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Wing Commander Joseph Kemper MBE

Born:
4 Tishri 5647 (03 October 1886)
Died:
14 Tevet 5706 (18 December 1945)

Basic Information

Unique reference:
KEM3781
Gender:
Male

Birth

Date of birth:
4 Tishri 5647 (03 October 1886)
Place of birth:
Hull

Death

Date of death:
14 Tevet 5706 (18 December 1945)
Died in combat?:
No
Place of death:
London
Burial place:
Willesden Jewish Cemetery NW London, section EX, Row 12, grave 609
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Personal Journey map
Wing Commander Joseph Kemper MBE
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Details of his life

Joseph joined the RFC in June 1912, two months after it was formed, his roll number was 251. In April 1913 he was sent to the RFC’s Central Flying School at Upavon and obtained his RAC aviators certificate No 444.

Joseph Kemper, M.B.E. was one of the few Jews who served his country in both World Wars. He certainly was the only Jew to rise through ranks in the RAF, after serving first in the Regular Army.

He remained in the RAF throughout the 1920s and 30s. After being placed on the Reserve of Officers list he made a further study of flying and was a lecturer on aeronautics at different RAF stations throughout the country including RAF Calshot in 1936. His last posting was as a Station commander in Scotland with the rank of Wing Commander.

Researched for 'We Were There Too' by Dr Ronnie Fraser

Family

Spouse

Rose Walters (female)
Place of marriage:
London
Country of marriage:
Middlesex

Children

Jessica Kemper (female)
Myer Kemper (male)

Siblings

Moses Kemper (male)

Parents

Father: Max Kemper (male)
Mother: Nessie Kemper (female)

Military Record

Military service:
3rd South Lancashire regiment, the RFC and the RAF
Military record no.:
251
Date enlisted/conscripted:
02 February 1905
Rank at discharge/death:
Wing Commander
Assignments
Regiment:
South Lancashire Regiment
Battalion/unit:
2nd and 3rd battalions
Campaigns:
Joseph served with the South Lancashire Regiment from 1905 until 1912
Regiment:
Royal Flying Corps
Posting:
Joseph transferred into the RFC in June 1912.

He served as a Flight Sergeant with No 2 squadron on the Western Front from August 1914 right at the start of the war. By then he was a Chief Mechanic who had overall responsibility for the making sure the aeroplanes in his charge were airworthy.

By 1917 he had been promoted to Lieutenant and as an equipment officer he had wider responsibilities. A year later he was promoted to Captain whilst serving as a Park commander, with squadron No.1 Aeroplane Supply Depot.
Medals:
The London Gazette reported on 24 February 1916 that Sergeant Major Kemper had been awarded the Medaille Militaire by the President of the French Republic in recognition of his distinguished service during the campaign.

In the Kings birthday honours list of 1918 Joseph Kemper who was now a Major was awarded the MBE for his services with the British Expeditionary Force in France.

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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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