war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War I



Surnames M

gravestone, St Jamesdetail from headstone, by Simon ChambersMay, W. J.  
William James May was a Lance-Corporal of the Cyclist Corps

He joined up at Shorncliffe as 7890 in the Leinsters on 14 May 1905 when he was aged 17 years and 11 months. At that time he had no occupation. He served in Mauritius for a year and India for four returning home on 12 November 1911. He became a Reserve on 1 June 1912. Upon re-engagement he joined the Cyclists and on 8 September 1914 went out with the BEF to France, serving there until 12 August 1915

At the time of her husband's re-engagement Mrs May lived at Brook Place, Charlton, Dover. The family may also have lived at 52 Tower Hill in 1914 as a W J May is noted there. William's father Joseph was noted as a further next-of-kin living at 31 Bradstone Road, Folkestone, and he had an elder brother also Joseph  

William was discharged from the Army on 13 August 1915 as no longer physically fit for war service reportedly after having been gassed at the Front. His medical records show that he had severe infection with tubercle bacilli gained on active service and first complained of this at Ypres 28 July 1915. He returned home with the prognosis "will get worse"

He died at the Royal Victoria Hospital Dover, on 21 August 1916 and was buried on 24 August at St James, OW 10. The funeral left from a private residence at Union Row. It was held with full military honours with the band of the 5th Royal Fusiliers playing Beethoven's and Chopin's funeral marches

Amongst the mourners were his widow Mrs C W (reportedly) May the former Sarah Elizabeth Howland whom he had married at the Register Office in Dover on Christmas Eve 1913. They had one daughter Ivy born at Dover. Also present were his sisters and his mother-in-law. The floral tributes contained "In loving memory of my darling husband, from his heart-broken wife and baby", "from his sorrowing mother-in-law and brother-in-law", and from the Harbird family, including one "from a chum serving at the front (F Harbird)"

In August 1917 appeared this In Memoriam:
In ever loving memory of my dear husband William James May who died after much suffering on August 21 1916 in the Royal Victoria Hospital Dover, suffering from the effects of German gas poison

The image (above left) is a detail from his headstone which is now laid flat at St James near the Zeebrugge graves The words on the headstone read:

In Loving Memory of
William James May
who passed away August 21 1916
aged 28 years
from the effects of being gassed
from his sorrowing wife

Also of Ivy Georgina Elizabeth
infant daughter of the above
who fell asleep April 17 1917, aged 9 months
We grieve to part with those we love
With those we hold most dear
May we one day meet above
Without a doubt or fear

Also of Sarah Elizabeth
The dearly beloved wife of the above
Who fell asleep May 2 1921, aged 26 years
Sweet the sleep you so much needed
Free from suffering, care, and pain
Looking on thy face so peaceful
Could we wish thee back again

Ivy was buried on 23 April 1917 and her mother was buried on 9 May 1921

16th December 2008 - we have just heard that the CWGC have placed William May on their records. His grave will now be cared for in perpetuity and he will have a CWGC headstone when necessary. Well done, Kent Fallen!

service details and in memoriam: Joyce Banks

Marsh, C. R.  
Charles Richard Marsh, PS 3219, the brother of William Henry Marsh, below, was born in Dover in 1886; the census return for 1901 states that he was born at East Langdon the son of William a farm bailiff and Hannah believed née Brown.  He was then a cashier at a drug store and the family lived at Crabble Farm House, River. Previously in 1891 they had lived at Chilton Farm on the Alkham Valley Road

He married Ethel Jane Blake on 7 September 1910 at St Gregory's, Canterbury, and they went to Croydon. He was noted as a dispenser when he enlisted in Kingston in Surrey to become a Private in the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) He joined the 1st battalion on 8 November 1916 just after he was sent to France on 25 October 1916. He was sent to his unit on 14 January 1917 and was killed in action on 23 April 1917. He is buried at Heninel-Croisilles Road Cemetery, France.  Grave I E 8. He is commemorated also at West Langdon

Mrs Marsh lived at "Crabble" 4 Compton Road, Addiscombe, Croydon, and it was to her that his effects of letters, photographs, and cards were returned.

Marsh, W. H.
William Henry Marsh is commemorated at East Langdon, and, born there, was the brother of Charles, above. He served in the Royal West Kents and died on 2 December 1917. He and Charles were cousins of Frederick James Marsh, named on the Whitfield memorials, all being the grandsons of James and Sarah Ann Marsh.

William Marsh, courtesy Patricia BaileyMarsh, W. H.
William Marsh, courtesy Patricia BaileyWilliam Henry Marsh was a Private, G/12584, in the Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) 7th battalion. He had enlisted in Dover having been the licensee of the Sussex Arms pub at 32 Townwall Street, Dover since 1909. Said to have been a "great fun" person, Private Marsh was reported missing on 30 September 1916 and was later presumed as having died then. His grave is now at the Mill Road Cemetery, Thiepval, France. I C 14 

He was married in 1907 to Mildred Emma William, Percival, and Mildred Marsh, courtesy Patricia Baileyand the couple had three children; a daughter Florence, who was eight when her father died and Reginald William, born in November 1915. Another son William Perril Godden Marsh, born in 1914, had sadly died at the age of six months in January 1915 

Sussex Arms, courtesy Patricia BaileyMrs Marsh remained at the Sussex Arms after her husband's death. With the help of her friends Ernie and Edie Webb she ran the pub until 1922, when she moved to Folkestone, living at 3 Bonsor Road

Her parents-in-law Mr and Mrs W Marsh were also from Folkestone. William is commemorated on the civic memorial there.

Above: Mrs Marsh with, back row, William Marsh and his brother Percival John Marsh
Right: The Sussex Arms pub with Mrs Marsh and her daughter in the doorway

announcement, August 1917, courtesy Dover Express




with thanks to Patricia Bailey

Note: Mr Francis Richardson the licensee who took over from Mrs Marsh would later sadly lose his daughter his wife and his mother when the Sussex Arms was severely damaged during a raid on 11 September 1940  

McBarron, F.    
Francis "Frank" McBarron, 5701, was a Serjeant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 2nd battalion. He was 35 when he died on 13 October 1914 and is buried at Meteren Military Cemetery, France. I K 260

He was the son of Michael McBarron and the "dearly beloved husband" of Florence McBarron of "Speyside" The Avenue, Camberley, Surrey, formerly 178 Clarendon Place, Dover. His sister was Mrs Em Whatley of Burcombe Lane, Wilton.  There were connections with South Africa and Canada. The 1891 Scotland census gives him as the son of Annie and Michael McBarron born in England then living at 6 Picadilly Street, Glasgow

Medhurst, J. A.    
Jack (John?) Alfred Medhurst  G 10572, died on 19 June 1915. A shop assistant, he had enlisted at Chatham in January 1914, aged 19. Sent out to the western front on 2 November 1914, he was serving the in 3rd batt of the Buffs when he received treatment for a sceptic left foot on 21 January 1915. He was serving in A Company, 1st batt of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) when he was killed by a shell. He was 20 (CWGC says 19). He is buried in Potijze Chateau Wood Cemetery, Belgium. Grave B10

Between 1907 and 1909 his father, James, was the licensee at the King Alfred in Portland Place, by Durham Hill, in Dover. The 1911 census shows James, born at Bearsted, and his wife Rachel, born at Boughton, living at the "Friend in Need", at Peter Street. The couple had married in 1899, and in 1911 there were then ten children in the family: John George, born in 1896, at Boxley, an assistant to his father, Lionel Armstrong Clifton, Mrs Medhurst's son, born in 1897 at Hollingbourne, who was to die in 1923, James, born at Rodmersham, Louisa Jessica, born 1902, and Daisy,  born 1903, both at Murston, Sittingbourne,  Nellie Elizabeth, born 1905, and Charles, born 1906, both at Green Street, and Rosie, born in 1909, and the twins Doris and Alice, born in 1910, all at Dover.

The family went on to the "Grand Sultan" in Snargate Street in late 1911, and were there till the end of 1913. They also held the licence at "The Lord Raglan", Slade Green, Erith, Kent. There they had two more children; Percy George, born 1916, and Alec Raglan, born 1918. A further address on the attestation of John was 127a The Brook, Chatham, Kent.

research by Joyce Banks

Herbert Middleton, courtesy Dover ExpressMiddleton, H. H. 
Herbert Harold Middleton, 209545, was a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy. He was serving with the HMS Daisy and was returning to his ship when the boat was cut in half in the mouth of the Tyne by a ferry steamer on 4 January 1916. Herbert was drowned; his body was never found and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 15 

Herbert was born on 29 December 1884 in Dover and at his death was described as being "formerly of 65 Clarendon Street" He was the second son of William Middleton a Mariner and former Royal Navy sailor from Deal, Kent who was at sea in both the 1891 and 1901 censuses and of Fanny née Atkins from Fingest, Buckinghamshire. He was christened on 21 January 1885 at St John Mariner Dover.  In 1891 he his mother and his siblings were at 177 Clarendon Road, Dover, while his father was at sea aboard "The Victoria" as Master in Charge. William when he left the Navy worked the steam packets between Dover an France

Herbert joined the Royal Navy as a 16 year old boy cadet. He was then described as being 4 feet 11 inches tall with a fresh complexion  light brown hair and grey eyes. He had grown another four inches by the time he was 18. In 1901 he is listed as being part of the complement of the "Ganges" at Tendring, Harwich. His full service record is as follows:  

HMS Ganges   May 1900- May 01 +  June 01 - 27 Aug 01  
Minotaur   10 May 1901 - 20 Jun 01 +  20 Oct 01-5 Nov 01  
St Vincent    28 Aug 01 - 19 Oct 01  
Agincourt   6 Nov 01 - 5 Dec 01  
Andromeda 6 Dec 01 - 15 Dec 01  
Diane 16 Dec 01 - 12 May 1904 During this time he became Ab seaman rather than a boy cadet as in 1900/1901
Pembroke  13 May 04 - 6 Sep 04 Herbert became leading seaman Jul 1904
Wildfire Sep 04 - Dec 1904  
Pembroke& Dec 04 - Mar 05 Apr 07 - May 07 + Jul 07 - Dec 07 + Feb 08 - Apr 08  
Diadem Mar 05 - Apr 07 During this time he became Petty Officer 2nd Class
President Dec 07 - Feb 08  
Natel Apr 08 - May 10 It was during this period Herbert was made Petty Officer1st class. (We think a D + D charge was made during this time because of celebrating his sister Nellie May's wedding on Christmas Day 1908 in London.  As a result he spent a few weeks as LS  before being made back up to Petty Officer)
Pembroke 1 May 10 - Jun 10 + Oct 12 -Feb 13  
Pembroke 2 Feb 13 - Jun 13  
Endeavour Jun 13 - Jul 14  
Ganges/Daisy Aug 14 - until 4th Jan 16 death by drowning

Herbert had two brothers. Frank William Henry was baptised in August 1881 at St John Mariner and sadly died in 1886. His other brother Ernest Arthur was born on 19 August 1887  and baptised at St John Mariner. He married probably Florence Wood in 1911 and is last known as serving in the Merchant Navy during World War II 1945. His sisters were Elsie Elizabeth born 1883 who emigrated to New Zealand with her husband Gustavus Daniel De Lacey Parkes RN and Nellie May baptised 2 Oct 1889 at Christ Church Hougham, who married Charles Woodman,a piano tuner on Christmas Day 1908. Their uncle Stephen Richard Middleton from Clarendon Street, also served in the Royal Navy before in 1901 being listed as in the "Dover Shore Force"

with grateful thanks to Jean May-Golding for information and service details

grave of Mrs Mills, also commemorating Percy, courtesy Joyce BanksMills, C. P.     
Cecil Percy Mills, 4683, was a Rifleman in the London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles) 16th Battalion. He died on 18 September 1916 aged 20 and is buried at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France. XXVI B 1 

He was the eldest son of the late Percival George Mills and of Louisa Emily Mills who lived at "Glanmire" Highfield Avenue, Aldershot, when he was killed. Mrs Mills is buried at Charlton and the inscriptions on the kerbstone read:

"In loving memory of Cecil Percy Mills who was killed in action on the Somme, September 18 1916. Aged 20 years. "Greater love hath no man than this"

 The headstone reads:

In loving memory of Percival George Mills, passed away 15 September 1913, aged 47 years
And of Louisa Emily Mills, re-united on 28 November 1957, aged 92

with thanks to Joyce Banks

Morrah, J. H.    
John Henry Morrah was a Major in the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment 1st battalion. He was Mentioned in Dispatches. He died when he was 39 on 18 October 1914 and is buried at Le Touquet Railway Crossing Cemetery, France. A 6

He was the youngest son of the late Colonel James Arthur Morrah of the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps and Mary Morrah and the "dearly loved" husband of Maud Florence Morrah from 129 Hamlet Gardens, Ravenscourt Park, London, formerly 7 The Esplanade, Dover  

Mount, S.   
Stephen Mount died at the age of 23 on 10 July 1921 at 13 Glenfield Road, Dover. He underwent "long sufferings caused through the war" RIP

Born at Lydden, he was the youngest son of Mr Joseph and Mrs Eliza Mount of Ewell Minnis, and was the brother of Joseph Mount, commemorated on Alkham War Memorial.

Murphy, G.     
George Murphy, 1243U, was a Stoker in the Royal Naval Reserve. 1915, courtesy Dover ExpressHe was lost aged 42 with the sinking of HMS Formidable on New Year's Day 1915. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 14 

He lived at 120 Clarendon Street and left a wife and six children

death announcement 1915

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