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Leonard Benjamin Charles Kemball

Rank: Private

Lifetime: 1899-1918

Reference: 42585


Kingston Grammar School's Roll of Honour on which the name of "L B C Kemball" appears

Private Leonard Benjamin Charles Kemball (42585) of the 4th Battalion of the Prince of Wales (North Staffordshire Regiment) died of his wounds on 28 September 1918 aged just 19 and is buried at the Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery. The Cemetery was largely used for burials from a dressing station in a nearby cottage so perhaps Private Kemball was treated there.

He was born on 29 May 1899 in Godalming, Surrey and baptised at St Peter & St Paul Church, Godalming on 28 July 1899 according to the Surrey Baptism Records. However, his place of residence by the time of his enlistment at Hampton Hill was Hampton Wick, according to his record in UK Soldiers Who Died in the Great War.

At the time of the 1911 Census he was living, aged 11, at Avonhurst, 21 Ditton Rd, Surbiton. His parents were the splendidly named Benjamin Branford Kemball (47) and Alice Maud Mary Kemball (also 47). He had four older sisters: Gwendoline (19); Beatrice (18); Dora and Nona (both aged 15). He studied at Kingston Grammar School from 1912 until 1913 and so he is also commemorated on their War Memorial. Kingston Grammar School’s records state that his parents lived at 10 Stanton Road, Wimbledon.

However, by the date of his death, according to his obituary in the Surrey Comet dated 23 October 1918, his parents lived at Beechcroft,11 Station Road, Hampton Wick. His obituary states that he joined the Wandsworth Battalion of the Voluntary Training Corps at the age of 16. He attested when aged 17 and subsequently served in the North Staffordshire Regiment in France in March 1918 just before his nineteenth birthday.

He must have worked at the Prudential Insurance Company in Holborn at some stage after leaving school, because according to the records of the Imperial War Museum he is included on its War Memorial located on the inner courtyard of its former headquarters (WMR -2097).

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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