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Ian Miller from Queensland Australia, a Friend of The 'Queen's Own' Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group, shares with us details of his connection with the Regiment: It may seem odd that an Australian has a connection with the Regiment, but it comes from my mother's side of the family.

A brief background - my mother, Gertrude Lilla Miller (nee Guess) was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1896, when my grandfather, Charles Guess, was stationed there with the Regiment. She was the fourth eldest child and first daughter for Charles and Elizabeth. She had three older brothers, Charles William born in 1890, Frederick James born in 1892 and Edward Alexander born in 1894, all of them enlisted in the Army and served in the Royal West Kent Regiment. The family travelled to various postings including Gibraltar and eventually moved back to England. A family photograph was taken in late 1913 or early 1914, this shows the whole family together Charles Guess and the three older 'boys' in uniform - this was the last time the family was together. Before the end of 1916 all three of the boys were dead -  two killed in action in the Mons area and one dead as a Prisoner of War following the fall of Kut-al-Amara.

On  the  12th December 1917 Gertrude enlisted in Queen Mary's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) after training she was posted to Princess Beatrice Camp near Beaumaris, Belgium where they came under shelling from the Amiens Gun almost every night. This was because the Camp was one of the Reinforcement Camps for all units on the front line. While she was there she met a young 2/Lt of the Royal Scots, Dugald MacIntyre Miller, he had originally gone to France as a Sergeant with 8th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and had been promoted in the field. He was deafened by friendly artillery fire and was therefore unfit for service on the front line but was involved in training reinforcements.

They were married in September 1919 and returned to Scotland where they lived until they migrated to Australia in 1924. My mother used to like watching Dad’s Army on the TV - not so much for the story line but to see the Royal West Kent Regiment cap badge which they wore.

I had a ' close encounter' with the regiment while serving in the Australian Army in Korea (Post Armistice - 1956/57) in the CCK Sig Sqn, I had occasion to have to hand deliver a signal to the Brigade Major (can't recall his name) and on entering his office I noticed that he was from the Royal West Kent's and commented that I had 'family connections to the Regiment' we had a short chat and shortly afterwards he hand delivered a Royal West Kent Regiment cap badge to me to send home - I still have that badge. 

Now to the involvement with the Regiment: I have no details on when Charles Guess enlisted in the Regiment but in addition to his other postings he was, I believe, a Warrant Officer at one of the Boer Prisoner of War Camps on St Helena in 1900. He retired in 1913 only to be recalled as an Honorary Lt (QM) with the 8th Battalion during ' the Great War' and worked in the War Office.   He died in 1945 shortly before the end of World War 2. Frederick James Guess enlisted in the Queens Own {Royal West Kent Regiment) in Cork, Ireland.   He died at age 22 on the Battle Field in France and Flanders (Mons) on Tuesday 1st September 1914 while serving as L/8545 Corporal with the 1st Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) as part of the British Expeditionary Force. No Known Grave. Remembered with honour LaFerte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial.

Edward Alexander Guess enlisted in the Queens Own {Royal West Kent Regiment) in Cork, Ireland. He died at age 20 on the Battle Field in France and Flanders (Mons) on Wednesday 28th October 1914 while serving as L/9011 Lance Corporal with the 1st Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) as part of the British Expeditionary Force.   No Known Grave. Remembered with honour Le Touret Memorial. Charles William Guess enlisted in the Queens Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) in Cork, Ireland.   He died at age 25 as a Prisoner of War on Wednesday  4th October 1916 while serving as L/8240 Lance Corporal with the 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) as part of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. He was taken prisoner after the fall of Kut-el-Amara.  No Known Grave. Remembered with honour Baghdad (North Gate) Cemetery.                

Footnote on the Commonwealth Contingent Korea.

The Commonwealth Contingent Korea was formed in April 1956 on the disbandment of the Commonwealth Division. The Contingent was made up from units from The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The UK providing the majority of the units, including Infantry (1st Btn Royal Sussex Regiment), Military Police (included 2 Australian and 1 NZ MP), MP Staff Corps, REME, RE, RAOC and Admin Staff, Australia supplied the Signal Squadron, New Zealand Transport (10 Transport Coy, RNZASC), and the Canadians (Royal Canadian Medical Corps) the Medical Component which included the Hospital.   The Commander was a Brigadier from the UK and, as Australia was the second largest component the Deputy Commander was an Australian Colonel.                 The CCK was finally disbanded in late 1957.

Lionel Chandler sends his greetings to all Members of The Queens Own Royal West Kent  Regiment  Living History Group and Friends:

My name is Lionel Chandler and I live at White River South Africa. My interest in the Regiment began during 1998. Whilst on a visit to friends Richard and Frances Roberts at Tunbridge Wells whose relative  David Hanmore visited at the time during which the subject arose The Royal West Kent Regiment, at that  time I was unaware that it was the Regiment's area.

To digress a little the photo of my uncle Alfred Meggs Service No. 1147 has been in my memory since a small child all I knew of him was his name and Regiment and that he was killed during the First World War by a snipers bullet so my late mother told me. She also told me that she had a letter from his pal who was with him at the time he was killed which she kept for many years and then destroyed it. Unfortunately I never questioned her further in that regard so have no knowledge of the contents much to my regret now. 

To  continue - Shortly after Richard, David and I had discussed the  Regiment; Richard phoned the Commonwealth War Graves Commission re Alfred and to my wife and my amazement gave his casualty details over the phone. To further amaze us the details were typed and posted the same day and arrived in the post box the very next morning (we were returning to South Africa the following day) - we are not used to such efficient promptness. After our return to S.A. Richard wrote to the Ministry Of Defence and received Alfred's military service record.  This revealed all his brothers and sisters and that he was promoted to corporal a short while before he was killed on the 3rd October 1916. David has since discovered that this might be the incorrect date however. I imagine promotions were thick and fast then with so many  casualties. Also revealed was the fact that there was no known grave but his name was recorded on the Thiepval memorial alongside all the other Royal West  Kent’s and thousands of other soldiers killed in action. David has since visited Thiepval during a remembrance Sunday and at the time placed a wooden cross with a poppy attached on our behalf sending me a photo of it for which I am very grateful. During 2003 Richard posted me a Newsletter No. 5 from the Thiepval Visitor Centre Project and told me they were asking for photos of soldiers commemorated there giving me the email address of the person dealing with that. I forwarded his photo and some information and his picture is one of the six hundred on a panel at the centre. Unknown to me at the time was the fact that Richard had made a donation on my behalf to the project in remembrance of Alfred for which I am also very grateful. Early last year David gave me the name of Worcester Medal Service which I contacted and now have replicas of the WW1 Trio he was awarded together with a circular Memorial Plaque for relatives of those killed in  action which I believe was referred to as the Death Penny. I have mounted these in a small cabinet and now have a place of honour in our  home. The cap badge was given to me by David in 1998.  I often wonder what my mother would think about these developments so many years later. Another ambition is to one day visit Thiepval and the battlefield.                                                                                                                        

Lionel Chandler                                                                                                           

Post Script to Lionel's entry:

Alfred William MEGGS G/1147 The Royal West Kent Regiment

Enlisted into The Royal West Kent Regiment Regular Army and posted to Depot: 03.09.1914                                                                                                           Posted to 3rd Battalion: 06.09.1914.

Posted to 9th Battalion: 26.10.1914.

Proceeded to France: 11.08.1915

Posted to 7th Service Battalion: 11.08.1915

Attached to 12 Entrenching Battalion: 24.08.1915

Re-joined Unit: 18.09.1915   

Promoted to Corporal: 13.07.1916

Killed in Action: 03.10.1916

Service with the Colours: 03.09.1914 to 03.10.11916

Overseas Service: British Expeditionary Force (France) 11.08.1915 to 03.10.1916.

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