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
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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