men and materials the war would be over in three years. But that didn't.happen. We went to the pay officer receiving our payday's of one shilling for that day and that was to be our pay the single ones for a longtime to come. The married men later were given one shilling per week, the rest going to support their families and later on when we got to Purfleet Rifle Range the single chaps used to help the married ones pay their fares on the railway togo home to see their families. Well Fred and I and the others were allowed togo home that evening to settle up our affairs being told to be back early next day. We all duly arrived back at Maidstone barracks and first of all we were mustered by Sergeant Pace who was a veteran of the South African war which ended in 1902: and all these veterans had been promised a bounty of 10 if they re-enlisted to help train Lord Kitchener's New Army. Where the country would have been I cannot imagine if these fine soldiers hadn't have come and made something of us for we alii or almost all were rookies. There were a few who were deserters from the navy and army but these were promised free pardons if they re-enlisted. A Court- of Inquiry was setup and most of them became good soldiers agin. Now Sergeant Pace who came from Bromley in Kent lined us up according to our height. Tom Harris was bigger and taller than Fred or I, so it was the tall ones on the right and down to the small ones. There were several of us thereto be numbered as they "the Army" had been wanting to get enough of us together to makeup a Platoon of say forty to fifty men. Mien we lined up Fred stood on my right Tom Harris further up. Toms' number was 358. Fred was 3°3 and I was 3^4 Sergeant Pace then said who is the elder of you two brothers. We said that I was so Fred and I changed places and I became 3^3 and Fred 364 and so that remained as long as we served in the Royal West Kent Regiment. Well then we were vaccinated and this was compulsory for we had agreed to it in our agreement of August 27th. We then were taken to befitted outwith a uniform and boots etc. Most of the khaki fitted nicely then the cap looked all wrong. We had already been issued with a badge for sixpence an artful bit that and the caps needed a spring in the peak to keep them up 30 we were told that the tailor would supply a spring for twopence per cap. This was the army allover and I found later on that those who could make a bit extra always did so. The boots we were issued with were army regulation boots and mine or at least the left foot was tight but there was such a shortage of equipment even in those early days that I had to put up with a sore big left toe and it gradually got worse but more later about ray boots. The old soldiers and deserters showed us how to fold the puttees around our legs then it was rifles and equipment. I was issued with the whole outfit of a reservist who had failed to answer the call to join his regiment and that is how it was no spares of any description and my word Lord Roberts had warned Mr. Asquith enough about what Germany intended doing in Europe. Soon August 28th we were soldiers in uniform. We were drilled a bit information. The drills were the same that I had been doing at school at Snodland before I left school in 1905 but many of the veterans had never done these new drills and one man who had been a cavalryman used to tell
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