KENT, Charles John
(Service number 10/3316)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||18 November 1881||Place of Birth||Rotherhithe, Surrey, England|
|Date||23 August 1915||Age||33 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Fire-station, Petone, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs H. KENT (mother), 41Aspinden Road, Rotherhithe, London S.E., England|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 6 inches. Weight 150 lbs. Chest measurement 35-38 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes blue. Hair brown. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing & colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||8th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Wellington Infantry Battalion|
|Date||13 November 1915|
|Transport||Willochra or Tofua|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Wellington Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion|
|Campaigns||Egyptian; Egyptian Expeditionary Force; Western European|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; BritishWar Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||28 July 1916||Age||34 years|
|Place of Death||Somme, France|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, Nord, France|
|Memorial Reference||I. E. 10.|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru Memorial Wall|
Charles John Kent was the son of Henry James and Ada Julia (née Sage) Kent, of Rotherhithe, London, England. He was born on 18 November 1881 at Rotherhithe and baptized on 18 December 1881, at St James Church, Bermondsey, Southwark, London, along with his older brother Percival. He was the third of seven brothers, their only sister dying at the age of six. In 1891 he was at home in Rotherhithe, and again in 1901 when he was a barge lighterman, serving an apprenticeship to his father, from 14 December 1897 to 12 January 1904.
Charles appears to have come to New Zealand, alone, sometime after 1901. His brothers all remained in England died there. In 1914 he was a fireman at the Petone Fire Station. Charles John Kent, fireman, Petone, registered his name for service with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at the Buckle Street Office, Wellington, on 13 May 1915, and underwent medical examination a week later. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 150 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 35-38 inches. His complexion was dark, his eyes blue, and his hair brown. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all normal. His limbs and chest were well formed, and he had good movement of his joints. His heart and lungs were normal, and his teeth good. Free of any diseases and defects, and vaccinated, he was in good condition overall. On 30 June 1915, the Petone Fire Brigade granted Fireman C. J. Kent special leave of absence so that he could go away with the expeditionary force. C. J. Kent was included in the infantry of the Wellington quota for the 8th Reinforcements. The artillery and infantry units were notified to be on parade at 8 o’clock on the morning of August 17th at Buckle Street. The men of the Wellington draft of the 8th Reinforcements marched through the city on 23 August on their way to camp at Trentham. They had assembled at the Buckle Street barracks at noon and, headed by the 5th Regimental Band, proceeded through the main streets to Lambton Station. Many of the recruits were on the youthful side – not C. J. Kent, and their physique below par. “The draft is all right,” said a military officer. “The men will look very different when they have got their uniforms and learned to keep their backs straight and their chins up. . . . . . The lads . . . . have not the stamina of the older men, . . . . .” The stamina and disease resistance acquired with age were to be of no avail to Private Kent.
On 23 August 1915, when Charles John Kent enlisted, his address was the Fire Station, Petone. He was a 33 year old fire brigademan, single and of Church of England allegiance. He named as his next-of-kin his mother, Mrs H. Kent, 41Aspinden Road, Rotherhithe, London S.E., England. Private Kent embarked on 13 November 1915 at Wellington, destined for Suez, Egypt, with the 8th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry Battalion. Disembarking at Suez on 20 December 1915, he embarked at Alexandria for France per “Llandovery Castle” on 9 April 1916.
Private C. J. Kent, 10/3316, of the Wellington Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, was killed in action on 28 July 1916, in the Field at the Somme, France, aged 34 years. He was buried in the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, Nord, France. His burial was reported by the Rev. E. E. Malden, attached to the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment. His medals were to be given to his mother, Mrs A. J. Kent, of Rotherhithe, but were actually conveyed to his father. He had seen service in Egypt and Western Europe, for which he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. A Pay Book Will was made out in favour of his mother. The Public Trust issued notice of Deceased Estate, but no probate was executed in New Zealand. In 1922 the plaque and memorial scroll were to be sent to his father, Mr H. J. Kent, also at 41 Aspinden Road, Rotherhithe. W. H. Kent – Charles’ oldest brother - acknowledged receipt of the Scroll issued as a memorial of services rendered, on 13 August 1922, on behalf of his father. Mr H. J. Kent acknowledged receipt of the Memorial Plaque in April 1923.
Although no connection to South Canterbury has been established, the name of Kent C. J. is recorded on the Timaru Memorial Wall. Confirmation that this is Charles John Kent, 10/3316, would be appreciated .(CWGC has Service No. 1013316.)
Cenotaph Database [24 January 2014]; CWGC [24 January 2014]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5541 0063809) [05 September 2019]; CWGC [24 January 2014]; Evening Post, 13 May 1915, Dominion, 14 May 1915, 1 July 1915, 10 August 1916, New Zealand Times, 1 & 26 July 1915, 24 August 1915, Timaru Herald, 10 August 1916, Otago Daily Times, 10 August 1916, Feilding Star, 8 September 1916 (Papers Past) [24 January 2014; 14 October 2015; 03 September 2019]; Family information (Google search - gravesoftas.dyndns.org) [25 January 2014]; London Baptism (interactive ancestry.co.au) [25 January 2014]; 1891 & 1901 census returns for England (ancestry.com.au); NZ Electoral Roll (ancestry.com.au)
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Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
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