Joseph Edgar Kemshall, RAF

1894 Dec 1. Born Chesterfield, Derbyshire

1901 census at 42, Farmer Street, Stockport

1911 census at 25 Mundella Road Meadows Nottingham

Working on Midland Railway in Mineral Dept

1914 Feb 4. Promoted Corporal

1915 Feb 28 Landed in France . Promoted Sergeant

1915 Nov 18. Commissioned 2nd Lt Notts & Derby

1915 Nov 19. Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). The undermentioned to be Second Lieutenants. Joseph Edgar Kemshall

1917 Jun 1. The undermentioned to be temp. Lts. Machine Gun Corps. 2nd Lt. J. E. Kemshall (Notts. & Derby. R.,T.F.).

1917 Jun 1. Notts & Derby Regt. 2nd Lt. J. E. Kemshall to be Lt., next below Lt. F. Clay, and to remain seconded.

1917 Oct 31. The undermentioned relinquish the temp, rank of Lt. on ceasing to belong to the Machine Gun Corps, . 2nd Lt. J. E. Kemshall (Notts. & Derby. R., T.F.).

1918 Sep 14. 7th Bn., Notts. & Derby. Regt.—The under mentioned officers are seconded for service with R.A.F. : — Lt. J. E. Kemshall.

RAF Record 214 Squadron RAF

1919 Mar 13. Demobilised

1921 Dec 19. Gazetted out as Lt in 7th Foresters.

1920 Aug 24. Joined ADRIC with service no 351. Posted to ? Coy (I cannot read it, it could be C Coy)

1920 Nov 10. Transferred to RIC. Permanent Cadet

1921 Jan 1 Posted as DI3 to Youghal

1921 Feb 1. Favourable report on his conduct in an ambush

A WS tells what happened I do not know what part the DI played

The whole column, including Jack Aherne and myself, moved into Midleton under cover of darkness, and assembled at a saw-mills in Charles Street [now Connolly Street]. From the saw-mills, Jack and I continued on to the main street. We arranged that I would take up position at the corner of Charles Street which is situated about midway in the main street, and at right-angles to it. Jack posted himself further down the main street, in the vicinity of the Midleton Arms Hotel.

We were armed with .45 Webley revolvers and wore trench coats and capes. I was only about five minutes at my post when I saw a patrol of Black and Tans, marching slowly towards me. They move in pairs, about six paces apart and on both sides of the street, four pairs on my side and two pairs on the opposite side, together with an old R.I.C. man named Mullins. All were armed with rifles and revolvers, with the rifles slung on their shoulders.

In the last pair on my side was a Constable Gordon with whom I was well acquainted before I joined the column. When passing, he noticed me and, evidently surprised at seeing me, shouted, “Hello, Paddy!”. I said, “Hello, Gordie!”, which was my usual way of addressing him. For a moment, I thought he would leave the ranks and come over to me, but fortunately he carried on with the patrol. I am sure my heart missed a beat or two. Gordon knew me well. He had not seen me for the previous few months, and now he was looking at me wearing a trench coat and cap, items of apparel which I had never previously worn in his presence. I remember wondering if he suspected something was afoot. If he did, he kept his suspicions to himself, as the patrol continued sedately down the street. I waited until he had passed Jack Aherne, when I went and collected him, and reported back to Diarmuid Hurley, comparing notes on our way. We had a perfect picture of the whole patrol, and lost no time in describing their disposition to Hurley. He immediately issued his orders.

There were sixteen of us, all intimate with the lay-out, knowing every house and doorway in the main street. Ten of us took positions in doorways between Charles Street and along about forty yards of the main street up to the Midleton Arms Hotel. The remainder did likewise on the opposite side of the street. I was at the corner of Charles Street and Main Street, and Diarmuid Hurley was at the Midleton Arms Hotel end of Main Street, on the same side as I was. It was decided that, when the patrol was between our two positions on the return journey, Hurley would open fire, and this was to be the signal for all of us to go into action. Each one of our party was armed with a revolver.

We were only about five minutes in position when the patrol returned- still in the same order as I had seen it earlier. Hurley judged his shot to perfection, and at once all of us opened fire. The patrol was taken completely by surprise and, in comparatively short time, the attack was over. Some of the Tans did fire back at us, and there were a few narrow escapes on our side. Dan Cashman of Midleton was fortunate to be carrying a cigarette case in his vest pocket- it was badly dented by a bullet, but it probably saved his life. Jim McCarthy of Midleton, although not a member of the column, took part in the attack, and was wounded in the wrist. Otherwise, we escaped unscathed.

But what of the patrol? Constable Mullins was shot dead, and about six other Tans wounded, some of whom died later from their wounds. Some of the patrol threw their rifles on the street and ran away. “Gordie” escaped uninjured, and somehow I was glad of this as I still think he was not of an evil nature. Two of the Black and Tans were lying on the footpath near me, bleeding profusely.

Sergeant Moloney of the Midleton R.I.C. had been sent earlier to the house of a British ex officer, to collect the latter’s uniform. The sergeant was returning to barracks with the uniform, and as his return coincided with the attack, he came under our fire, was shot in the foot, and dropped the uniform convenient to where I was, and only a few yards from one of the wounded Black and Tans. I knelt down beside the Tan and spoke to him. He told me his name, which I have now forgotten, and said he was from Liverpool. He said he would resign if he recovered from his wounds. He then offered me his wallet. I took it from his hand and put it back in the breast pocket of his tunic, and told him I was doing so. I then got the uniform which Sergeant Moloney had dropped, folded it and placed it under the Tan’s head. The poor fellow lost a lot of blood, and I expect he was one of those who eventually died of wounds.

I cannot say with any certainty now what number of rifles and revolvers we captured that night. I do know I secured one rifle and one revolver, and I’m sure the rest of our lads were just as successful. This attack took place only a few hundred yards from the R.I.C. barracks and about five hundred yards from the military post. The whole affair lasted about twenty minutes. We withdrew by the same route as we had arrived. All the boys were in great form, and they had every right to be, but I recall having mixed feelings, due to my intimate contact with the wounded Black and Tan.

1921 Feb 17. A narrow escape

1921 Ju 1 Posted to Bandon DI3

1921 Sep 30. Posted to Letterkenny as DI3

1922 Apr 20 Pensioned from RIC

1929 Oct Married in Holborn to Victoria Irene Manning

1939 Register living with daughter Irene at 122 Richmond Avenue , Southend-on-Sea C.B., Essex. He is a storekeeper for Royal Artillery

1969 Jul 19 Died at Hugglescote, Leicestershire aged 74