Civilian Service of
Remembrance and Thanksgiving - 2007

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Terry Sutton MBE

terryOfficial records show 216 civilians were killed in Dover by enemy action in World War II. Others died later from injuries received. More than 300 Dover civilians were severely injured. Records also show that 464 bombs were dropped on the town -  many more in the waters of the harbour - while 2,226 shells and around 1,500 incendiary bombs fell on the town between August 1940 and September 1944.

September 1944 was Dover's worst ordeal as German gunners on the French coast used up their last shells to fire at the town. One of those to die that month was nine-year-old Freddie Spinner, whose headstone is to be dedicated later today. With him died Mrs Julie Annette Green, aged 61, whose family is here, and Alfred Langley, a 49 -year-police special constable from Folkestone. Two service personnel also died in that blast, and 20 were injured. Dover suffered badly in World War II with nearly 1,000 properties destroyed and another 3,000 badly damaged. No wonder Dover was known as Hellfire Corner.

But we must not forget those Dover civilians who died from enemy action in World War I. The first bomb ever to be dropped on the UK fell on Dover. During that war a further 370 bombs fell on Dover, with 85 shells fired by German war ships hitting the town. As a result 26 Dover civilians were killed in that conflict, and a further 75 injured. The youngest to die was Francis Hall, aged 7, killed in March 1916 on his way to Sunday school.

Today we thank God that those who live in Dover can live in peace.

photo: Simon Chambers

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Copyright 2008 Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved