THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

Latest News 2007

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        2007

Seasonal Greetings
13th December 2007.  May we at the Dover War Memorial Project Tommy boot with flowers, Great War card, Best Christmas Wishes wish you all the very best for Christmas andsnow huts and garland of flowers, Bonne Annee, card from Great War for the New Year. We hope your Christmas is warm and cosy, and filled with peace and goodwill; just as, even on the icy Western Front in 1914, there was the famous truce between opposing soldiers, who sang carols and played football.

For more about this, and war-time Christmas in Dover, see our new article here. May the New Year bring all you desire! 


pictures:  Christmas and New Year silk postcards sent from the Western Front during the Great War

PS Illness continues to be a problem here. Never mind - summer's on its way!


red cross from Austin K2 ambulance, detail, by Simon ChambersWe're sorry!
27th November 2007. We've been hit by illness. (Thanks, British-winter germs! L) So it may take a little longer to respond to e-mails or letters. We love hearing from you, and are delighted that those who lost their lives for us continue to be remembered so well. Please bear with us - and be assured that we'll store all communications, and, once the sickbeds are tucked away, we'll be answering them all, just as normal

picture: red cross from Austin K2 ambulance (World War II)


Nice!

22nd November 2007. We receive so many kind letters and e-mails from around the world, praising and thanking the Dover War Memorial Project. Just some of them can be seen here. But here's one of the latest, after the Service of letter from Charlie ElphickeRemembrance, from Charlie Elphicke, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Dover and Deal. 

It reads, "The commitment and dedication of so many people in making the Dover War Memorial Project a reality has been extremely impressive.

Too often the role of Dover on the frontline has been overlooked, with the fact it was being shelled from Calais seemingly forgotten. So too has the cost to Dover in lives lost and buildings destroyed been overlooked. The War Memorial Project has played a serious and substantial role in ensuring that Dover and the country as a whole remember the sacrifice that the town made in our country's darkest hour.

If there is anything I can to to assist or support the Project, do please let me know and I would be honoured to do all I can. Best wishes, Charlie Elphicke"

Well, thank you very much, Charlie. Everyone who works on the Project is a volunteer, and we truly appreciate that! Dover has always been to the fore in the story of our nation - and it is our privilege and an honour to ensure that  those who died, and the valour of our little front-line town, will never be forgotten.

Here are more of the kind things said to us. The first is from someone in Canada.

"You deserve recognition for your joint efforts on The Dover War Memorial Project. It is one thing to have a great idea, another to pursue it for a while, and totally something different to produce a site with the depth of research, quality, and time that underpins yours."

The second, from a Dovorian.

"Maggie, what you do is so very important, and I applaud all you do. It must be so comforting for those left behind when they see your work - well done you. It will never surprise me to see you receive an award from the Queen." 

Thank you, all of you J


Remembrance

13th November 2007. Thank you to everyone! We're delighted to say that the Service was a resounding success, and we were privileged to be with so many lovely people, both then and at the other Remembrance events in Dover and in Belgium. Dover was a beautiful place, during Remembrance week.

There is much still to do and to write up - it will all appear in full here on the website, along with other events in which we've been involved. In the meantime, we continue to add more about our casualties. Thank you so much to all of you who have been helping so much, and who continue to send in photos and information. 

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.".  


Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving

31st October 2007. Thank you to the many wonderful people who have been helping with the arrangements for the service. We really appreciate your kindness. The service is to remember those Dovorian civilians who suffered in the Fallen Angel, at Desborough, by Simon Chamberstwo world wars of the 20th century, and to give thanks for those brave people who captured the guns at Calais and so ended the ordeal of Dover by shelling. Some of those who lost loved ones will be telling their stories at the service.

Here are the details:

date - Tuesday, 6th November 2007
time - 10.30 am
place - St Mary the Virgin, Cannon Street, Dover

Councillor Bob Markham, The Right Worshipful The Town Mayor of Dover has also kindly agreed to speak at the service, as have Colonel Kevin Cotten, from the Canadian High Commission, and Terry Sutton, OBE. Albert Bennet, Burma Star veteran, and now a sprightly 93 years of age, will read his beautiful poem on Remembrance (on which he has been complimented by H. M. The Queen. We might not be quite in the same league, but we fell in love with it too, the first time we heard it!). There'll be well-loved traditional hymns, and a number of standard bearers for Regimental Associations will be parading too. Do come and join us - everyone is very welcome.

time - 12.15
place - St Mary's cemetery

After the service, a headstone on the previously unmarked grave of Freddie Spinner, 9 year old casualty, will be unveiled by John Cork, Freddie's boyhood friend, Ted Kelly, schoolchum, and Jan Vickery, Freddie's closest living relative. Standard bearers will be present - and again, everyone is welcome. Do please join us to help  celebrate and commemorate a 60 year old friendship, which has lasted beyond the grave. 


A lot!

14th October 2007. There has been such a lot of things happening with the Dover War Memorial Project that we are spinning - and will probably continue to do so until after the service on 6th November (see below). Fear not - it will all be online eventually, and we will continue, as always, updating and research to remember with honour those we lost, and their families.  

In the meantime, arrangements for the service proceed well. A representative from the Canadian High Commission will be kindly attending, as will our Mayor. A Burma veteran (now 93 years old, bless him!) will be one of our speakers, attending with the Treasurer General of the World Veterans' Federation. There's been a superb response, and we're still hearing from more people, including those related to our civilians who died. Thank you to you all ... and, as they say, watch this space!.


Dover RemembersFallen Angel, at Desborough, by Simon Chambers - a Service at St Mary's

20th September 2007. On 6th November at 10.30am there will be a Remembrance Service at St Mary the Virgin, Cannon Street, Dover, for  civilians who fell in  Dover during the two world wars, and a Thanksgiving for those brave people who captured the guns in the Pas de Calais and delivered the town from the bombardment. Standard Bearers will be attending, and a number of speakers, including those who lived through the events of September 1944.

Everyone is welcome - do please come along. You can discuss this on the DWMP Forum, or, as always, do  contact us directly.

picture: Fallen Angel (found at Desborough cemetery, the last resting place of  Squadron Leader James Kirton)


The George Cross for Dover

George Cross17 September 2007 It's long been talked about. In 1944, when the shelling of Dover finally ended, the ARP controller at Walthamstow wrote, "If any body of persons in Britain deserves the George Cross, it is Dover". Known as Hellfire Corner, Dover suffered bombing and shelling. In a period of just over four years, the borough was struck by over 4,000 explosives, including, on three occasions, the devastating parachute mines. Meanwhile, citizens in the streets had to dive for cover as enemy planes strafed them. As a decoy for the D-Day invasion, with its dummy canvas covered barges and its fictional radio messages, Dover became a prime target for enemy bombardment.

Over 200 civilians died and over 700 were injured. Over 90% of properties were damaged. But our white cliffs, standing proud above the Channel, became a symbol of defiance, and of hope. Within easy sight of occupied France was freedom.  The George Cross will commemorate the bravery of those unsung heroes and heroines of Dover who held hard to that freedom, and gave hope to the world.

Find out more about the George Cross for Dover campaign  


Graves and Transcriptions - and Tigers-by-the-Tail!

1st September 2007. Once again, thank you to the many lovely people who work so hard to see that our Dovorian casualties are remembered with love and respect. Thanks to much hard work by several people, the transcriptions for  the  Dover  Patrol  Book and  the  Battery  Book are now  completed,  and  can be found in this section and in
this section respectively. We'll be organising a CD of both the words and the images of all the pages to give to the Dover Museum, where both books are stored, along with the pictures of the pages in the WWII Book of Remembrance.

tree growing in grave - thank you for the picture and the work!Meanwhile, the adoption of a grave of two WWII casualties is now complete, and the CWGC inspector very kindly confirmed that the lettering on the stonework is to be replaced by the CWGC. Thank you to the two super people who have taken on this adoption (and who have been most supportive in other ways besides!) Still on graves, another volunteer mentioned that a tree was growing in the centre of one grave, wherein rest the parents of another WWII casualty, and on the headstone of which he is commemorated. Relatives of the casualty visit the grave, and were delighted when our lovely volunteers offered to remove the tree safely, in order to ensure the stonework around the grave was not damaged. 

As for what one of our volunteers smilingly calls "Mission Control", Maggie and Simon are pleased to report that all on the Dover War Memorial Project is progressing very well. The last 21 months, since Maggie began the Project, have certainly sometimes felt rather like trying to tame a wild tiger! But if St George can defeat a dragon, then we can coax a cat. The Virtual Memorial here already contains much information about our casualties, and we'll continue to add to it frequently from the many records we hold. We have many events in planning, including the Remembrance Service below, and much more is bubbling. The Project continues to receive much praise. This is what one person, who e-mailed recently, had to say, "I was absolutely fascinated to read through your website on the Dover War Memorial,. It is a brilliant Project and beautifully put together. If only every town would do the same!"

So - thank you to all the wonderful people who help. The Dover War Memorial Project exists to remember, with love, respect, and honour, those Dovorians who lost their lives for us, and the families they left behind. Together, we will ensure they will never be forgotten.


Dover RemembersFallen Angel, at Desborough, by Simon Chambers

22nd August 2007. On 6th November at 10.30am there will be a Remembrance Service at St Mary the Virgin, Cannon Street, Dover, for  civilians who fell in  Dover during the two world wars, and a Thanksgiving for those brave people who captured the guns in the Pas de Calais and delivered the town from the bombardment. Please note the date and time in your diary. More details will follow, and everyone is very welcome!

picture: Fallen Angel (found at Desborough cemetery, the last resting place of  Squadron Leader James Kirton)


Admiral Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, who kindly visited the Dover War Memorial Project standDover Regatta

11th and 12th August 2007. "Didn't we have a luverly time the day we went to Dover!" Okay, so that's a slight paraphrase of the song - but very true, nonetheless. We took our mobile exhibition and a few more things besides, and, with the kind courtesy of Dover Town Council, shared a tent with Fairtrade. But who did we meet and what was it like?  Here are just a few of the pictures of Dover's Wonderful Regatta!

Tourist Information

Visit Dover! It's not just a port - but a great place to stay and explore our beautiful and varied corner of Kent. The Dover War Memorial Project is pleased to host a guide by Roger Walkden to some of the super places to visit ... so click away and discover White Cliffs Country. (.pdf format, so requires Acrobat Reader)

Kent Fallen

8th July 2007. We're delighted to announce that we are working in partnership with the authors and researchers of this superb website, recently come online.

Unaware of the others' work, all of us have nevertheless with pleasure discovered that our differing perspectives are complementary. This means that from both military and family perspectives there is much more information online about our Dovorian casualties. 

With our firm belief that those who gave their lives should be remembered forever, with honour, respect, and love, we are thankful for those who undertake this work in the right heart and spirit.

The Dover War Memorial Project welcomes Kent Fallen


The 1940s Weekend, Dover

20 June 2007. What a terrific weekend. Organised by the Hellfire Corner Association, the 1940s weekend is now in its third year - and getting bigger and better every time. Attended by re-enactors, traders, living history displays, period vehicles, and entertainers, it was a weekend not to miss. Even the sun shone! The full report is here

The Mobile Exhibition

We've made a small exhibition for the various events this year to which we've been invited. It consists of four panels, and may be seen here


The Shoreham Aircraft Museum

12 June 2007. The museum was founded in 1978 by people with a passion for the Battle of Britain. It houses many relics and artefacts, excavated and donated, relating to the period and as a tribute to all airmen fighting over southern England in World War II.  This year they began a project of erecting memorials to Battle of Britain pilots who died near the museum. We attended the second dedication of such a memorial, to Nathaniel Barry, from South Africa, which took place on 26th May 2007. The report is here


The Battery Book and the Dover Patrol Book of Remembrance

5 June 2007. These are held at Dover Town Museum. We often receive requests for information from or about these books, and the Museum kindly gave us permission to photography them in entirety. Volunteers are currently transcribing the pages. The transcription work to date may be viewed here for the Battery Book and here for the Dover Patrol Book, and there are also online selected images of the Books from an earlier photo session for illustrative purposes.  When the work is completed, copies of the transcriptions, with some additional information about individual men, and the images will be also deposited at the Museum for reference.  


The West Indian Ex-Servicemen's/Women's Association (UK)

22 May 2007. At Seaford in Essex there are nearly 30 Great War graves. They contain the remains of troops from Canada, Ireland, Britain, and the West Indies. In conjunction with the Royal British Legion in Seaford and the Canadian Veterans' Association, the West Indian Ex-Service Association unveiled plaques at their Headquarters in Clapham Manor Road, London, to commemorate these graves.   We were invited to attend. It was a solemn yet joyful occasion. The report is here   


The Prince of Wales Sea Training School

20th May 2007. The Prince of Wales Sea Training School was in Dover for over two decades; before then it was at Ingham, Norfolk. 85 of the boys who trained at the School became casualties in World War II. This year, the Memorial plaque was transferred to Ingham, where it is now displayed at Holy Trinity church. The pictures and story of this moving occasion may be seen here.


The Finest Hour

10th May 2007. This was the launch of the pub, "The Finest Hour". It's intended a war-themed pub, filled with memorabilia, and Sarah Webb, the landlady, has very kindly said that we may use it as the home of the Dover War Memorial Project. Pictures of the launch are here; many events are planned.


Vimy Ridge

20th April 2007: Easter this year was the 90th anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge, when the enemy were driven back by largely Canadian troops. There was one division of British troops, and many of those fighting in the Canadian forces were newly emigrated from Britain to Canada. Amongst them, losing their lives, were Robert Igglesden and Henry Press, who came from Dover.

Four of us went out to Vimy that weekend, the commemorate the event and the rededication of the Vimy Memorial by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. The pictures of the event may be seen here.

Walter Tull

There has been in the last week much media interest in the significance of Walter Tull's name being on two world war memorials in Dover (see article from the Dover Express, last year). Maggie S-K has given interviews for the national press and radio, as well as specialist organs, while Maggie's brother, Mike Webb, appeared on BBC South East for the Dover War Memorial Project.

The reports have generated much further interest in the history of 2nd Lieutenant Tull, who came from a dual-heritage family, and is justly renowned for his successes as a professional footballer and an army officer. There are a number of suggestions for further commemoration of his achievements and career.   


Website Work

5th April 2007: We have completed the basic work on the website, and have incorporated some of the information so far received and researched. Now arises the poignant but satisfying task of incorporating all the information that so many people have kindly sent and supplied, plus the results of all the research we have so far done. 

There are over 60 CDs at 700MB each to work through, along with another series of files that amount to around 1,000 MB. So the task will certainly take a few months to complete. As always, then, if there's anything you would like to ask, please do, and if you have any information about casualties or memories of war-time Dover, do please let us know. It is a great privilege to remember those who gave all they could, for us.

We'll also be doing some admin work on the information, to reconcile the various sources - and of course ...  research also continues, as there is much yet to accomplish.  So if you spot us whizzing past in the streets with distracted looks do please stop us and say hello. We are delighted to have met so many lovely people, and to have so many  friends and well-wishers - and thoroughly enjoy a good chat! J


How to Help

17th March 2007: The Dover War Memorial Project is run entirely by volunteers. Sadly we can't make the essential costs, like postage, 'phone bills, stationery, voluntary too!  So I've set up some ways by which donations to the Project may be made, if wished. These include the affiliate programmes, whereby big-name retailers will pay a small commission to the Project from their profits (not from increased prices!) if customers click through from the Dover War Memorial Project site. For interest, I'll also put online the costs of running the Project each month. Do visit the How to Help  page to learn more - and find out about volunteering and other ways to help too. 

(I've also put online the kind things people have said - some of them can be found here)

 
World War II

16th March 2007: There is some information already online for WWII casualties, but we have more. The pages for these people will be updated over the next few weeks, to bring them in line with WWI entries. After this we'll begin incorporating all the extra information we have on all casualties and all memorials.  In the meantime, as always, if you have any queries, or would like to add anything, including pictures, to our virtual memorial website, please do contact us  


Mr Belsey's List

13th February 2007: When I started the Dover War Memorial Project began over a year ago, Tony Belsey gave me many sheets of information about Dover War Memorials and about the Buffs. They have been invaluable - and at last part of his inspirational list about the Memorials is online here. War Memorials aren't just stone and bronze, brass and wood. Who would have guessed that one Great War memorial in Dover was ... electric light!


The Mark Frost Pages

9 February 2007: Mark Frost, from the Dover Museum, has very kindly sent a lot of information. His work contains many details extra to the information currently being compiled in the main WWI casualty pages of this site, including 1901 census notes, 1912 Pike's Blue Book addresses, more "Soldiers Died" details, and some additional knowledge that solves a mystery or two! 

Eventually all the information can be incorporated with the main entries, so that as much as possible is in the same place. But to ensure that the information is available as quickly as possible, and that Mark's work is fully credited, I've created a special set of pages The entries are in alphabetical order, and there's also a search facility on this website, so hopefully the extra details should be easy to find.

To Mark himself - very grateful thanks indeed, for your painstaking work and for so very kindly sending it to us.  Thank you for helping us all to remember those who gave everything for us.


Click here for Updated Pages

14 January 2007: Now available is a list of the pages updated on this website, along with the dates they have been updated. The list is accurate to the last spider run. This occurs normally every other day, in the late evening.
 


Dear All,

The launch of the "We Remember" booklet for Remembrance 2006 marks the end of the first year of the Dover War Memorial Project. What a superb year it's been. We've met so very many lovely people, and heard so many wreath 2006, by Simon Chambersamazing stories of courage. At the same time there have been many public initiatives, including fund-raising barbecues, exhibitions, articles in the media, and, of course, the booklet itself. 

But above all, we have been privileged to learn about so many of those who lost their lives for us, and to honour them by ensuring that they will never be forgotten. This year's Remembrance Sunday at our Town War Memorial was the busiest for many years. It was a very emotional time; the square was as full as my eyes.

Remembrance is forever. There are very many more initiatives to come, in memory of all those we so sadly lost. It's on this page where future events will first be announced, so, as the media catchphrase goes, "watch this space".

Over this winter all the findings of the Project will be written up to appear on this website. It will take time, as there's much to do. But the benefit is that every day the site will be updated! This is where you can help again too - because there will be gaps waiting for further information or pictures.  If you can fill in those  gaps,  please do let  us  know.   Please  continue  too  to let  us  know  your  stories  and  memories  of war-time Dover. What happened in your family?

Welcome and thanks to our "Dover Remembers" volunteers, caring in corners of foreign fields; and, as always, thank you so very much to everyone who has helped. I will stay in touch, and of course I will, as usual, pass on anything new we find. In the meantime, if you have any further information, or anyone you  would like remembered, please do let us know. If you have a website, please help as many as possible remember those we loved and lost by linking to us  www.doverwarmemorialproject.org.uk (we will reciprocate).

The aim of the Dover War Memorial Project is, in due course, that we construct a more permanent memorial in honour of those who stood firm, and who gave their lives. And that our children and theirs will know of their forebears, who they were, and what they did. For we must never forget.

With best wishes, S-K logo, a registered trademark, a knight in armour riding Stephenson's Rocket

Maggie
(Marilyn Stephenson-Knight)

December 2006

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