on 12 November 2013
I bought this book locally and am thoroughly enjoying it. Clive kemp is actually my Uncle (his late first wife was my Dad's sister) I remember uncle Clive telling me these stories and it is fantastic to re-live them now in his own words, yes it is funny and sad at the same time and as I look at Clive now it is so easy to see what he was like when a younger man, still cheeky and fun loving and a family man. Of course, reading this book I have now discovered some long hidden secrets, things he could not bring himself to tell me when I was a very young girl, now older I can understand why. Really very good book that you must buy.
on 14 June 2014
Kemp was born and brought up in Jersey and trained as a gas fitter. As the Second World War began he volunteered to join the army and was assigned to the engineers.
He did his standard training and was sent to France for his first deployment. The army at this time was woefully ill equipped, and with the Blitzkrieg attack from the Nazi's he was part of the British force that was pushed back to the northern shore of France. Soon after he became of of the Dunkirk evacuees and had his first taste of battle.
A brief spot of leave, got married,and was then assigned duties in London whilst the Blitz as taking place. He was put to good use repairing gas mains and assisted in the bomb disposal. A task fraught with danger as these could go off at any moment. Further training and then he was back into France with the D day invasion. As one of the engineers he was on the front line, building Bailey bridges, repairing roads and ensuring that the troops could move forward. They moved across France, where he made a friendship that has lasted until today, and on into Germany.
Following his return to Jersey back to his wife and daughter he settled into life as a gas fitter again, and thought no more about the war until seeing an advert asking for Normandy veterans to attend a meeting, which he went to. As more people came aware of his unique story he was recognised and awarded medals.
He has a honest view of war. He does not hold back from the way that it affected him emotionally, and the dark humour that they used to get through the bleakest moments. He recognises that they did what they had to do, and that it was horrible at times, but his humanity does shine through. It is a fascinating story that Chris Stone has drawn out from Clive Kemp; and my wife's great uncle even gets a mention!