THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper
 

 

Dover Front-Line Medal


50th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION

Arthur Tolputt with his Front Line medal, by Simon ChambersThe Front Line medal was commemorative. It was issued for the 50th anniversary of 26th September 1944, when the last shell fell on Dover in World War II before the enemy guns at Calais were captured by the Canadians. Those who had carried on their duties under enemy and shellfire bombing in what was known as "Hellfire Corner" were eligible to receive it.

The first batch in Dover was presented by Brigadier Vere Hayes in March 1994, at a ceremony at the Town Hall. One of those who received a medal on this occasion was Dick Whittamore, who worked at the Hippodrome Theatre, Snargate Street, during the war. He became Assistant Manager, but his career was abruptly halted when the theatre was shelled. .

Front Line memorial, by Simon ChambersOn 26th September 1994 there was a parade held by over 1000 veterans who had served in the Dover area during the war, including people from the USA, Canadians, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Three hundred service people also attended. The Countess Mountbatten unveiled a memorial on the Sea Front (right, see also plaques for more pictures) to all those who had lost their lives during the war. The Master Gunner and the Director of the Royal Artillery attended, while the Royal Artillery band played with a band from the Czechoslovakian army. Lunches at the Duke of York's Royal Military School or the Town Hall followed..

There were other commemorative functions, including a service in the Garrison church of St Mary in Castro, Dover Castle. The Royal Artillery laid a wreath at the Town Memorial at 19.12, the exact time the last shell had fallen. A plaque at the entrance to the secret war-time tunnels was unveiled and dedicated to the five American Anti-aircraft battalions which had served against the flying bomb attacks on the coast between Deal and Dymchurch in 1944.

Events and striking of the medal for Dover were organised by a committee of the Dover Branch of the Royal Artillery Association, and medals were sold to eligible people. One recipient recalls the cost as being some 15. Hundreds applied, and the proceeds, after the costs of production, were given to military charities.

*

The plaque on the monument reads:
"To commemorate all men and women, both service and civilians, who lived, served, and died in East Kent. "Front Line Britain"; 1939-1945. This plaque was unveiled by Countess Mountbatten of Burma, CBE, CD, JP, EL 26th September 1994"

Mr Tolputt's medal, by Simon Chambers

letter and medal at the war-time tunnels, Dover Castle, by Simon Chambers

Left, Mr Tolputt's medal. Right, the letter and attached medal that are displayed at the entrance to the war-time tunnels, Dover Castle. The letter reads:

"Frontline Britain" '94"
50th anniversary of the end of Frontline Britain

The frontline Britain medal was struck to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the capture of the German cross channel guns and the end of shelling in this area. At Dover on 26th September 1994 a memorial was unveiled by Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

"To all those men and women of both military and civilian services, who lived, served, and died in the East Kent district 1939-1945."

The Frontline Britain '94 Committee present this medal to "Hellfire Corner, Dover Castle" with grateful thanks for their support during this historic event, when veterans from all over the world returned to remember when East Kent was "Frontline Britain"

Information kindly supplied by Arthur Tolputt, with extra notes from Bob Hollingsbee and John Cork
pictured above, Arthur Tolputt, Hon Secretary Royal Artillery Association, Dover Branch

The Frontline Medal was struck by Bigbury Mint


 

Copyright 2007/8 Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved