Friends of Hastings Cemetery

ER B10

 Hilda Maud Kember

 Morten Kember

 John William Kember

John William Kember was born in London in 1892.  He was the son of Arthur and Alice Maud Kember.  Arthur was a watchmaker (repairer) who was born in London in 1856 and Alice was a trained sick nurse, also born in London, in 1865.

In 1901 the family were still living in London in Lewisham but they had settled in Hastings by 1911.  They lived at 21 Gladstone Terrace.  There were six children, of whom John William seems to have been the eldest.  By 1911 he was working as a clerk to a Bill Posting Company.

John was a private in the Royal Sussex Regiment.  He must have joined the army as a regular soldier as his battalion was one of the first to arrive in France at the outbreak of war in 1914.  He was killed on 14th September 1914 at the age of 22 in one of the battles fought by the British Expeditionary Forces and the French, which halted the German advance on Paris and drove them back to the Aisne.  It was at this point that the German and Allied Armies dug in and trench warfare began.  He is remembered on the memorial at La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre.   At the time of his death the family were living at 45, Castle Hill Road.

Hilda Maud Kember was his sister.  In 1911 she was an apprentice milliner.  She died on 13th April 1923 at the age of 27. (Arthur) Morton Kember, their father, died on 27th November 1928 at the age of 73 and Alice their mother died in 1946.

From the Hastings & St Leonards Observer, 10th August 1914

The Royal Sussex Regiment are to provide a new monument in Priez to commemorate soldiers from 1066 Country and the rest of Sussex who lost their lives in the conflict.

Currently 22 soldiers are to be honoured on the memorial who died 100 years ago in Priez on September 10, 1914, marking the regiment’s first losses...... and two of the names set to appear are those of soldiers James Frank Ballard, 28, of Grove Road, and 22-year-old John William Kember, of Castle Hill Road, who both died on September 14, 1914.

Hilda, Morten & John William Kember