Voyage of SV Sea Star
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Visit to Vimy Ridge March 1, 2006
Exactly a year ago we left the coastal city of Goa and travelled inland to Belgaum, birthplace of my great-grandfather Arnold Henry Grant Kemball. Born into a military family, educated at Wellington College, Kemball graduated from Sandhurst in 1880. His legacy includes letters and photos of life on the Northwest Frontier, British Columbia and his final years in the Great War. As we have been sailing around the world I've been working on a book on his life.
Kemball served with the 1st Battalion Royal Scot Regiment from 1880-82 in Malta,
2nd D.C.O. Belooch Reg't 1885
1888 with 5th Gurkhas hunting,Kashmir 1894
while on a ski trip in Norway, Kemball met and married Vivi Sundt, 1895
Crossing the Lowari Pass, Northwest Frontier
destroying a fort on Northwest Frontier
After serving 30 years in the Indian Army, my greatgrandfather retired in 1910 as CO of the 5th Gurkas.
Gurkha signalers saying goodbye to Col.Kemball 1910
After one false start on Kootenay Lake, the family hacked a fruit farm out of the bush in Kaslo, BC.
Arnold, his daughters Dorothy and Gerda, his wife and her sister, 1912
By the summer of 1914 fruit was being harvested, but when war was announced in August, Kemball signed up. He lead the 54th Kootenay Battalion(click for link to excellent website on the 54th Kootenay) overseas in 1915 and they reached France by August 1916. The battalion saw action in the Somme and then moved to near Vimy. A large gas raid was planned and postponed several times due to unfavourable winds.Since the element of surprise was lost, Kemball tried to get the raid cancelled. He left battalion headquarters at 0440 and fearing stiff opposition, the 56-year-old led his men over the top at 0540 on March 1st, 1917. During an armistice, the Germans returned his body for burial.
one of last photos of Lt-Col. Arnold Kemball, CB DSO
preserved trenches at Vimy
the original sandbags have been replaced by cement
German machine gun emplacement
craters resulting from mining operations
Villiers Station Cemetery 1917
Villers Station Cemetery 2006
St. Eloi Abbey destroyed by WW1 shellfire
Vimy Memorial undergoing renovations
Vimy Memorial March 1, 2006