Civilian Service of
Remembrance and Thanksgiving - 2007

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The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Dover
Bob Markham

In those dark days of war, as we have heard, so many from around the world stood steadfast, fought selflessly, heroically, and indeed paid the highest price.  We in this small town of Dover pay homage and give our most grateful thanks.

From these most terrible times in our history such strong connections and friendships were born, and have continued in mutual admiration and respect for decades.

Many Dovorians emigrated to Canada at the turn of the last century, and returned to fight in the Great War. Many served with their brothers-in-arms in the Canadian Forces. Indeed, there are fourteen names on our war memorial of some of those who died whilst serving with the Canadian Forces. 

In the Second World War many of our airmen flew and were lost with Royal Canadian Air Force men. Four Canadians died with our casualty, Air Gunner Cyril Coe, in May 1944. 

We have heard of a message from a Brigadier from one of the Canadian Infantry Brigades, announcing the news, "We have all of Jerry's Big Berthas". The Mayor of Dover, Jimmy Cairns, said at the time, "It is a great relief to hear that the enemy's Cross Channel guns have been captured and that the threat of further bombardments of the town have been removed. Dover has had a rough time for the last four years, and in particular during the last month, when a very great number of shells have fallen on the town, which has suffered a lot of damage. The people of Dover have stood up to their ordeal magnificently, and are full of gratitude and admiration for the gallant and successful manner in which the Canadians have captured the guns which have, for so long, been a menace to this part of the coast."

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Home Security, Miss Ellen Wilkinson, remarked at that time, "We have talked about martyred Malta and given her the George Cross, but Dover is not a town to be taken for granted ... Dover is the martyr town of Britain". Indeed there is still to this day a campaign to get the George Cross for Dover. This was first mooted by The Lord Mayor of London in 1944.

Finally from this Mayor of Dover, "I bid you remember what you have heard here today. Remain steadfast in your friendships and respect of our brothers-in-arms, and pray peace reigns supreme.

photo: Michael Munn

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