Civilian Service of
Remembrance and Thanksgiving - 2007

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There were a number of speakers. The full texts may be seen by clicking the speaker's name.

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."

Maggie S-K

"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 home."

Terry Sutton

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 injured."

"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

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 earth."

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Iris Jess

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

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 spoke."

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."

Julie Balston

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.". 

John Cork

The guns on the Calais coast that shelled Dover were captured by troops under the 1st Canadian Army.

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 Colonel Kevin Cotten, CD, from the Canadian High Commission (below, left) 

Kevin Cotten

"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 wounded."

Bob Markham

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 reigns supreme."

Albert Bennett

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 day."

stanrdard bearers leave

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


From 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)


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all pictures: Simon Chambers

Copyright 2008 Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved