Harold Kenchatt

Harold Kenchatt was born in Hendon, London on 20th November 1891 to William & Harriet Kenchatt. He was the middle child of five, with two older and two younger siblings.

 

Prior to the Great War, on 26th August 1907, Harold was attested into the Cheshire Regiment and given the regimental number of 6597. At the time he was described as being 5 feet 5.5 inches tall, weighing 116 pounds with an expanded chest measurement of 35.5 inches. His complexion was fresh, he had blue eyes and brown hair. He was, in common with almost all soldiers of that time, a small lad.

 

Harold was involved in a "bit of bother" and was arrested on 14th December 1915 and sent to prison for desertion. He did not receive a court martial, having admitted his guilt to his Commanding Officer. His confession, forming part of his army service record, reads:-

 

I, Harold Kenchatt, do hereby confess that I am No. 8597 of the 1st Battallion Cheshire Regiment, and that I deserted from that Corps on 25th September 1912. Signed this 31st day of December 1915.

I do not know the circumstances of his desertion, but it seems that he attempted to enlist in another unit (to serve in the war - he deserted long before the war started) and was arrested for making a false declaration on an attestation form in order to do so.

 

Harold was released from HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs on 27th December 1915 into the custody of the Cheshire Regiment, after serving 14 days. Sadly, he spent what was going to be his last Christmas in custody.

 

On 8th January 1916, Harold was transferred to the Royal West Kent Regiment and was given the regimental number 11169. He finally acheived his aim and went to the Western Front on 16th April 1916 and joined the 6th Battalion of that regiment.

On 10th July 1916, Harold was wounded in action and spent almost a month in hospital, being discharged back to the front on 8th August. He was then attached to the Royal West Surrey Regiment and sadly killed in action on 24th August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He had redeemed himself of his earlier indiscretions and paid the ultimate price.

 

Harold was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

 

Harold Kenchatt is buried at Quarry Cemetery, Montauban, France. He was my 6th cousin twice removed. He was also the 1st cousin of Charles Reading Kenchatt and his brother Ralph Kenchatt who were also casualties of this terrible war.  

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