Hendrik K. Kozel
Sergeant, London Regiment (Labour Corps)
Hendrik K. Kozel joined the war effort at 37 years old in November 1914. Before the war, he lived with his wife and his four children at 27 St. John’s Hill, Clapham and worked as an estate insurance agent. He was a student at Alleyn’s until 1892. Shortly after the outbreak of war in August 1914, Hendrik decided to enlist in the British Expeditionary Force and after being found fit for service he joined the 23rd Battalion of the London Regiment in November 1914. During his time overseas, Hendrik served on the Eastern Front and took part in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign as well as the Salonika Campaign. Hendrik served with the Labour Corps of the London Regiment during these operations which provided essential support to the infantry in the form of manual labour. This often included road building, timberwork and handling supplies in battle. Although the role was largely non-combat, the Labour Corps were often on stand-by to perform the role of an infantryman in case of emergencies. The demands of this work and the poor living conditions on the Eastern Front saw Hendrik taken ill a number of times as a result of trench fever and dysentery. After a short spell in hospital, he made a full recovery and returned to serve with his regiment at the front. Hendrik continued to serve with the London Regiment until being demobilised in March 1919 after 4 years and 121 days of service. He returned to his family in England at 21 Arlingford Road, Brixton. After the end of the conflict, Hendrik’s devotion to duty and service on the Eastern Front was recognised by the Egyptian Government who awarded him the highest state honour, the Order of the Nile. This medal, instituted in 1915, was awarded to individuals for their exceptionally valuable public service to Egypt.