The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Kemp
First Name:
Leslie William Samuel
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX8543
Classification:
Rangetaker
Company:
'B' Company
Enlisted:
18.10.1940
Discharged:
3.01.1947
DOB:
21.03.1911
Place of Birth:
Shepherd's Bush, London, England
Father's Name:
William James Kemp
Mothers's Name:
Amelia Olive Hippel Kemp
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Gold Assayer
Singapore:
Selarang Camp & Barracks Changi
Force:
'D' Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II, Hintok Road Camp, Kinsaiyok, Tasrsau, Tardin, Chungkai
POW#:
4/6289 and 8798
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Labuan-Morotai-Townsville by aircraft, Townsville-Sydney by troop train, Sydney-Fremantle, HMT Otranto.

General Description

Les & Mary Kemp
Les & Mary Kemp
Les Kemp and his son Colin
Les Kemp and his son Colin
Les Kemp Darwin
Les Kemp Darwin
Hanson R, Carlyon W, Till J & Kemp L covered with red dirt when we arrived. Photographer marked Lt Till with a cross for good luck.
Hanson R, Carlyon W, Till J & Kemp L covered with red dirt when we arrived. Photographer marked Lt Till with a cross for good luck.

 

 

Les Kemp was selected in Singapore to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion, which departed Singapore railway station to Bampong, Thailand 14 March 1943.  The POWs were crowded into small rail trucks for this 4-5 day journey.  There was only sufficient room to sit, the nights were freezing and the days stinking hot.  They were then relayed by trucks to Tarsau which would become Japanese ‘D’ Force HQ, and later hospital for ‘D’ Force. Their work here for several weeks did not prepare them for what lay ahead.  They arrived at Konyu II Camp on 25 April 1943.  Konyu II was part of the Hellfire Pass Cutting.  The working and living conditions deteriorated quickly and men became ill will tropical diseases, cholera and frequent ulcers to their limbs as they worked unprotected, mostly bare-footed chipping away at the rock face resulting in mobile rock splints cutting their bodies.

From Tarsau Kemp moved to Hintok Road Camp, Kinsayok to Tarsau Hospital.  From here he was sent to work on the Tardan Bridge, then back to Chungkai.

 

The above was included ‘Daily News’ 12 Sep 1945 the article included numerous happy outcomes of families receiving communication from their loved ones – some for first time since capitulation.

 

 

Reunion over East - Worth, Kemp,Cowie, James and Badock.
Reunion over East – Worth, Kemp,Cowie, James and Badock.

 

Singapore 1992 Rear L - R ---, Tom Hampton, ---, Les Kemp, Norm Ablett, ..., Jack Kyrios, Ted Elliot. Front L - R, Jim Gilmour, John Gilmour, ---, Ron Badock, Jim Elliot.
Singapore 1992
Rear L – R —, Tom Hampton, —, Les Kemp, Norm Ablett, …, Jack Kyrios, Ted Elliot.
Front L – R, Jim Gilmour, John Gilmour, —, Ron Badock, Jim Elliot.

 

Les was evacuated to Tarsau Hospital Camp about August 1943 with an ulcer.  Read Dick Ridgwell’s account of Tarsau Hospital.

Read further about Les Kemp’s return to WA in 1945

Les Kemp died on 30th June 1990.

‘VALE – LES KEMP
Les was a Committeeman for many years, and was Vice-President when the position became vacant a few years ago.  He was the chairman of the 50th Anniversary Committee when he died suddenly.  Our deepest sympathy to Mary and family.  Les will be sadly missed.’
(from October 1990 ‘Borehole Bulletin’)

The following letter was published in the ‘Borehole Bulletin’ October 1990.

1 O’Neil Parade,  Redcliffe

The Secretary, 2/4th M.G. Bn, 

Dear Sir,
My sincere gratitude to your Association and the members for their attendance at the funeral of Les.  Also their care, condolences and the use of the 2/4th flag (to lay on the coffine for the funeral) which was admired by so many.
Yours sincerely,
Mary Kemp

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Tardan - Thailand
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