A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Private Albert John Kempster
Born: 31 August 1896 Kensington. Died of wounds: 8 July 1918 Amiens, France.
Enlisted: 18 April 1916 aged 18.
Served: Western Front.
Albert was a son of Robert and Margaret Kempster, who were tenants on a property in the Toomuc Valley.
His mother supplemented the family income by cleaning at the local Toomuc Valley State School where some of Albert’s younger siblings went to school.
Albert was a labourer living in North Melbourne when he enlisted.
He was sent to France in December 1916, where the conditions in the trenches were awful and by April Albert was suffering from septic sores on the feet.
The following month, he was admitted to hospital with trench fever and sent to England. In a letter to his sister, he described the terrible conditions, “standing in mud up to my arm pits” and implored her to tell Ernest, presumably a friend, not to enlist.
Albert was severely wounded by an exploding shell in the battle of Le Hamel in France on 8 July 1918. He subsequently died of his wounds at the 4th Australian Field Ambulance and was buried at Daours.
Interestingly, among the items returned to his family in Pakenham was a jockey’s licence.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com