THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper
 

 

Articles

About the Project

"ABOUT MYSELF" by Marilyn Stephenson-Knight

Maggie S-K, by Simon ChambersMarilyn and Mum at Dover Castle, collection of Maggie S-KMy favourite subject at school was French. That's proving very useful while I'm researching for the Dover War Memorial Project. But as founder and leader of the Project I perhaps shouldn't admit that the subject I liked least was history!  Fate has a strange way of thumbing its nose though - because throughout my adult life I've worked constantly with the past. But I've never taken the main road - it's the byways and lanes of our cultural history that fascinate me, and I've researched areas from the modern remnants of industrial traditions right back to social interpretations of archaeological remains.

Whether it's being female that makes me see different perspectives, or whether it's because I'm just plain contrary, I've always bucked against authorised versions too, aiming constantly to give expression to the muted voice. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why I don't believe the Romans did much for us!

Currently in exile in Milton Keynes, I'm a Dovorian born and bred, and my ancestors are traceable in the town back to the 1600s. But I haven't always looked backwards. Occasionally I extended the family tree in the other direction too, and so I have three daughters. They survived my maternal ministrations and have grown up to be fulfilled individuals, of whom I'm disgracefully proud. .

This article first appeared in the
Dover Grammar School for Girls Newsletter for October 2006

Kirkweazle, jumping into the moat, where Catweazle was rejected by the water and flew back out again, picture Simon Chambers

Member of The Kent Family History Society, 8336
Member of The Dover Society, 995
Member of The Western Heights Preservation Society, 522
Friend of The Few - Shoreham Aircraft Museum, 371
and
Member of The Catweazle Fan Club, 515 (Salmay, Dalmay, Adonay!)

pictures: above right, Marilyn and Mum at Dover Castle
left, Maggie, by daughter Helena

right: Kirkweazle, at the Catweazle Weekend 2007, Brickendonbury
 


Further notes: I began the Dover War Memorial Project on Remembrance Sunday, 11th November 2005. Standing in the still November air, during the silence, I thought about my two great great uncles named on the memorial. I knew who they were, what had happened to them, and what they had left behind. But what of all the others? It was then that I understood that, with the passing of the years, those who had been loved, lost, and deeply mourned, would become no more than a list of names on a stone or in a book. I determined that this should not happen, and that in honour, in loving memory and respect, I would create memorials for them so that they could be remembered as the people they once were.

It has been a long, long trail, and there are many leagues yet to go. From the first discovery of the minutest details to the staggering experience of standing for the first time at a war cemetery, where a foreign field grows a crop of white gravestones into the very horizon; from seeing, hunched in a quiet archive remote from the world, the first pictures of our casualties, staring back at me from dulling paper, to learning how Dover reverberated with the distress of those, sometimes tens at a time, who were suddenly bereaved; from reading letters from the Front, brave letters speaking little of the troubles but sending love to all at home, to seeing the sad black-edged mourning cards for those who no longer could send their love, yet were loved still, I have sat quietly with tears, stood astounded at bravery and devotion, and wondered always what it all meant, and why, and how.

Maggie's parents and brother, at the Romney railway, from collection of M S-KThese are questions still I cannot answer. Perhaps it doesn't matter. But what I can answer is why I, and all the lovely people who help on our Dover War Memorial Project, do what we do. It is through remembrance, gratitude, and a determination that the promise made on our behalf, by generations before, will be kept. We shall not forget. It is my hope that those people we lost, those who no longer have a voice, may yet speak to us all, through this Virtual Memorial and through all the events we hold in their honour and remembrance, and will remind us of who they were, and what we will forever owe, when they became no more.

illustration: Post-War: What We Will Forever Owe. A new life, a new generation, a family together enjoying a peaceful day trip to the miniature Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. Here are Alfie Webb, formerly Atlantic convoys, and his wife Vera, formerly munitions worker, with their son Michael, born ten months after VE Day.
The railway saw war service too, carrying troops to and from their billets, and suffering severe war wounds during the construction of Pluto, the fuel pipeline under the ocean. There was even a miniature armoured train, ready to help repel any invasion, drawn by Hercules, the locomotive that in 1927 pulled the first train ever to run on the line at its opening in 1927. From its early days the railway was involved in war work; in 1929 was constructed a dedicated line to aircraft-detection mirrors, carrying staff daily, and terminating at War Department Halt.
The engine in the picture is "Christopher Syn". It's named after the fictional Reverend Doctor Syn, also known as the Scarecrow, leader of smugglers on the 18th century Marsh. 
  


Maggie S-K's Casualties

Elizabeth Crascall, from Marilyn Stephenson-Knight's collection

Maggie knows of two great great uncles lost in the Great War and named on the Dover Town Memorial; Coulson Crascall (known as Harry) and Edward Crascall, his brother (Eddie). They were the brothers of Maggie's great-grandmother, Mrs Elizabeth Easton (left). Mrs Easton's aunt's husband, George James Wellard, is also commemorated on the Town War Memorial.

William Gatehouse, also commemorated on the Town Memorial, is a first cousin twice removed. Another first cousin twice removed lost her husband, William Willis Collier, who is commemorated in the WWII Book of Remembrance.

A great uncle lost was Alfred Horace Webb, and after him Maggie's father, Alfred Harold Webb, was named.  Alfred Horace Webb is remembered here

The family connections were discovered during research for the Dover War Memorial Project; Maggie suspects that further casualties from Dover and elsewhere will also prove to be relations. The family roll of honour is below; it includes seven cousins of Maggie's paternal grandmother, some of whom are commemorated on the War Memorial at Dartford (right).

Maggie is putting online her family tree (when work on the Dover War Memorial Project permits!).
 


The Stephenson-Knight Family Roll of Honour

* = either on the Town Memorial or in the Book of Remembrance

GREAT WAR

Relatives
Alfred Thomas Allen 26 August 1914 La Ferte-sous-Juarre Memorial   France
*Coulson Henry Crascall 22 September 1914 Chatham Naval Memorial Panel 2 UK
Harry Phillips 15 October 1914 Chatham Naval Memorial Panel 7 UK
Alfred Phillips 31 January 1916 Vermelles British Cemetery, Pas de Calais II A 7 France
Alfred Horace Webb 26 March 1917 Jerusalem Memorial Panels 33-39 Israel and Palestine
*Edward Francis Crascall 2 April 1917 Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps IV F 4 France
Edward Saxby 22 September 1918 Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile 1 B 10 France
*William Gatehouse 26 September 1918 St James, Dover O V 9 UK
Albert Edward Chadwick 4 November 1918 Ghissignies British Cemetery A 11 France
         
Relatives by marriage        

*George James Wellard

24 April 1915 Ypres (Menin Gate) Panel 12 and 14 Belgium
*William Alfred Faggetter 20 May 1915 Ypres (Menin Gate) Panel 5 Belgium
*Robert George Mills 2 December 1916 St James   UK
*Edward Arthur Evans 29 April 1917 Arras Memorial Bay 3 France
*Maurice William Potter 8 March 1919 St James   UK
*Walter Albert Mills 20 February 1922 St James, Dover   UK
         

SECOND WORLD WAR

Relatives
Eric Frank Elkanah Hodges 27 December 1941 Runnymede Memorial Panel 45 UK
*Ronald William Cadman 1 October 1942 Berlin War Cemetery 8 B 34 Germany
*Bernard Patrick Elworthy 22 June 1944 Sidon War Cemetery 3 G 12 Lebanese Republic
Victor Jack Ward 3 September 1944 Dumbarton Cemetery Sec G Extn 5 Bank 22 Grave 157 UK
         
Relatives by marriage        
*Sarah Annie Wildey 20 September 1940 Charlton Cemetery, Dover   UK
*David William Thomas Reynolds 16 February 1941 Aylesbury Cemetery South east plot grave 2 UK
*William Willis Collier 28 December 1941 Alamein Memorial Column 15 Egypt
Arthur David Waters 1 April 1943 ashes at Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, commem. Woodman Point   Australia
Sydney Bon Robert Knight 25 September 1944 Groesbeek Memorial Panel 8 Netherlands
         

OTHER

Relatives by marriage
Ronald Stewart Swaffer 20 January 1948 Haifa British Civil Cemetery (Constable, Palestine Police Force) Plot 13 Grave 13 Israel

May They Rest in Peace



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