The Connaught Rangers
Catholic Church of Our Lady of Pity and St Martin was situated
in Snargate Street near the base of the Grand Shaft leading up
to the barracks. In the church was a
memorial to the officers and men of the 1st and 2nd battalions
of the Connaught Rangers who fell in the Great War.
It was a tablet
of brass on an oak base, and bore the words, "To the Glory of
God, and in memory of their comrades fallen in the Great War,
1913-1918, this tablet was placed here by the 1st and 2nd
Connaught Rangers, whilst stationed at Dover, October 1919.
It was unveiled
on 7th November 1920 by Lieut-Colonel Jourdain, and blessed by
Father Gifkins. Father Gifkins also conducted the dedication
service. During his sermon he spoke of the duty of prayer for
all those fallen in the war, for those still suffering from
wounds, for the bereaved relatives, the mothers, wives, and
orphans, and that at Armistice time it was especially
appropriate to pray for ourselves, for the world in general in
The buglers of
the 2nd Battalion of the Connaught Rangers sounded The Last
Post, and this was followed by the Benediction of the Blessed
Sacrament and the hymn to St Patrick.
The memorial was
made by C A Ashdown, of Dover.
We were told that
the church was first opened in October 1897, and was
used until 1940. During the Second World War torpedo
boats outside the harbour scored a close hit. The
windows of the church were blown out and the front wall
was sucked three inches out of line.
The church lay
derelict for nearly three decades, and water leaked
through the shrapnel-damaged roof. The parquet floors
were raised by the damp.
Large rods were
used to stabilise the walls, and in 1967 the church was
sold. Later it was bought by the Smye
Rumsby family, and has been
used for their business ever since.
Remnants of the
church may still be seen. Amongst them are the doors,
left, and, below, the parquet
floor, and the apse, which is burrowed out from beneath
the white cliffs.
with grateful thanks to
Philip Smye-Rumsby, and to Paul and Carol Smye-Rumsby
pictures, Simon Chambers