Sqn Ldr William Kemp DSO DFC

One of Dad’s friends in North Africa was a character-and-a-half from New Zealand called Bill Kemp. Dad knew him because Bill was a Flight Commander with 227 Squadron, who were also based at Idku in Egypt alongside 46 Squadron and the two Squadrons sometimes flew together on operations. Dad flew with Bill a couple of times, most notably when Dad and Dave Crerar shot down the Heinkel over Leros, and two 46 Squadron Beaufighters were lost in action. Dad thought Owen was a great companion, a great deal of fun, and a great fighter.

Bill’s citation reads thus:

Distinguished Service Order

Acting Squadron Leader William Papillion KEMP (NZ 403550), Royal New Zealand Air Force, No 227 Squadron

During operations in North Africa this officer took part in very many sorties, involving attacks on targets ranging from El Alamein to Tunisia; his successes in that theatre include the destruction of a small supply ship and a Junkers 88. More recently, Squadron Leader Kemp has completed many sorties over the Aegean Sea and has achieved excellent results. In January, 1944, he took part in an attack on an enemy vessel escorted by 2 armed ships. During the operation, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire which rendered all the electrical equipment unserviceable. Nevertheless, Squadron Leader Kemp, who had sustained a wound in the foot from a piece of shrapnel, continued to attack until the operation was successfully completed, all 3 ships being hit and set on fire. Although in much pain and suffering from the loss of blood Squadron Leader Kemp refrained from informing his leader of his injury. Displaying great fortitude and resolution he maintained formation throughout the homeward flight. Not until base was reached was anyone aware of his hurt. Squadron Leader Kemp displayed great courage and devotion to duty setting an example of a high order.

After the war, Bill retired to Australia, where he pioneered crop spraying and advised the Government on the subject.


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