war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

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Christmas 2008
grave, by Joyce Banksgrave, by Joyce Banks
Every day is Remembrance Day at the Dover War Memorial Project.

As our families gather to celebrate Christmas, never forgotten are those whose families were broken apart by the two world wars - nor those .who knew far fewer Christmases than they should; who never had the joy of growing up and passing Christmas with families of their own.

Two of them are here, buried at St Mary's. Little Freddie Spinner, 9 years old, was killed at the Priory Station by one of the last shells of World War II,. Gertrude Boorman, "Girlie", 13, lost her life in 1918 when a destroyer outside the harbour shelled her home at Cowgate Hill.

These beautiful flowers were laid by Joyce Banks,. who works so hard all year round in memory of our lost Dovorians. Joyce added a card reading, "You are always in our thoughts and you will never be forgotten". This, remembering casualties in this way, is her Christmas gift for us.  What a kindly thought, and a wonderful thing to have done.   Thank you so much, Joyce.

We wish you all a peaceful joyful Christmas, and many blessings for the coming New Year.


Christmas Post Script

28th December 2008. Post Script: Living away from Dover, as we do, it isn't easy always to join in the parties and celebrations. This year - as probably one of the best kept secrets ever - Dover came to us! We opened the door to find on the doorstep, rather like Bilbo Baggins, an Unexpected Party. 

party at home, by Susannah Stephenson-Knight

What fun!  Braving the Wilderlands of the motorways and the Deep Caverns of the Dartford tunnel, they came, laden with Christmas cheer.  Here with Maggie and Simon are, left to right, Stewart, Georgette, Alan, and Brian.

Thank you, you lovely people, for bringing to us a bit of Dover, and making our Christmas.

90th Anniversary of the Armistice
Not Forgotten cover
10th and 11th November 2008. All year we've been working in partnership on the commemorations of Walter Tull.

A further lottery-funded project by the City of Westminster Archives, running parallel, was "Not Forgotten". Based on the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey, it has created further educational resources for young people. Amongst those featured in "Not Forgotten" classroom activities are our casualties George and Stephen Palmer, cousins of Walter Tull, and John Hansen.

We spent the 90th anniversary of the Armistice at Westminster, in the company of our delightful new generations. Crossing the White Line and Not Forgotten tell the story.

Walter Tull - BBC
30th October 2008. Over the past few months we've been chatting with those nice people from the BBC, about Walter Tull and about the war-time history of our home town, Dover and the surrounding area. There will be several broadcasts over the Remembrance period.

9th November
BBC Four(?)
repeated 13th November
10.00pm (after documentary below)
"Walter's War" - drama based on an imaginary period in Walter Tull's life
13th November
9.00 pm
BBC Four:
 documentary - "Walter Tull, Forgotten Hero".
local news features - South East a series on the Great War in our area

For Dovorians
30th September 2008. We receive very many lovely comments from people the world over, as they visit this website: Dover's Virtual Memorial. Here is one, from a writer in the USA, for all of us who love our Frontline town and its proud history and heritage:

"Please tell as many Dover residents that you know that they are heirs of some
wonderful and courageous people, who showed their future generations how to look
at danger and carry on with determination and sacrifice to make our world

Thank you.

In recognition of the unprecedented bravery of  Dovorians during the Second World War, there is a currently a campaign for Dover to be awarded the George Cross.

From the "Crossing the White Line" teaching resource book, reproduced with permission Walter Tull
25th September 2008. As part of the commemorations organised for Walter Tull this year, the 120th anniversary of his birth and the 90th of his death, a new website has been released. Here's the address:

Crossing the White Line

With information about events already held, and those still to come (including those in our own Frontline Town of Dover), news about BBC and feature film productions, super teaching resources, and a chance to have your own say about whether our local hero should be posthumously awarded the Military Cross, it's certainly worth a visit!

The commemorative initiative was led by The City of Westminster Archives in partnership with a number of other organisations (see the links page on the "Crossing the White Line" website for more details), and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Illustration: the front cover of "The Walter Tull Story", one of the educational resources for years five and six, downloadable pdfs from "Crossing the White Line" website (image reproduced with permission). 

The Merchant Navy Memorial.
3rd September 2008. Donald Hunter, Chairman of the Kent Branch of the Merchant Navy Association, was the founder of the Dover and District Merchant Navy Memorial Fund.

A retired Merchant Seaman, who served in World War II, and who worked on *** higly explosive, and also ran the gauntlet of the Straits of Dover, under gunfire from the occupied Calais coast, he spent three years raising funds for a Memorial for Merchant Seamen, perished in the war.

On Merchant Navy Day, 2008, the memorial, on Dover Sea Front, was unveiled

In Memoriam
1st September 2008

Doris, by courtesy Leslie Ray

In Memory of

Doris Irene Ray
née Derbyshire

17th June 1927 to 31st August 2008

A dear lady, greatly loved, and forever missed

Rest In Peace

illustration of cross-stitch kit from The Fabric Fairy
19th July 2008. This year is the 90th anniversary of the Armistice - the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when it was agreed that hostilities on the Western Front should end. A new cross-stitch kit has been created in memory of the Fallen, complete with the Kohima Prayer,

"When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow we gave our today".

Our good friend and DWMP volunteer, The Fabric Fairy, is selling this on e-bay.  For every kit sold, he will kindly donate £2 to The Dover War Memorial Project, helping us continue the work of Remembrance in honour of our Fallen.

10 June 2008. Regular visitors will have noticed we've been a little quiet on the website recently. That's becauseLuke and Emily, taken at Talbot House, December 2007 we've been re-organising our (many!) office files, prior to beginning the next Phase of the Project (and, dare we confess, also because Maggie has been doing battle on the Garden Front!). But the work of Remembrance has continued of course, and there is much more soon to go online. Thank you to everyone who has emailed, written, and 'phoned - and donated too - and, as always, many special thanks to Joyce Banks, who works tirelessly behind the scenes to help ensure that our Fallen are never forgotten. 

On a family note ... on the left, are Emily, Maggie's eldest daughter, and Luke, who last December together laid the Dover War Memorial Project wreath at the Menin Gate. Last week (4th June, Emily's birthday), they announced their engagement. Congratulations and best wishes to them both!

New Forum
17 May 2008. Just arrived - a new forum for all those interested in Kent Memorials and Military matters. Set up by our friends at Kent Fallen, and administered by the Dover War Memorial Project, Faded Genes, and Kent Fallen, this is an opportunity to discuss shared interests, ask questions, display your own knowledge (we'd be grateful!), and generally chat in a group of link-minded folk, who have at heart the memory of those who gave all they could.

The forum is here - looking forward to seeing you!

It's all about ME!
11 May 2008  - until 17th May 2008. It's ME/CFS awareness week, designed to spread knowledge about this disabling and painful condition.  Nobody really yet knows what causes it - though typically it can be  triggered by a viral infection, such as a 'flu-like illness, perhaps combined with another stressful event. Up to 25% of sufferers are so severely affected they are house- or bed-bound. There is no cure yet known.

Two of Maggie's daughters are sufferers. One has been ill for three years, the second has been recently diagnosed. AYME, the Association for Young People with ME, has been a lifeline - other great helps have been the ME Association and Action for ME

ME/CFS is estimated to affect some 240,000 people in the UK. It's a beastly illness, and it's also sneaky, because it doesn't show up on medical tests currently available. So, despite its having been recognised by the World Health Organisation since 2002, it's not always recognised or readily diagnosed. Could there be an undiagnosed  sufferer near you? From AYME, here are some of the "hard facts", including a list of the symptoms.

ME Awareness Week. Be aware, and do look after yourselves.

mill"Crossing the White Line"
24 April 2008. Crabble Corn Mill was the venue for the first of the events to be held in Dover for this year-long national commemoration of the life of Walter Tull.

It was a grand day, with young folk painting panels on a design by London artist Jonathan Boast, depicting Walter Tull's two pioneering careers. See here

And - it pays to increase your word power for those pub quizzes. What was The Miller's Tale?

The Old Pharosians
17th March 2008. The website for the Old Pharosians is currently on a different host. The Old Pharosians are the Old Boys of the Dover Grammar School for Boys (formerly, County School).  A number of our casualties were educated there, and there is a list of pupils who lost their lives in the Second World War and some are in school photos. See The Grammar School for more details.    Update - 21st April - the original host is now functional again.

field of remembrance, Simon Chambers

Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving
12th March 2008. Thank you so much to all of you, who supported, advised, and helped with the Dover War Memorial Project service, last November 6th, in remembrance of our civilian casualties from both wars, and in thanksgiving for those brave people who captured the guns at Calais, and so ended the ordeal of Dover by shelling.

A full report on the service, and on the dedication of the new headstone to one of our civilian casualties, is now online.

An index to the pages is  here (or follow the link from the "Information Index")

Girlie's grave, by Joyce BaniksRemembering Our Great War Civilian Casualties
2nd March 2008. Tucked up in bed in her home on Cowgate Hill, Dover, 13-year-old Gertrude Boorman ("Girlie") was killed by an enemy shell that burst in her bedroom. 

We're all aware of the terrible loss of life in the Second World War in our civilian populations. But not so many know that civilians were killed in the Great War too. Girlie was one - she died in 1918. 

She, and the many others like her, should not be forgotten. There's a new e-petition on the 10 Downing Street website, requesting that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission be enabled to record Great War civilian casualties, in just the same way that they can and do remember those killed in the Second World War. Please think about signing it - it's here

The inscription on Girlie's headstone reads: ""Girlie" - In Loving Memory of our darling Gertrude M. Boorman. Born 25th October 1904, killed 16th February 1918 by German submarine bombardment. Loved by All."

Walter Tull
20th February 2008 Last year we assisted in the research and compilation of information about Walter Tull, first black combat officer in the British Army and first black outfield professional football player, whose mother came from Dover. His sisters and stepparents lived in our town, and it was they who requested his name should be placed on two of our memorials (the Town Memorial and the one at River).

In this year, the 120th anniversary of his birth in 1888, and the 30th of his death and of the Armistice agreement in 1918, there will be a large-scale national project to commemorate his life and his ground-breaking achievements. It's funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and led by the City of Westminster Archives. 

Events will be held across the country; one has already occurred at Walter Tull's old school in Folkestone, two are planned for Dover. Watch this space!

? Questions, questions ....
24th January 2008. We often get requests for information or help from readers. Some are here - can YOU help?

A Happy New Year to You All!
3rd January 2008. As always, there's much to achieve in remembrance. As many of you already know, we've been plagued by illness over the last couple of months  May I therefore offer apologies that we have been rather slower in answering correspondence and e-mails than normal, and also that much information remains to be written up on the site. Please bear with us - we'll catch up as quickly as possible!

Dear All,

We are now at the end of the second year of the Dover War Memorial Project. The Project is run entirely by volunteers, and it's been a very busy time, with many initiatives to wreath 2006, by Simon Chambersremember all those brave people from our town who lost their lives in the two world wars. Some are already written up in the information section - many more are to follow.

At the same time we've met and made many new friends around the world. So many have offered new information in honoured memory, so many we have been able to help learn more of their own family heroes. So many people too we have brought together - new cousins, previously unknown ... and even a half-brother and sister, meeting for the very first time, thanks to the Dover War Memorial Project.

If you can help, with any further information, or you have 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 (we will reciprocate). Other ways of helping can be found here (including shopping online, which costs you nothing, but provides a donation to the Project for each order made). And again, may I please thank the many wonderful volunteers who have given so freely of their time and knowledge to help the Project. You've done so much - what lovely people you are!

It is a joy and a privilege to be able to do this work of Remembrance. We can never repay the debt to those we seek to remember. But I hope that in our continued  remembrance and thankfulness, and in the comradeship and friendship that is founded and growing upon that remembrance, we are creating a beautiful legacy to their sacrificed lives, a legacy of which they would be proud. 

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

(Marilyn Stephenson-Knight)

January 2008

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