By Paul Cantor
Richard Kemper was born on January 20, 1920. In 1937 he graduated from Mamaroneck High School and entered the University of Carolina. In 1943 he enlisted in the army and became a second lieutenant. In May, 1944 he shipped to England. In July, 1944 he was transferred to Normandy, France. On August 6, 1944 he was killed near Mortain, France in the Battle of the Hedgerows. Michael Shane, a soldier who was with him at the time, wrote his father:
“There was nothing backward about your son in combat. I suppose you want as many details as you can get…I’m a terrible writer. But here goes. On the 6th of August, 44 we didn’t contact the enemy until the afternoon and all of a sudden they let go with machine guns, mortars, and 88 M.Ms. We were pinned down for a while. But then the order came to attack. Well they were firing at us from a small town. So we started to advance under that murderous fire. Well we got into that town all right and had the Germans on the run when they counter attacked and drove us back out of the town. Well over there in France they have those hedge rows, just outside of the town. I don’t know whether you know it or not, but Richard was acting company commander at the time he was hit, and he was trying to build up a line of defense behind that hedge row. I was one of the last to leave the town and as I was running down towards the hedge row they started to really pour it on us from those German tanks. Well I just got behind the hedge and your son was a short distance to my left facing the enemy when an 88-shell hit right where Richard was, there were 2 others with him…I can just say I am terribly sorry that this thing has occurred. But as I said before you can really be very, very proud of your boy…P.S. I was hit the next day 7th by a sniper.”
On August 8th, 1944, Lt. Kemper was buried in grave 191, row 10, plot G of the Marigny Cemetery 1 at Marigny, France.