Civilian Service of
Remembrance and Thanksgiving - 2007
THE CHURCH SERVICE
There were a number of speakers.
The full texts may be seen by clicking the speaker's
Marilyn Stephenson-Knight, founder of
the Dover War Memorial Project, welcomed everyone
and introduced the service.
"The Dover War Memorial Project
remembers with love, honour, and respect, all Dovorians
who fell in the two world wars."
"On our town memorial there are
nearly 800 names. None of them is a civilian."
"Civilians are a forgotten service -
the Soldiers of the Home Front.".
"Our safety and our futures - and our
presence here today - depended on those brave people who
went out and fought. And just as much did it all depend
on those, like our Dovorian civilians, who stood firm at
Terry Sutton, MBE, (left) from the
Dover Society, spoke of our Frontline Town. .
"Official records show that 216
civilians were killed in Dover by enemy action in World
War II ...more than 300 Dover civilians were seriously
"In World War I the first bomb ever
to be dropped on the UK fell on Dover, and during that
war a further 370 bombs fell on Dover ...".
Andy Cooper (above, right) read from the Gospel
according to St Matthew, Chapter 5, Verses 1 to 10.
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called
sons of God.
Iris Jess (left) lost her
grandparents, Martha and Alfred Abbott, when their home
in Priory Gate Road was bombed in 1942. Mrs Jess
remembers being pulled out from the rubble.
"My memories of the war are how it
changed my life ... from a very close family of seven,
we were now three."
Michelle Cooper (left) remembered
little Gertrude Boorman, thirteen years old when she was
killed by a shell in February 1918. "Gertrude
cried out, "Oh Mum!" They were the last words she ever
Julie Balston (right) was named after
her grandmother, Julie Annette Green. Mrs Green was
killed by a shell at Dover Priory Station in September
1944. "My mother saw her onto the Dover train. It was
the last time she ever saw her."
Freddie Spinner was another victim of
the shell at Dover Priory Station. He was 9 and had just
stepped off the London train with his sister.
John Cork (right), who was at school
with him, has never forgotten him.
In an emotional and moving speech he
said, "It was one of the saddest days of then young life
and I cried quite a lot as Freddie was my best friend.".
The guns on the Calais coast that
shelled Dover were captured by troops under the 1st
Dovorians do not forget their debt,
nor the long friendship and many connections between our
little town and the "little towns in a far land".
We were delighted to welcome
Kevin Cotten, CD, from the Canadian High Commission
"While conducting research in
preparation for today's ceremony, I realised how
woefully ignorant I was of the degree and extent of the
carnage suffered by the people of Dover."
"This ceremony is primarily about the
many civilians who died ... but it is also about the
gallant efforts of other nations, whose civilians turned
soldiers took up arms ... Among them were over 1.1
million Canadians; over 100,000 were either killed or
Our Mayor, Councillor Bob Markham
(above right) responded, "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."
"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
Before the Intercessions and Last
Post, Albert Bennett (left), 94 years old
and a Burma Star veteran, concluded the speeches with his beautiful poem, "Remembrance".
"We give thanks for all those years
in peace, And pray that in time all wars will cease."
"The pains we suffer may be the sings
of age ... But ... If God should give us that extra time
to play, Let us give Him our thanks, for each and every
By request, Colonel Cotten kindly recited this poem at the
conclusion of his speech. It's reproduced here for our dear friend in Canada, who supported us at the
great 90th anniversary commemoration at Vimy, who worked
tirelessly with ideas and information for the service, and who
first taught these words to Maggie.
little towns, in a far land, we came,
to save our honour and a world aflame;
by little towns, in a far land, we sleep,
and trust those things we won
to you to keep.
-Rudyard Kipling (1925)
all pictures: Simon Chambers