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.