war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper




the memorial

Thankful villages are those which lost no sons in the Great War. The term top of memorialwas attributed to Arthur Mee, renowned for his early 19th century Children's Encyclopaedia and King's England series.

Knowlton, just outside Dover, is one of the rare thankful villages - but it is also the bravest village in England! In 1914 a recruiting competition was organised by the Weekly Dispatch to see which village could encourage the greatest proportion of inhabitants to join up before the end of February 1915. The winner would be the Bravest Village.

Knowlton gained the title - and a memorial - after 12 men enlisted from its population of just 39.


Those who served with his Majesty's Forces
in the Great War

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Major F E Speed, REK Yeomanry
Cpt E I L Speed MC 2nd Life Guards
Cpt D C L Speed 60th Rifles
Cpl C Baldock 4th Buffs
Cpl L Martin MM REK Yeomanry
Ctl C Crocker 2nd Life Guards
Pte W J Brett 6th Buffs
Pte J Lack REK Yeomanry
Pte P O'Brien REK Yeomanry
Pte C Sturdee 4th Buffs
Pte T J Wilkins REK Yeomanry
Pte A Wood 4th Buffs
Major S C H Sargent CF



One crowded hour of glorious life is
worth an age without a name

This cross was erected in honour of those twelve men of Knowlton who out of a total population of thirty nine enlisted prior to March 1915 and by their patriotic action won the Weekly Dispatch "Bravest Village" Competition

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Knowlton unveild, courtesy Dover Express


The monument, after unveiling by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent at 3pm on 6 September 1919




The cross is made from Aberdeen granite, designed by Sir George Frampton and erected by W Kirkpatrick of Trafford, Manchester. A number of dignitaries attended the unveiling, and only Privates Sturdee and Wood, of the names thereon, were unable to attend as they were still away on service in India. Those who could be present were given silver cigarette cases, while Corporal Martin was presented with his Military Medal. The celebrations continued with selections of music played by the 5th Lancers, with a tea on the Knowlton Estate followed by funfair amusements.

Notes: there are actually thirteen names on the memorial ...
many of those who enlisted did not live in the village, which belonged to an estate; however they all worked on the estate

pictures, Simon Chambers


Copyright 2006-10 Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved