First War casualties from St John's Wood who are commemorated elsewhere

William Kemp
His great grandson Peter Smith

William Charles Edward George Kemp 1885 – 1915

William Kemp was born in St John’s Wood and, in 1911, was a carman living at 16 Townshend Cottages with his wife Emma and three children, Millicent, Sophia and Matilda. In 1915, he tried to join the King’s Royal Rifle Corps but failed the medical and then later managed to enlist as a private in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. They were send to Freshwater, Isle of Wight for duty with the Portsmouth garrison but William died on 10 July 1915 and was buried at St Mary’s church, Brading, I of W.

Roland Leighton 1895 – 1915

Roland Leighton was the son of authors Robert and Marie Leighton, who lived in Abbey Road. (see Literature and Authors – Marie Leighton and her family). He attended Uppingham School where his best friend was Edward Brittain, whose sister Vera Brittain immortalised Roland in her post-war book Testament of Youth. He was due to go to Merton College Oxford in the autumn of 1914 but enlisted and spent 1915 in the trenches in Flanders. In May he wrote to Vera I am writing this sitting under a lilac tree in the garden. The sunshine and the smell of the lilac remind me of May in a St John’s Wood garden – and it hurts. He was shot by a sniper and died at a casualty service station just before Christmas 1915. He is buried at Louvencourt, where his grave is often covered with violets because of a poem he wrote to Vera Brittain, and he is commemorated on the war memorial at Merton College.

This page was added on 01/10/2014.

Comments about this page

  • Private James Frederick Beevor of Charles Lane NW8 died at home in 1920 and we cannot find any military details for him at all or his death certificate. if anyone knows anything about him or his family please get in touch.

    By Rosalind Henfrey (16/01/2018)
  • Both of my Mother’s Uncles died in the the 1st World War, both came from St Johns Wood. There used to be a stone plaque on a church in Allitsen Road dedicated to them and others but it was destroyed when Rak records was built.
    They were Private George Sangster of the 2nd Bn., Royal Fusiliers who died on 25th April 1915 in Gallipoli and is buried at the Helles Memorial. His brother Alfred James Sangster died 1st July 1916 at the Somme and has his name at the Thiepval Memorial. (Note from editor- both George and Alfred are remembered on the memorial in St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace designed by Sigismund Goetze and moved there from St Stephen’s Avenue Road)

    My cousin Leslie Patrick Buchanan was killed in the 2nd World War a week before his 21st birthday and is buried at St Marylebone Cemetery in the soldiers area.

    By Janet Bassett (28/07/2017)

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