IGS 1854 (2) Hazara 1891, Samana 1891 (4624 Sergt. R. J. Kensdale, 1/K.R.R.C.), an official 'Warren Hastings' replacement issue;
IGS 1895 (1) Relief of Chitral 1895 (4624 Color Sergt. R. Kensdale, 1st Bn. K.R. Rifle Corps), minor official correction to unit;
QSA (1) DoL (4624 Cr. Serjt. R. Kensdale, K.R.R.C.);
1914-15 Star (15661 S. Mjr. R. J. Kensdale, R. Innis. Fus.);
British War and Victory Medals (Q.M. & Lieut. R. J. Kensdale);
Coronation 1902, bronze;
Army LS&GC EdVII E.VII.R. (4624 C. Sjt. R. J. Kensdale, K.R.R.C.)
Roland James 'Ro' Kensdale was born in Clapham, Surrey on 8 January 1869 and enlisted in the King's Royal Rifle Corps direct from the 2nd Royal Surrey Militia in August 1888.
Posted to the 1st Battalion, he enjoyed rapid advancement, being appointed Corporal in January 1890 and Sergeant in June 1890. Embarked for India in the same year, he quickly witnessed active service with the Miranzai Field Force, 1st K.R.R.C. participating in the Hazara and Samana operations and taking its first casualties at Tsalai in mid-April 1891 (Medal & 2 clasps).
Promoted to Colour-Sergeant in 'A' Company in February 1895, Kensdale next witnessed active service in the Relief of Chitral operations, including the action in the Malakand Pass in April (Medal & clasp). He was subsequently among those embarked in R.I.M.S. Warren Hastings in December 1896, a voyage that famously ended on the rocks off the Island of Reunion on 14 January 1897: all ranks present were commended for their 'remarkable courage and exemplary discipline' by the G.O.C.
Embarked for England to attend a Musketry course, Kensdale returned to South Africa in late 1899 but was not present at Talana, 'A' Company, 1/K.R.R.C. being kept in reserve. He was however present at the defence of Ladysmith and was severely wounded in the action at Farquhar's Farm on 30 October 1899, suffering the loss of his left eye. By good fortune, as cited above, he was evacuated to Intombi Spruit Hospital, his younger brother, Bandsman Alfred W. G. 'Al' Kensdale, also of 1st K.R.R.C., having had him removed from the 'dead cart'. He survived and was evacuated home in the S.S. Cheshire.
Following treatment at The Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Kensdale was posted to the 14th Provisional Battalion and was awarded the Coronation Medal in 1902 (T.N.A. WO 100/111 refers). Later still, on secondment to the 1st London Rifle Volunteers, he was awarded the L.S. & G.C. Medal in AO 2 of 1907. In the following year he was appointed Regimental Sergeant-Major to the 5th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment, in which capacity he served until being discharged in September 1910.
Settling in Pimlico, London, he gained employment as a Commissionaire at India House, which occupation was curtailed by his enlistment in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914. His previous military background having led to his rapid appointment as R.S.M. to the 10th (Service) Battalion, he went to France in October 1915, where he undoubtedly witnessed much action: the Battalion went over the top on the First day of the Somme.
In mid-August 1916, Kensdale was commissioned Hon. Lieutenant and Quarter-Master in the 10th (1st Gwent) Battalion, South Wales Borderers, and he remained in the Field until being invalided home with trench fever in September 1917.
On his recovery, he was ordered to report for duty at the Royal Flying Corps School of Navigation and Bomb Dropping at Amesbury, Wiltshire, where he remained employed until compelled to relinquish his commission on account of ill-health in May 1918. He was awarded the Silver War Badge (T.N.A. WO 329/3249-OFF/981 refers).
So ended a remarkable career of active service, spanning some 30 years, a career made possible by the actions of his younger brother back at Farquhar's Farm in October 1899. 'Ro' Kensdale died at Faversham, Kent on 15 February 1961; sold with an extensive file of copied research from which the above biographical entry has been taken.