war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper




About the Project

"BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER" by Marilyn Stephenson-Knight

One question I was asked about the Dover War Memorial Project was whether there was any point raking over the past. The dead are dead, and we can’t do anything about it – so why not just move on? 

There’s a short answer to that, is affirmed every Remembrance Sunday. When we gather by the Memorials we’re honouring those we lost. We’re acknowledging the great debt we owe to them and to those who returned. We’re remembering too the families left to grieve. We can’t undo what’s done - but we can ensure that who they were and what they did for all of us is never forgotten. 

Crabble Corn Mill, by Simon Chambers But that addresses only part of what the Project is about. Aiming to produce educational resources for our newer generations, the War Memorial Project has sights set firmly in the future. But it’s also working here and now for the people of Dover, bringing people together.   

A great success was the recent Project exhibition in conjunction with the Dover Operatic and Dramatic Society. Many relatives of our casualties and veterans were able to meet on opening night, along with teachers, charity workers, reporters, councillors, business people, and of course the singers.  “What a good evening,” said one relative to me. “I came thinking I’d know no one and I’ve been talking to different people all people at barbecueevening!” The exhibition continued to attract visitors throughout the next fortnight, including students who filmed it and primary school children who delighted in an unexpected chance to try on the Mayor’s chain! 

People are brought together in other ways too. Local organisations ask for talks or articles about the War Memorial Project. Research means meeting many people, who in their turn introduce others who may help. Relatives of casualties contact other members of their families (even as far away as Australia!) to find out more. At the same time we’re working together with other Dover assets. Gala Bingo borrowed the exhibition panels for their D-Day event recently. We’re interacting with Crabble Corn Mill on research, and they’ve hosted a joint Project and Mill fund-raising barbecue  - Clor and bear at barbecueparticularly appropriate and poignant because one of the then miller’s sons was killed in World War I.  We’re strengthening cross-channel relationships in Belgium and France, and have even attracted queries from Canada and the USA. Back in Dover there was a happy personal bonus when, after having read some of the research and realising we were related, a new cousin unexpectedly ‘phoned me up to say hello!  

The Dover War Memorial Project is already much appreciated. “I want to thank you,” said one relative. “We’re so glad someone still cares,” said another. That’s the point. Those who fought and died matter, and they must not be forgotten. But in remembering and honouring them the Project is bringing together Dover past, present, and future. As one correspondent said, “It’s a wonderful boost for Dover – no other town can best us on this one.”

This article first appeared in Dover Life for August/September 2006

Crabble Corn Mill, River, Dover
French singer Clo Therouin, with raffle prize at a barbecue

Copyright 2006 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved