war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

The Gas Works

In the Recreation Room there was a photograph taken by C. S. Harris of the only worker killed in World War I. The portrait was presented on the 3rd May 1922 and unveiled by Mrs Herring, the wife of Mr E. Herring, the Chairman of the Gas Works.

The inscription read as follows:

Corporal Frederick Charles Purser

4th Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

killed in action at Armentières, France

April 5th 1918, aged 27

In affectionate memory this portrait is presented to the Recreation Room. The only one of thirty who made the supreme sacrifice

Lest We Forget

Corporal Purser is also commemorated on the Town War Memorial

with thanks to A. G. Belsey

The December before the unveiling, the Sports Club had a supper when they welcomed back the ex-Service men, and that was when the idea arose of hanging the portrait of Fred Purser.  

The picture was hung in the corner of the room, and as Mrs Herring was about to remove the Union Flag that covered it, the Chairman (E C Herring, Manager, retiring that week) stated that the unveiling ceremony was simple "yet very deep with meaning". The picture was of one of the employees who "in the dark days of August 1914 went up to do his bit. They all knew how nobly he did the very utmost that one could possibly do, for he gave up his life in the cause of King and country." Mr Herring continued that, "the remembrance of that brought a certain tinge of sorrow, for Frederick Purser was a very nice fellow, and it was a distinct shock" when had heard of his death in Flanders.

As Mrs Herring unveiled the picture, she stated that she looked upon it as a great privilege to be allowed to do so. The company present applauded when the picture was unveiled. Mr W. Purser stated that on behalf of his brother's widow, his wife and family, and himself, he wished to thank his fellow workmen and everyone.

Mr Patterson, the incoming Manager, thanked Mrs Herring for having kindly unveiled the portrait of the only young man from the Works to have made the supreme sacrifice. He was pleased to hear that thirty men from there went to do their bit, and that God had seen fit to allow all but one to return in health and strength. He continued that that it was hard to realise, except by those who had experienced it, the feelings of the relatives of those who had been taken, and it pained him to see the widow of this fine young man. But, thank God, he added, it was over.

Mrs Purser handed a letter of thanks which she requested the Chairman to read. "I wish to express my very warm appreciation and thanks to yourself, the Directors and the employees for the very kind way in which they have respected my husband's memory, and also for the kindness shown to me and my little son. It will always live in our memory."  

from Dover Express 5 May 1922

Copyright 2006 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved