war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

The Town Memorial



Common Misconceptions

1. That if a casualty be commemorated on our Town Memorial she or he cannot be commemorated on a war memorial elsewhere. This belief results from confusion between government commemoration (see Commonwealth War Graves Commission - CWGC) and civic and/or community commemoration. See here for a fuller explanation, with examples.

2. That the War Memorial Committee of the Town Council in 1924 somehow knew from some central official catalogue who to include on the Town Memorial. The names were in fact gathered from canvassing workplaces and schools and from advertising in Dover for nominations. Consequently many of those who qualified, by virtue of their connection with the town were not included.

In 1934 a new panel commemorating some of those people omitted was placed on the memorial (the War Memorial Committee had first considered doing so in 1925, but there were insufficient funds available). Further additions were attached on 3 December 2000. There are, nevertheless, many people who qualify who remain uncommemorated on the memorial There was in place by Dover Town Council a procedure whereby every three years new qualifying names can be placed by request on the memorial.  The first of such updates happened on Armistice Day 2009. The second and final one occurred on 29 June 2013.


Criteria and Guidelines

We have never seen published a definitive list of qualifications for inclusion on Dover Town Memorial; however it is possible to construct some guidelines from research through various archives and into the biographies of our Fallen. This construction was written in January 2012.

1. Casualties may be and are commemorated on other war memorials as well as our Town Memorial.

a) Civic Memorials. Our Town Memorial is a civic memorial, erected and maintained by a local authority. Casualties may appear on any number of civic memorials, usually with the proviso that they have a connection with that place. Thus very many of the casualties already on our Town Memorial are commemorated elsewhere.

Examples include:

Walter Tull, commemorated on the parish memorial at River, town memorial in Folkestone, and Glasgow
Frank Balding, commemorated on the town memorial at Louth, Lincolnshire
Peter Mello, commemorated on the town memorial at Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex
Walter Corteen, commemorated on the town memorial at King's Lynn, Norfolk
William Foreman, commemorated on the town memorial at Whistable
Charles Laing, commemorated on the city memorial at Canterbury

Casualties on our Town Memorial may also appear on civic memorials overseas.

An example is:

Edward King commemorated on Brant County Memorial, Ontario, Canada

b) Community Memorials. Casualties on our Town Memorial may also appear on any number of community war memorials. These are erected and maintained by individuals and by community groups - eg work-place, church, military, school, social club, etc. This website, Dover's Virtual Memorial, created and run by The Dover War Memorial Project falls into this category.

Examples include:

Daniel Wyborn, commemorated on the SECR memorial at the Marine Station, and the Salem Baptist memorial (note, others on the Town Memorial are also commemorated on the SECR)
Tommy Eaves, commemorated on memorials at the Deal Parochial School, St Martin's school, Dover Boys' Grammar, and Marjon College in Plymouth (as well as the civic memorial of Deal)
Thomas Bidgood, commemorated at Haileybury School, Hertfordshire (as well as the civic memorial at Shepherdswell)
Keith Gillman, commemorated on the Foxley-Norris wall at the Battle of Britain memorial, Capel-le-Ferne and the Battle of Britain memorial on the Victoria Embankment, London (as well as the River civic memorial)
Albert Bourner, commemorated on the memorial at St Martin of Tours church, Dover (as well as the River civic memorial)

Some of our casualties have memorials dedicated to them alone:

Examples include:

Arthur Leyland Harrison VC - Roundham Head, near Paignton, Devon
Walter Tull - Sixfields, Northampton

2. Casualties do not have to have been killed in action or died from wounds gained in action to be commemorated.

Many of the casualties on our Town Memorial died through illness or accident.

Examples include:

Percy Maxted, accidentally pulled a lathe onto his head, buried Charlton
William Piddington, aged 53, died after an operation in London, buried St James
John Darwall, accidentally shot himself, buried Kensall Green
Edward Gatehouse, died from tuberculosis, buried Charlton
Charles Wood, died from double pneumonia following influenza, buried Buckland


3. Casualties have a connection with the town but need not have been resident or had their family home in Dover when they died

Examples include:

Walter Tull, who never lived in the town, having grown up in Folkestone and London, but two of whose sisters and his step-parents were living at River when the Town Memorial was erected
Arthur Leyland Harrison VC, who was a scholar at Dover College between 1895 and 1900. He was born in Torquay and his parents lived in London.
Gordon Keightley, pupil of the Boys' Grammar between 1907-1909
Peter Mello, Dover College pupil living in Sussex at time of death
Edward King, who had emigrated with his family to Canada
Cyril Coe, commemorated 2000, whose family had lived Wales after their home was destroyed at the beginning of World War II
Nelson Cork, commemorated 2009, whose family was in Palestine where he was stationed on service


In 1934 the War Memorial Committee turned down nominations for eight men "who were non-residents or who had only a remote connection with Dover". Connections include birth, employment, schooling, relations, etc

CWGC records on their website do not necessarily reflect the address of the casualty or her or his family at the time of death.  Many families or next-of-kin had moved by the time the records were collected; many bereaved spouses had remarried.

4. People who died between or after the wars through service may be commemorated.

Examples include:

William Dixon, killed in Ireland in 1920
Nelson Cork, accidentally killed by army truck in Palestine in 1938
Charles Vigor, died 1921 from gas poisoning
Walter Mills, died 1922, from tuberculosis
William Oram, died 1946, died from tuberculosis


Arthur Davis, commemorated on the Memorial, died in 1921 from rheumatic fever and valvular heart disease which his army records state were not the result of service. William Dixon's nomination  was turned down in 1924, although he had served all through the Great War and had been killed on service, as his death was not attributable to the Great War. He was added to the Memorial in 2009.

Other civic memorials also commemorate deaths from subsequent conflicts

Examples of such memorials include:



5. Women and civilians have not been commemorated

Examples of servicewomen include:

Margaret Care, died 1918, Women's Royal Naval Service
Florence Johncock, died 1918, Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps
Helena Richardson (Barbara), died 1942, Auxiliary Territorial Service


At unveiling, the dedication on the Town Memorial was to "Men". In 1934 the nomination of a woman for the War Memorial was turned down on the ground of  "for whose name the Memorial is not appropriate". In 1949 the dedication on the memorial was changed to "People". Nevertheless, servicemen remain the only people commemorated on the Town Memorial.

Examples of Great War civilians include:

Civilians who died while serving
Sydney Holbourn, killed 1916 in the Great Munitions Explosion, Faversham
John Fitzsimons, killed 1917 while testing a new biplane
Edith Johncock, died 1920 in Nazareth, nurse with Edinburgh Missionary Society, served throughout Great War, including as PoW, awarded Red Cross

Civilians killed in raids
Gertrude Boorman, killed in 1918 by shellfire
Henry Long, died 1917, after being injured in an air raid


In 1924 the nomination of a civilian was turned down without reason. Nevertheless, civilians, men and women, were the fifth service, vital to war work on the home front and keeping "the Home Fires Burning". They too gave their lives for their country.

The then Town Clerk had a list of the civilians killed in raids in his documents when the Memorial was being erected. A possible explanation for their omission, reading between the lines of reports and events, is that the finances for the erection of the War Memorial were very limited, to the extent that it may have been "unveiled in debt"; equally there would appear to have been great difficulties in reaching a conclusive list of names by the necessary deadline for the sculptor.

With the exception of Francis Hall, aged 7, who is remembered on a community plaque inside the Dover Baptist Church, our Dovorian Great War civilian casualties are not commemorated anywhere.  Currently, were it not for the work of The Dover War Memorial Project, these casualties would now be completely forgotten.

An example of a civic memorial listing Great War civilian casualties is:


There were many more areas with Second World War civilian casualties. Civic memorials also commemorate them.

Examples are:


Casualties of World War II in Dover are listed in a Book of Remembrance. The listing includes women and civilians. The Book is held at Dover Museum. It is not on public display but is viewable by appointment.

Listing in the Book does not preclude commemoration on our Town Memorial.

Examples of service names in the Book and on the Town Memorial are:

Ron Adley
John Bones
Alfred Craven
Alfred Moseling
Donald Halke
Jack Miriams

6. Government commemoration (Commonwealth War Graves Commission - CWQC), is not the definitive authority for whether a casualty may be included on a civic or community war memorial

There are six member countries of the CWGC - UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and India.) The function of the CWGC is to record and maintain the last resting place of a casualty. Where no grave is identifiable, the CWGC allocates the casualty to a cenotaph for the missing, for example, the Menin Gate.

People commemorated by the CWGC do not correspond fully or exactly with people commemorated on civic memorials.

Reasons include:

i) civic and community memorial commemorations may be of those who died outside the dates set for commemoration by the CWGC (4 August 1914 to 31 August 1921 and 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947)

Examples on our Town Memorial are:

Walter Mills, died 1922
Nelson Cork, died 1938

ii) the CWGC commemorates women

Examples include:

Florence Johncock
Margaret Care

iii) the CWGC charter does not yet include Great War civilian casualties

An example of a civic memorial listing them is:


iv) the CWGC records civilians killed in World War II

Examples include:

William Champion
Freddie Spinner
Sheila Hare
Jack Pearson

v) the CWGC does not commemorate according to social groupings but by last resting place and by name or service number

vi) civic and community memorial commemorations were and are collected in a different way from the way CWGC records are collected.

The last was from grave registration units and records submitted by the forces and municipal returns, the former two were by collection from particular communities

Examples of men commemorated on the Town Memorial but not by the CWGC are:

Norman Masters
Peter Mello

Examples of men commemorated by the CWGC but not on the Town Memorial

Norris Williams
John Seddon
Walter Sedgwick
Frank Smith Thomas Osborn

vii) civic and community memorials often include those who served and survived - the Roll of Honour

viii) the CWGC has errors and omissions.

New casualties are added to CWGC records every year, thanks to voluntary work from individuals and groups

Local examples of rectified omissions are:

from Dover, William Dixon, added December 2008
from Dover, William May, added December 2008
from Dover, Cecil Sambrook, added January 2009
from River, William Inwood, added January 2008
from Tilmanstone, Albert Husk, added February 2008

A local example of an error is:

Thomas Blaxland, from Dover, who died in 1916 and is commemorated by the CWGC on the Tower Hill, London, Memorial for Missing Merchant Seamen. Pilot Blaxland is actually buried in Charlton cemetery, Dover. (A consequence of this error is that his grave is not maintained by the CWGC, as are other servicemen's graves).

ix) the civic or community memorial has errors and omissions

The Town Memorial was erected in haste and there was a shortage of funding. On our Town Memorial many people were omitted, for a variety of reasons; hence the need to put on new plaques. The first of these plaques was placed on the Memorial in April 1934 and contained 70 names.

Errors on our Town Memorial include:

John Baker Saunders, who is commemorated twice, as J Baker and J B Saunders
Henry Andrews, who is commemorated as H R Anstrews
Charles Eugene Barnes Robinson, who is commemorated as C A B Robinson
George Stephen Holder, commemorated as G S Holden

Comments on the above are welcome. Please contact us

Copyright 2012 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved