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Another Croix De Guerre Query


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I know from my own research and from reading entries on this Forum how hard / impossible it is to trace Croix De Guerre citations, but maybe someone has come across the answer to my quest while doing their own research.

My query is about Kenneth Kemp, who was a driver with the Munro Ambulance Service in 1915/16. His grave - in Dawlish - says he was awarded the Croix De Guerre - confirmed in local newspaper obituary and in his war records at Kew. But no mention of why he got it.

Is there any chance that someone out there has come across the answer.

Was Kenneth Kemp awarded the Croix De Guerre - probably Belgian - in his own right, or was it a communal award to the Munro Ambulance Service which he shared?

Any answers gratefully received.

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Welcome to the Forum, Ian.

The Munro Ambulance Corps was a small voluntary unit, based at a Red Cross hospital at Furnes (now Veurne) on the Belgian coast, to which it delivered wounded from the Yser front. The coastal sector was held by the French until the summer of 1917, and the front up to and around Dixmude was held by the Belgians throughout the war. Croix de Guerre were awarded to members of the Corps on the basis of personal recommendations by French officers, so your man will have received his CdG as a personal award. Belgian awards to the Munro Ambulance tended to be the Order of Leopold, awarded by King Albert, who spent the war at La Panne (De Panne) nearby and regularly visited units and medical facilities in the area.

I am about to go away on holiday for a fortnight, so when you have accumulated 10 posts and can use the PM messaging system, send me your e-mail address and I will tell you more - if others haven't already answered your questions before I get back.

Mick

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Hi There Siege Gunner

I bet that many people join this Forum because they have one specific topic they are seeking answers to, then get wholly absorbed in the whole subject.

Kenneth Kemp was an artist who lived in Chiswick. Because he suffered from Scoliosis - curvature of the spine - he was rejected for army service. However, he still wanted to do his duty and became a Munro driver. He then volunteered again and was accepted into the Army Service Corps as a lorry driver. He survived the war but died of pneumonia in 1919 at the age of 22.

Everything we have seen says "Croix de Guerre" - no mention of "Order Of Leopold" so this is confusing me somewhat.

Sorry if I am being thick, but the more you learn the less you know.

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Mick is the authority on C de G. but I know from family history that any citation from the French giving details of the reasons for the award was given to the recipient, I have one as has Jon. There were no details in the Gazette just mention of the award. There are always exceptions & no doubt some C de G citations in the Gazette were more explicit.

Colin.

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Hi Boysoldier

As I said - The more you find out the more there is to learn.

I e-mailed Dr Diane Atkinson, author of the new book "Elsie And Mairi Go To War", which is about two upper class women who drove for Munro, on the off chance that she could help me out. According to her : "I have just checked my notes but found no trace of Kenneth Kemp. However that does not mean he is not to be found in the ATHLONE PAPERS at the Imperial War Museum. The reference is ATHLONE PAPERS 76/122/3. I was looking for certain names and could easily have missed him. There are very interesting references to Munro's Corps in this material. It is the best stuff I have seen on Munro and his people. There is very little on this fascinating group of people which is a shame."

Can anyone tell me what the Athlone Papers are? I did a search of documents on the IWM website but drew a blank.

As well as Kenneth Kemp's medal I am now becoming more and more fascinated about Munro, but there is an almost complete dearth of information online or in this forum.

Can anyone giove me some guidance?

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Everything we have seen says "Croix de Guerre" - no mention of "Order Of Leopold" so this is confusing me somewhat.

Sorry, Ian - my point was that a Croix de Guerre is most likely to be the French CdG.

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Can anyone tell me what the Athlone Papers are? I did a search of documents on the IWM website but drew a blank.

As well as Kenneth Kemp's medal I am now becoming more and more fascinated about Munro, but there is an almost complete dearth of information online or in this forum.

Can anyone giove me some guidance?

Here are a few articles to be going on with.

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War...Hospital_01.htm

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War...n_Furnes_01.htm

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War...Pervijse_01.htm

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War...es_Nurse_01.htm

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War...ar_Seems_01.htm

The Athlone Papers are the papers of Prince Alexander of Teck (brother of Queen Mary), who headed the British Military Mission to Belgian GHQ at La Panne (where King Albert of the Belgians lived throughout the war). When the Royal Family adopted the family name Windsor and the King instructed other members of the extended family to 'lose' their German styles and titles, Prince Alexander adopted the family name of Alexander Cambridge and was created Earl of Athlone.

Mick

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Siege Gunner

Thanks for both opf your replies.

I now understand that Ken Kemp's Croix De Guerre was French, and I look forward to reading you Athlone Papers links over the weekend.

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The links are to contemporary articles about the hospital at Furnes and the Munro Ambulance Corps. If Ken Kemp was not mentioned in articles written by journalists and other visitors to Furnes, or in the writings of members of the Corps themselves, I think it is unlikely that he would be mentioned in the papers of the General who headed the British Military Mission in Belgium. But then again there were very few Brits in that sector until mid-1917 and 'Tecky' regularly travelled about visiting units and outposts, frequently meeting people at a much lower level than was usual for someone of his rank.

If Kemp's CdG citation has not survived, there is little chance of locating it, as the French records of awards to foreigners are very incomplete and did not include the citation anyway. But it will almost certainly have been awarded for taking his ambulance as close as possible to the front lines to collect wounded and transport them back, often under fire, to the hospital in Furnes - and more likely for doing that on many occasions over a period of time than for one exceptional action.

Mick

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