About the Project
THE FALLEN ARE NOT FORGOTTEN" by Marilyn Stephenson-Knight
“It took some sticking, I can tell you.” So
said a survivor of a vessel torpedoed in the storm-tossed North
Sea of autumn 1914. Most people in the two world wars would
have said the same, from the Tommy struggling through the sea of
mud in World War I Ypres to the housewife on short rations
rushing her children to dank underground shelters in World War
It is to commemorate the bravery of
everyone who lived through those times that the Dover War
Memorial Project was created. By recording the histories of
those Dovorians who lost their lives, the Project ensures that
who they were and what they underwent is never forgotten.
There are many stories. The project began,
fittingly, last Remembrance Sunday during the two minutes’
silence, when I was thinking of two of them. Edward and Coulson
Crascall are my great uncles. Both were lost in the Great War.
Eddie died in France. In April 1917 his
battalion of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) attempted
to relieve the town of Croisilles. The winter had been bitter,
and the shivering troops huddled together, trying to warm
themselves with cocoa. They had hoped for the cover of night,
but the moon was clear and bright. As they marched to their
attack positions by a sunken road they were bombarded with
shells and bullets whistled down the valley.
The battalion attacked at 5.15 am, on 2nd
April. It went ill. Their initial barrage fell short, and enemy
machine gunners were waiting for them as they went over the top.
Two companies were forced to combine when their officers were
killed, while a third company was unable to advance at all as
gun fire raked across them. The battalion struggled for
eighteen hours before relief by the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Eddie
had been relieved some time before – killed in action.
Eddie was one of seven brothers who served
in the Great War. His older brother Coulson, known as Harry, was
also lost. He was aboard the Cressy, one of the three armoured
cruisers so vulnerable to attack through old age and
undergunning they were known as the “Live Bait Squadron”. In
September 1914, just seven weeks after the Great War began, the
cruisers were torpedoed. The icy seas “took some sticking.”
Harry was one of 1,459 men who died that morning.
We are the tomorrows that Harry and Eddie
and many more Dovorians never had. The Dover War Memorial
Project ensures we will always remember. A first exhibition has
already been held, profiling some of our casualties and
displaying many artefacts from the World Wars. A website is
under construction. So great is the interest that the Project
has had contacts from around the globe, as well as across the
country. Meanwhile, a staggering new discovery from original
research has led to close collaboration with Ypres, the centre
for Great War studies.
Soon it will again be Remembrance Sunday.
Thanks to overwhelming support we now have some information on
most of our casualties. Dover can say with pride, “We did not
forget”. During the two minutes’ silence at the Town War
Memorial this year I shall be thinking not just of two but of
many we lost, and of the families they left behind. A
commemorative booklet, to be distributed with the November 2nd
issue of the Mercury, will remember some of them. But there are
many more yet to find and research will continue. For the Dover
War Memorial Project every day is Remembrance Day.
This article first appeared in the Dover Mercury for 28th September 2006
Euston Road cemetery, France, where Eddie Crascall lies buried