These pages are based in WW1 history. Some is factual, some is fiction based on the facts. There will be visits to Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries, Battlefields and towns and villages both on the Western Front and the Home Front.
Women of the Great War 3 - Sister Elise Margaret Kemp
Kemp is the only nurse from New Zealand to be killed in action and buried on
the Western Front during World War 1.
(Photograph courtesy of Sue Robinson and 'Wenches in Trenches')
Elise Margaret Kemp
was born on the 19th June 1881 in Wellington, New Zealand. Her father was Dr
William Kemp and her mother, Charlotte (nee Greenwood).
William Kemp was
originally from Northumberland and attended Durham University where he
qualified as a doctor of medicine. He went to work in Nelson, New Zealand as a
surgeon. It was whilst he was working here that he met his wife, Charlotte and
they were married in 1870. By this time William had moved to Wellington
hospital and the couple settled there. It is thought that William did become
New Zealand's Chief Medical Officer.
Not long after
Elise was born, the family travelled to London. Elise was William and
Charlotte's third daughter and she had five siblings.
In the 1901
census, William (54) and Charlotte (52), together with four of their children,
Violet (23), Elise (19), Kathleen (17), Charles (16) together with a domestic
servant and a cook, were living at 38 Alwyn Road, West Dulwich, London. Although
Elise's elder sister and brother are not listed, so they may have stayed in New
entered King's College Hospital's nursing school when she was twenty-three and
qualified after four year's of training. When war broke out, on the 4th August
1914, Elise became a member of the Territorial Forces Nursing Service and her
brothers joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. Elise served in London until
January 1916 when she was posted to the Western Front and worked in the 58th Casualty
Clearing Station, known as West Riding
CCS, which was located in Lillers, France between October 1915 and April 1918.
Kemp was attached to the 58th CCS she was on duty at the 37th CCS, which was
temporarily at Godewaersvelde from July to November 1917. During the evening of
the 20th October 1917, and without warning, the 37th CCS was targeted and
bombed by German aeroplanes. Sister Kemp and three of her patients were killed
when a shell landed close to the tent they were in. Three orderlies died that
night too and many were wounded.
Margaret Kemp was said to be "a splendid nurse who was loved and admired
by all who were privileged in knowing her."
She is buried at
Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, which is in Northern France, very close to the
Godewaersvelde British Cemetery affectionately known as 'Gertie wears velvet'.
Sister Elise Margaret Kemp
Wenches in Trenches - Roses of No Man's Land - details women casualties of the Great War in Military Cemeteries.