war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

Before the Wars


Those we find before August 1914


Thompson, W.
William Thompson was in C company, the 1st battalion of the 4th King's Own Royal Regiment. He was stationed at the Western Heights. On Saturday 16 January he was given a pass till 23.00, and at 20.30 was seen in the company of four other soldiers, probably from the 91st Highlanders, when he gave the goodnight salute.

On Sunday 17 January he was found at the foot of the cliffs near the South Front barracks, a drop of some eighty feet. He was aged 33, and had been in the service 13-14 years. He was described as fond of a drink and as "rather a jocular man".

He was buried at St James on 22 January, the same day as his inquest at the Granvwille Inn, Limekiln Street.

South African War Memorial in St Mary's Church, Dover (1899-1902)

Arnold, E. T.
Private E T Arnold, 5603, of The Buffs, died of fever on 4 April 1900. He had been wounded on 10 March at Dreifontein.

Barton, E. G.
Trooper E G Barton died of fever on 5 May 1902. He served in the 3rd Dragoon Guards. However, the details may also be for George Edward Barton, who died of disease at Wynburg on 19 May 1902. He was serving as a Private, 4322, in the 3rd (Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards.

George Edward Barton was born in Dover in 1877, the first of ten children in the family of  Edward Stephen Barton and his wife Emma, née Harman. His youngest brother, Harry (Henry Frederick Barton), was killed in the Great War in 1916.

Beaumont, E.
Lance Corporal E. Beaumont, 1120, of the Imperial Light Infantry died from fever on 3 March 1901 at Newcastle.

Beer, C.
Private C. Beer, 2125, died from fever on 9 December 1900. He served in The Buffs. He had been accidentally shot on 8 December 1900 at Brugspruit.

Bell, W.
Lt W Bell, Royal Engineers. He died from fever on 11 January 1900 

Bowles, G. A.
Corporal G A Bowles, 7252, was in the Volunteer Active Service Company of The Buffs. He died from enteric fever on 5 March 1901 at Winburg.

He had gone out to South Africa early in 1900. Before then he had been employed in coach building. A brother of his was in March 1901 a corporal in the Dover Company.

Davidson, F. C. D.
Lt Francis Coventry Dudfield Davidson, The King's Own. He was killed or died of wounds near Ladysmith on 23 February 1900 aged 25. He was the son of Lt Col Christopher Middlemas Davidson, who lost a second son, Christopher Edmund Grant Davidson, during the Great War.

Elton, E. G.
Captain Erle Godfrey Elton, of the Black Watch, was killed on 11 December 1900, aged 30, at Magersfontein.

Elwin, E. W.
Private Edward Wilfred Elwin, 10610, of the Royal Army Medical Corps died from enteric fever on 1 or 2 December 1901 at Middelburg, Transvaal. He had been serving in 11 Stationary Hospital.

He had been born in Dover in 1868, probably 27 March, the son of Edward Elwin, a solicitor, and his wife Harriet Frederica Elizabeth, née Barnes. The couple had married in 1862 and Edward was their "third and dearly beloved son". Edward had been a pupil at Christ's Hospital School, Newgate Street, London.

Halke, A.
Private Albert Halke, 7282, was in the volunteer active service company of The Buffs. He died from fever on 12 July 1900 at Bloemfontein.

Hatton, T.
Private T. Hatton, 3413, of The Buffs was killed on 27 April 1901 near Reitz

Hebeler, B. A.
Trooper Bernard Armstrong Hebeler, 3145, was killed on 18 February 1901 at Haartebeestfontein, aged 31.

Born at Hampton Court, he was the son of Frederick Prickett Hebeler and his wife Edith, and brother of Roland Stuart Hebeler. After schooling at Letton Lodge Preparatory School, Alnwick, he went to Fettes College, Edinburgh, then emigrated  to North America where he took up ranching, later being joined by Roland. On a visit home Roland enrolled into the Northumberland Yeomanry to take part in the South African war; Bernard on hearing this went back to England and did likewise. Bernard arrived too late for his troopship but sailed to South Africa at his own expense, joining the 14th company.

In action, Bernard as renowned for his markmanship, coolness, and resource, and was said to be one of the bravest and best soldiers in the company. He took part in many engagements, being conspicuous by outstandingly gallant behaviour. In an early engagement he carried a wounded comrade to safety under extremely heavy fire.

At St Michael's church in Alnwick on 28 July 1901 a restored cross was erected on the church porch by Mr and Mrs Hebeler to the glory of God and in memory of their son.

Kilian, A. J.
Private A. J. Kilian, 2746, of the Coldstream Guards died from fever on 27 February 1901 at Klerksdorp

Kingsford, W. H.
Private William Henry Kingsford, 3821, of the Army Ordnance Corps died from fever on 10 December 1901. He was born on 31 August 1876, and christened as Henry William on 8 October 1876 at St Mary.

He was a brother of Aubrey and Edward Kingsford.  Their father was in 1876 working as a gasfitter, a job he did for many years. The family lived at several different addresses in Dover, including, in 1881, 44 Clarendon Street, in 1885 (when sister Winifred was born) at 1 Granville Street, in 1891 and 1901, 1 Barton View, and in 1911 at 11 Crabble Terrace.

Moore, C. R.
Lt Charles Roland Moore, of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, was killed on 25 May 1901, aged 20, at Mooefontein

Parsons, C. C.
C C Parsons MRCS LRCP was a civilian attached to the 21st Field Hospital. He died from fever on 2 or 3 December 1900 at Harrismith

Parsons, F. N.
Lt Frances Newton Parsons VC, of the Essex Regiment, was killed on 10 March 1900 (died of wounds 11 March 1900?) at Dreifontein, aged 25

Spain, C. E.
Corporal Charles Edmund Spain, 22596, bodyguard for the Commander-in-Chief, died of wounds on 27 March 1901. He was the son of George, a Trinity Pilot, born in Calcutta, and Louisa Spain, born in Dover, from, in 1891, 20 Albert Road, Dover.  He had several siblings, including Louisa, then 26, Jessie, 24, a dressmaker, Edith, 22, a dressmaker's assistant, Mary, 21, George, 20, a merchant seaman, and Lillian, 14. Only the youngest two, Charles and Lillian, were born in Dover; the remainder were born at Walmer.

Spink, J.
Private J. Spink of the West Riding Regiment died from fever on 11 June 1900

Watts, A. H.
Staff Sergeant A. H. Watts, 9960, of the Army Service Corps died from fever on 9 March 1901 at Johannesburg



Adams, W.
Private W. Adams, 4996 (4966 according to the local newspaper), served in the 3rd Battalion of The Buffs. He died of enteric at Springfontein on 7 March 1901.

He had enlisted in 1897, and before then been a labourer in Dover, working for Mr Bradley, a corn merchant.

Beeden, F. T.
Frederick Thomas Beeden was born in Canterbury in 1869, one of the ten children of Harry Beeden, in 1881 a drill instructor in the East Kent Yeomanry Cavalry, and his wife Agnes Sophia, née Airey. The couple had married in 1863.

Frederick was in the Royal Horse Artillery. He served in the South African war as a Gunner, 38309. On 21 May 1899 at Luton, Chatham, Kent, he married Sarah Elizabeth Blackman and in 1901 the couple were living at 35 Church Terrace, Chatham; Frederick died on 3 December 1901.

Frederick's parents were in 1911 living at 29 Bartholomew Street, Charlton, Dover, the address they had occupied for over thirty years.

Fairbairn, G.
Sergeant George Fairbairn, 4348, of 33 Company (East Kent), 11 battalion Imperial Yeomanry. Of Charterhouse School. Died from enteric fever aged 31, on 12 March 1901 at Harrismith, Orange Colony.

He was the son of A Fairbairn of Folkestone, and formerly of Heppington, and grandson of the late Sir William Fairbairn, Bart.

Fox, H.
Bandsman Henry Fox, 4th battalion of the Leinster Regiment, was found dead in the trenches at the Citadel on 17 March 1901. The regiment was stationed at the Citadel Barracks

He had been playing with the band at the mess, to celebrate the incoming St Patrick's Day; the band were dismissed about midnight. Bandsman Fox had had a glass of beer. The verdict was that he had tumbled over a dwarf (two feet) wall in the dark and pitched into the trenches.

Gardner, A.
Private A. Gardner, 5952, died on 18 June 1901 at Kroonstad from enteric. He was serving in the 3rd East Kent (Buffs).

Golder, J.
Private John Golder, 1904, served in the 2nd East Kent Regiment. He died on 30 April 1901 from pneumonia aboard the steamship Roslin Castle at Ootacamund, India. He has served since enlistment on 16 January 1866, and before joining the army had been a labourer, living at Buckland, Dover. He left a widow, probably the former Miss Annie Popplestone, married in 1894 in Dover.

Hatton, T.
Private T. Hatton, 3413, of the 2nd East Kent Regiment, was killed in action at Reitz, South Africa, on 27 April 1901. He had ten years' service, having enlisted on 17 February 1891, and gained his mounted certificate on 1 August 1899. He had medals for his service in the Chitral and Punjab Campaigns. Prior to enlistment he had been a labourer in Dover. 

Johns, W. P.
Quartermaster Sergeant William Prestage Johns was found drowned under the sea wall at Abbot's Cliff on 13 April 1901. He had stopped in Dover at the Shaftesbury and was employed at the War Office. He was 38. (19/04/01)

Quartermaster Johns left a widow, Anastasia, née Barrett, who had been born in Ireland, and four children; William Henry, born 1889, Constance Mary A, born 1890, Gladys Gertrude, born about 1894, and Lavinia, born 1896, all of whom had been born at Gillingham. In 1901, just before her husband died, Mrs Johns was at 34 Gardiner Street, Gillingham, with her sister, Elizabeth McLoughlin and her niece, Violet, 1. They too had been born in Gillingham. In 1891, the then Company Sergeant Major Johns, born at New Brompton, near Gillingham, and his family had been at 64 Fox Street, Gillingham. This census notes that William and Constance were born at New Brompton.

William Johns and Anastasia married in 1885; Mrs Johns may have remarried in late 1901.

Mansfield, P.
Private Peter Mansfield, Leinster Regiment was drowned in the Granville Dock at around 1.15 am on Thursday, 9 May 1901. It was high water, and Captain Robert Brownfield, the Deputy Harbour Master, heard a splash into the dock, near the offices of the then London and Chatham Railway, and groans from someone seemingly struggling in the water. Although he ran to the spot could see no one in the water, merely a few ripples and bubbles. The drags were brought out, but as Captain Brownfield had been the only person to hear anything there was doubt whether anyone had fallen in.

A little afterwards Captain Brownfield found a soldier's stick and cap a few yards from the edge of the quay, and the docks were redragged. An hour and a quarter later later a man named Gatehouse  located a body, using a fish-hook and line. Private Mansfield was aged 20, and it would appear he had enjoyed a few drinks during the evening.  (10/05/01, 17/05/01))

Marie, L.
Louis Marie served in the French navy, aboard the gunboat Ibis. The Ibis was lying at the Clyde Wharf, Granville Dock.

On 14 October 1901, Able Seaman Marie, aged 27, had gone into the town. He was seen around eight pm talking to two soldiers and a civilian, and seen again around 9.45pm coming along the sea front and into Union Road. at 10.30pm there was a splash and a man cried out three times. Men searched along the dock but found nothing untoward. However, it was gloomy owing to baulks of timber in and around the water.

The next day a cap was found in the outer harbour, marked with Louis Marie's number, 1511. On 19 October the backwash of a tug dislodged  a body from beneath a collier it was moving. The body was identified by Lecalez Gabriel, a gunner on the Ibis as that of Louis Marie.

Louis Marie was buried with full military honours in Dover, his coffin draped with the tricoleur.

Pidgeon, S. J.
Sergeant Instructor Samuel John Pidgeon of the 3rd Battery, King's Royal Rifles, aged 29, was killed on 17 September 1901. Mentioned in dispatches for having "done continuous good work throughout", he was serving with Major Gough's Mounted Infantry at Blood River Poort, South Africa. The Infantry attempted an attack on 300 Boers, but as they advanced a much larger force suddenly appeared. Within a few minutes the Infantry were overwhelmed; some twenty died and over 200 were taken prisoner.

Samuel was the nephew and son-in-law of the late Staff Sergeant Major Ealoner Langabeer, RE, Shakespeare Cliff. (04/10/01).In 1899 in Dover he had married Gertrude Martha Langabeer, who had been born in Dover in 1873.  In 1901 Mrs Pidgeon was at the home of her father, a widower born in Devon around 1835, at Aycliffe Cottage, Dover. There also were her infant son, John, and her brother Walter, aged 31, an armourer in the Royal Navy.

Presley, P.
Private Patrick Presley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, aged 19, died on 4 April 1901 at the Western Heights. That morning he had been on guard at the North Entrance, but had been unable to return to barracks after his duties, falling out several times and having eventually been carried by his companions to the barracks.

He  was on only light duties and had not been sent to the front. He had served in the Fusiliers for some two years but had become ill at some time in the past and was unfit for duty. He was serving on light duties and had not been sent to the front, but probably should have been discharged as unfit from the services. He was said to suffer from valvular disease of the heart, and his death was owing to syncope after a rupture of one of the cardiac valves following disease of the aorta.

Russell, R.
Private Richard Russell, 771, a Dover Reservist, 2 Royal Irish Rifles, died, aged 34 years, of enteric on 1 March 1901 at Greenpoint Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. He had been a prisoner, released on 3 or 4 April 1900 at Mostert's Hoek.

Troughton, E. H.
Edward Hobson Troughton, L/14946, was five feet four-and-a-half inches tall, with blue-grey eyes and brown hair, and served as a driver in the Army Service Corps. He had been a pawnbroker before joining up on 7 June 1899 at Aldershot when he was 18 years and 9 months old; his next-of-kin, his father, was then at 119 Farrant Avenue, Wood Green.  Edward gained a third-class certificate in education, on 29 September 1899. He was killed in an accident on 12 October 1901.

He was taking a load of ammunition from the Priory Stores to the Langdon Battery. He had driven the transport waggon across the fields from the Deal road, attempting to spare the horses the very steep hill at Broadleas. About ten yards from the gate to the Langdon Battery he turned the waggon to the right, to drop the waggon down onto the new road, which was some three feet below the bank of the field. He had then intended to turn left into the gate. Unfortunately, the back wheel was still on the bank when he turned left and struck a lump of clay resulting from the construction of the road; the cart nearly overturned, pitching the driver out of his box between the horses and near the right front wheel. The right hand horse fell but recovered, and, both horses, startled, bolted through the gateway into the battery.

Driver Troughton was holding the trace and the reins, attempting to control the horses. He fell and the right-hand front wheel struck the back of his head and bowled him over, whereupon the wheel ran down his leg. He died but a few moments afterwards, in he arms of Gunner James Walsh who had run to his assistance. The verdict passed was that of an accidental death caused by shock from a multiplicity of injuries. (18/10/01)

Driver Troughton was 20 when he died. He was the son of retired police inspector Edward Henry Troughton, of Clapham Common, London, and his wife Mary, who in 1891 were at 56 Waltham Grove, Finchley. There were several other children in the family at home with Edward then, amongst them Florence E, then 12, Grace L, 10, Lilian M, 8, Constance G, 5, Nora S, 3, and John J H, 2.



Magill, C. J.
Quarter Master Sergeant Major Charles John Magill was accidentally shot and killed in Calcutta on 8 April 1914. He had come from Aldershot and was a Freemason in the Military Jubilee lodge in Dover. He left a widow.

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