Civilian Service of
Remembrance and Thanksgiving - 2007

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Julie Balston

JulieMy name is Julie Balston. I am named after my grandmother, Julie Annette Green. She was killed by enemy action on the 13th September 1944. My brothers and sisters were all born after our grandmotherís death and so we never knew her.

Born Julie Annette Banks, she was the fourth daughter of John and Anne Banks of Ripple Mill, Ringwould. Her father worked for the local Miller. She married Charles (Jimmy) Green. They had two children, our mother Ida and her older brother Jack. 

When she died, my grandmother, was returning from a visit to Pershore, to see relatives. Ida, my mother, saw her onto the Dover train at Cannon Street.  It was the last time Ida ever saw her mother. Dover was being shelled as the train arrived. My grandmother had just stepped off the train at Dover Priory when a shell exploded outside the station. 

We were all brought up knowing about our grandmother and remembering her. Occasionally our mother would speak about her motherís death, wondering whether she had died instantly or alone.  

In the 1970s, my brother Michael was helping run a local Church Youth Group in Dover. He volunteered to do some wall papering for an elderly gentleman at Tower Hamlets. 

During the war, this man had been working for the Railway and had been at Dover Priory when the shell exploded. The Booking Hall got the full blast. He ran into the Hall, and found a woman lying on the ground. She was still alive, and did not have a mark on her. He lifted her head, and she died, cradled in his arms. He guessed that Julie Green had been killed by the blast of the explosion.

My brother told the elderly man that he was the grandson of Julie Green. More than 35 years after her death, by doing a good turn to another, Michael learnt how our grandmother had died. More importantly, he could tell our mother, Ida, that her mother had died in the arms of this man.

Later, our mother told us that she had often prayed that one day she would know how her mother had died, and that she had not died alone.

photo: Simon Chambers
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