THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

Latest News 2010

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Patron: Dame Vera Lynn, DBE, LL.D, M.Mus

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The Unknown Warrior Exhibition
5 December 2010. The exhibition and the stained-glass window, designed by artist Jonathan Boast and created by 3rd (St Martin's) Dover Scout Group and 8th Dover Brownies are now on display in Dover library, in the Market Square. Above left is an image of part of the exhibition as it appeared when displayed at Westminster Abbey over Remembrance.

In the New Year the window and exhibition will be going to the Royal Engineers Museum at Gillingham, and in March to Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum at Woolwich. If your group would like to display the exhibition and window, please let us know. There's no charge for display.

Dame Vera Lynn, DBE, LL.D, M.Mus
Patron of The Dover War Memorial Project
19 November 2010. The Dover War Memorial Project is absolutely thrilled and delighted to announce that Dame Vera Lynn has most graciously and kindly become the patron of the Dover War Memorial Project.

Known as the "Forces' Sweetheart" Dame Vera will be forever an icon of the Second World War. Her uplifting songs of hope, such as "We'll Meet Again" raised the morale of millions and her concerts brought much-needed light and cheer during those dark days.

Seventy years after that  war began, Dame Vera  became the oldest living artist to achieve a top-20 album. Born in 1917, she began her long and successful career at the age of seven. 1924 was the tenth anniversary of the commencement of the Great War, and  the year the Dover Town Memorial was unveiled.

With her legendary song "(There'll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover", Dame Vera will be forever associated with our frontline town, itself a symbol of hope and home.  As we remember those who never again saw those white cliffs - and those who defended them to their utmost - we are honoured indeed that Dame Vera Lynn should have become the patron of The Dover War Memorial Project.

"I wish The Dover War Memorial Project continued international success, It is a living reminder to us all of those who were an example to us all."

 

.

Picture of Dame Vera Lynn by Ian Lillford

The Unknown Warrior Musical
12 November 2010  What a wonderful experience! Young people at St Martin's Primary School presented - on the exact 90th Anniversary of the date he came home through Dover - a commemorative musical performance of the story of the Unknown Warrior.

The music was composed by Russell Hepplewhite. Accompanied by Russell on the piano and Rebecca Hewes on the 'cello, pupils sang solo and in chorus. , with songs ranging from "Dover Bids You Welcome" through the lively "Thundering Down the Track" and the reflective Remembrance refrain "He Could Be Anyone" as the body was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey. Baritone Maciek O'Shea narrated and played the role of Reverend Railton (above).

"Very proud" - "So moving" - "Excellent!" were some of the comments from the audience, which included The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Dover, Cllr Sue Jones, The Mayoress, Cllr Ronnie Philpott, and the Deputy Mayor, Cllr David Hannent. A retiring collection raised £205.40, for St Martin's School, 3rd Dover Scouts, who are refurbishing their hut, Eaves Hall, and for the totally voluntary donation-funded The Dover War Memorial Project.

The performance was featured by Meridian televison in their news bulletins on Armistice Day and by BBC Radio Kent.

At Westminster Abbey
2 November 2010 Young people from St Martins Primary School visited Westminster Abbey and the tomb of the Unknown Warrior as part of the 90th Anniversary project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In a day filled with activities, they watched a video, participated in a specially-written play about the servicemen and their families during the Great War, and met "Reverend Railton" - an actor playing the part of the clergyman who conceived the idea of the Unknown Warrior for Britain.

Their day finished with an Act of Remembrance by the tomb of the Unknown Warrior, where they remembered especially Dovorian casualties Cecil Bromley and Tommy Eaves, and laid a cross and a tribute to them on the Unknown Warrior's grave. 

As part of the 90th Anniversary project, Several other schools will also be visiting during this week and next, as will Scouts and Bronwies from Dover. 

Dover Town Council Awards Grant
19 October 2010  We'd like to thank Dover Town Council, who have awarded The Dover War Memorial Project a grant of £100. This will be used to purchase essential equipment to enable us to continue archiving for the future all the information and material we have gathered and been so kindly given since the Project began.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed, and thank you to Dover Town Council

The "90th Anniversary of the Unknown Warrior" Project
17 October 2010. Following the Heritage Lottery Grant, young people in Kent and London have been busy! Professional artist Jonathan Boast spent a week with 3rd (St Martin's) Dover Scout Group and 8th Dover Brownies to design a stained-glass window, which design will be on display in Westminster Abbey during Remembrance, as part of the "90th Anniversary" exhibition currently being created.

Meanwhile, children from five different schools have  enjoyed classroom sessions studying casualties local to their area. Along with handling original artefacts and studying original sources, the young folk were able to dress up - what did it feel like to wear a uniform of the time?

Right are pupils of St Martin's School, Dover, by the school war memorial with Peter Daniel and Kimi Gilbert from the City of Westminster Archives, and Susannah S-K from The Dover War Memorial Project. All pupils are now working on epitaphs and window designs to take to Westminster Abbey for their visits during Remembrance fortnight.. 

Exhibition at Crabble Corn Mill
8th October 2010, Crabble Corn Mill, River, Dover, are now hosting part of the Dover War Memorial Project's exhibition, "The Summer of 1940".Thank you to the Mill - we were very pleased to be able to inspect the new installation during the recent Cider Festival(!). Do visit the Mill if you can - it's beautiful, and there's the bonus of a scrumptious tea-room when the legs are wearied after all the exploring of this histioric and charming site on the River Dour (picture courtesy of Crabble Corn Mill) 

"From the Front"
30th September 2010. The Autumn 2010 newsletter is now line. Click here to read.

This is "The Season of Remembrance". We remember the home-coming of five of the serving soldiers killed in Afghanistan, the Battle of Britain 70th anniversary at Capel-le-Ferne, the Merchant Navy service on the anniversary of the sinking of the Athenia. There's some news about the 90th anniversary of the home-coming of the Unknown Warrior, and we take a nostaligc look back at old Dover.

Find out too what happened when Maggie and Simon went on a pub crawl ...

The Heritage Lottery Fund - Grant for The Unknown Warrior 90th Anniversary Commemorations
30th September 2010. This year is the 90th anniversary of the return of the Unknown Warrior. he was brought home through Dover on 10th November 1920 and was buried at Westminster Abbey the next day, the second anniversary of Armistice Day.

We are absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund .have approved a grant enabling The Dover War Memorial Project, with partners The City of Westminster Archives, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Artillery (Firepower) Museum,, and Medway Archives, along with Chelsea Football Club, to explore the story of the Unknown Warrior with young people   in Dover, Chatham, and Westminster.

There are a heap of activities planned, including a specially-written musical ...watch this space!

Rest in Peace
16 August 2010. We were very sad to learn that popular and respected Reg Levy died on 1st August. He was 88, born on 8 May 1922. Until just under three weeks before his death he was continuing to write on the Professional Pilots' Forum, using computer skills he had learnt only in his last two or three years.

Reg was a pilot of long-standing skill, and experience, clocking up some 27,000 miles in different aircraft and airlines since his training during World War II..He was awarded the DFC in 1944, surviving several narrow escapes, including one when a bomb dropped straight through his Halifax. Noted for his coolness under fire, Reg was the pilot credited with saving over 100 people on board when his passenger plane was hijacked in 1972.  The ordeal lasted 20 hours, and Reg's wife Dora was also aboard, having joined him to help celebrate his 50th birthday. Reg retired in 1981, his wife accompanying him on his last flight. 

Reg died in his retirement home of Dover, where his funeral was held on 11 August.

Homecoming
20 July 2010. The battle of Fromelles, France, was fought on 19 and 20 July 1916. Exactly ninety-four years later, retrieved with 249 others from a mass grave, the remains of the last casualty - "Known unto God" - were laid to rest in a  newly-created cemetery close by.

On this anniversary, four other servicemen came home to their rest. Three had been based at Folkestone, Kent, just a few miles from Dover. We joined hundreds of people in Wootton Bassett paying their respects to Major James Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington, Corporal Arjun Purja Pun, and Marine Matthew Harrison. They were killed in Afghanistan.

The Few - 70 years on
11 July 2010. The 70th anniversary of the The Battle of Britain was marked at the memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent, with a service of remembrance and wreath-laying. in the presence of HRH Prince Michael of Kent and nineteen of the remaining Few. The DWMP were amongst thousands who attended, thrilled by the  fly past of a Lancaster and Spitfire, and a display by a solo Spitfire. We'll have more pictures in the next newsletter - "From the Front", Autumn 2010

Summer Newsletter
27 June 2010 "From the Front". The new newsletter - Summer 2010 - for the Dover War Memorial Project is online - see link above. We're experimenting with sending the newsletter out by email on request; if you'd like to sign up for this, please contact us  

Showtime!
17 June 2010. The weekend after the evacuee reunion it was back to Dover again. This time it was the 1940s weekend, held annually in Pencester Gardens. All the old favourites were there, and despite a few gusts of wind that rattled the odd tent post, the weather was kind as we enjoyed war-time music and displays.

The Dover War Memorial Project took along a new exhibition for this year - "The Summer of 1940" - and a display of items recently donated, in memory of some of our Fallen, including Albert Port, Thomas Claringbould, and William Sole..

After that it was off to the library, to set up part of the exhibition there. The Summer of 1940 is famed for the Battle of Britain. Several of The Few, to whom we many owe so much, are associated with Dover, and along with our display we were privileged to arrange some items kindly lent by the Shoreham Aircraft Museum, near Sevenoaks. The whole display will be at the library until the end of August.

Living History

7 June 2010. .What a wonderful day we had, marking the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of children from Dover and surrounding areas to South Wales. 70 years ago they were dark days indeed - parents and children separated, then brothers separated from sisters, as children were sent west to relative safety, far from the feared invasion now the enemy were just 22 miles away, across the channel. Here, above, with the Mayor and Mayoress of Dover, the Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, and the Vice Chair of Dover District Council, are some of those who lived through those historic times. Thank you, all of you, and thank you, organiser John Lockyer, for making this a day to remember!

Evacuees
12 May 2010. At the end of this month it's the 70th anniversary of the "miracle" of Dunkirk. While troops were brought home, others were leaving. On 1 June 1940 3,000 Dover schoolchildren and their teachers left for the safer area of South Wales.

In Dover on 6 June a special service, followed by reunions, has been arranged at St Mary's Church, Cannon Street. The library is also hosting a small exhibition.

The DWMP recently visited a number of places where they had been sent - and even found one of the very few Dovorian evacuees who had decided to stay in Wales and make a new life there. We couldn't have been made more welcome. Councillors in the Blaenavon area were very enthusiastic about a joint 70th commemoration with Dover. We've passed all information and contacts on to the Town Council.

Above: the Great War Memorial clock, outside the Council Offices at Cwmbran
Right: Maggie with Cllr Robert Gulliford and Cllr Tom Huish, outside the Ironmaster's house in Blaenavon, at the very first school attended by Dover evacuees.  

An Ever-expanding Family
5 May 2010. We welcome to the family little Sophie Grace, born on 4 May. .

The proud parents are Emily, Maggie S-K's eldest daughter, and her husband Luke. The new Dad, as all dads everywhere who have daughters, is totally besotted. Who wouldn't be?

All are doing fine - even Maggie, who has now realised she's suddenly become ... a grandmother.

Welcome to the world, Sophie Grace.

Mr and Mrs Newlywed!
24 April 2010. Here are Helena and Alistair, just after their wedding in The Guildhall, at Bath.

The couple met at university in Cambridge nine years ago, and have been best friends ever since. Helena is Maggie S-K's middle daughter, and volunteer artist for the Dover War Memorial Project. Alistair is training to be a teacher and when he's not studying works with young folk of all ages, including young carers.

Two bridesmaids, Susannah and Charmaine, and a matron of honour, Emily,  supported the bride, while two best people - Best Fran and Best Dan - made sure the groom got to the Guildhall on time!

On a beautiful and light-hearted day, the theme was ... fascinators. All the wedding party and guests wore one; just visible in the picture is Alistair's nifty little top hat. And for those who know him, it will be no surprise that Maggie's brother Mike Webb's choice was flashing red demon horns ... !

Congratulations to the new couple, and may they be fascinated by each other for the rest of their lives.

An Election Manifesto!
19 April 2010. May 6 is the big day for those vital little crosses at the UK ballot box.  But here's one manifesto vital to everyone - the ME/CFS* manifesto for 2010.

Two of Maggie S-K's daughters are among the 250,000 people in the UK affected by this acquired neurological disability. Unlike the psephologists, ME/CFS is no respecter of demographics. It's also no respecter of persons; symptoms include joint pain and cramps, unrelenting headache, irritable bowel, confusion, "brain fog", high sensitivity to smells and bright lights and touch, sleeplessness, lack of bodily temperature control, and an overwhelming chronic fatigue that does not get better with rest.

25% of people affected are bedbound/housebound, some must be tube fed.  The Chief Medical Officer's report, January 2002, stated that ME/CFS "should be classed as a chronic condition, with long term effects on health, alongside other illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease" Yet there's still insufficient research into potentially triggering infections, insufficient advice on prevention, and insufficient training for medical and welfare professionals.  

The manifesto's easy to read - just four key pages. How would your MP - or MP hopeful - respond?

* Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

ME/CFS awareness week this year is 8 to 16 May

 

"Walter's War"
12 April 2010. Phil Vasili, author of the new book about Walter Tull, ("Walter Tull, 1888-1918. Officer, Footballer. All the Guns in France couldn't Wake Me") tells us that "Walter's War",  the drama about Walter Tull, is scheduled for repeat on Saturday 17th April 2010, at 22.25. on BBC Four. It's followed by the documentary "Walter Tull: Forgotten Hero", which will be repeated later at 03.35 Sunday morning. e know some of you missed these first time round, so here's another opportunity.

Remembrance Calendar
11 April 2010. There are a lot of Remembrance events in and around Dover, but it's sometimes difficult to find the dates and details. So we've started a calendar, online. Thank you to Sally Kay Moat, who has helped so much, and will be coming up with more! If  you have any more dates and details to be included, please do tell us  

CAMRA!
31 March 2010. What a wonderful evening! We had the superlative surprise that the Deal, Dover, Sandwich, and District (DDS) branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) had decided to make a donation to the Dover War Memorial Project from the proceeds of their White Cliffs Beer Festival, held in February.

The presentation (complete with a luscious buffet meal!) took place at the gorgeous Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club (below) on the seafront in Dover. Maggie and Simon brought the display of our Dovorian casualties who have recently been remembered on our Town Memorial; several members of CAMRA had family members commemorated that proud day.

The cheque was presented by Dave Green, organiser of the festival (holding the cheque with Maggie, above). During her speech of acceptance and thanks Maggie underlined similarities between CAMRA and the Dover War Memorial Project with their values of tradition, heritage, the community and the individual. Maggie concluded by proposing a toast to our Fallen, "In deep gratitude and with honour, we remember you."

Movingly, then, Peter (Jim) Green (holding the wreath) spoke the words "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them".

We do, and we will. The monies raised by the White Cliffs Beer Festival will be put towards ensuring that our Fallen can be remembered as the precious individuals they once were, when we ourselves are long gone.

Thank you, CAMRA, DDS) not only for this wonderful donation, but for your warm and friendly company during a super evening. (Should you wish to experience this, their website has details of meetings and events!). The White Cliffs Beer Festival itself is held annually, the first weekend of each February, in what must be one of the oldest venues for such a Festival - Dover Town Hall, parts of which date from 1203.

"From the Front" - Spring Newsletter
28 March 2010. Issue 1 of "From the Front" is here (pdf format) 

Contacting the Project
23 March 2010. Please use  these contact details for all matters concerning The Dover War Memorial Project


Walter Tull book launch
6 March 2010. At The Grand Hotel in Folkestone was launched the new book by Phil Vasili about our local (and international!) hero Walter Tull. Over a hundred people attended the event organised by Raw Press, the publishers, including the Deputy High Commissioner of Barbados, the Mayors of Dover and Folkestone, and representatives from The Walter Tull Association, Football Unites Racism Divides, Step Short in Folkestone, Action for Children, Tottenham Hostpurs, and the West Indian Association of Service Personnel. The children of Walter's old school, Mundella, sang specially-written songs about Walter's life.

 

And of course, who else was there but many members of Walter's family (above). Some had travelled hundreds of miles to be at the launch - others but a few, from the neighbouring town of Dover. Holding the books are Walter's great-nieces, Pat, the grand-daughter of Walter's brother Edward, next to her brother, also Edward, and  on the right, Rita, grand-daughter of William Tull. It was a terrific event, with many initiatives now planned to commemorate and teach the story of an extraordinary man - Walter Tull, an icon for our modern age.

Rest in Peace 2
6 March 2010. Albert ("Dick") Whittamore first chatted to us four years ago. He 'phoned to tell us more about one of our Dovorian civilian casualties, a person he'd known well. We chatted a number of times subsequently, especially about his Dick's war-time experiences, and discovered that our acquaintance went back rather more years than we'd thought, as Maggie had been one of a number of mischievous urchins who from time to time had bought such schoolday essentials as long-legged plastic spiders, fake-bloodied fingertips, and stink-bombs from his shop over Tower Hamlets, Dover.

Dick suffered severely from emphysema for many years, an illness he blamed on cigarette-smoking. Known as a Dover character, he wanted to warn others. One of his last requests were that his hearse should tour the town, placards reading "Smoking Killed Me!" around his coffin, before his burial at St Mary's.

6 January 1925 to 16 February 2009Rest in Peace, Dick. We hear there'll be a brightest star shining ....   


Rest in Peace
22 February 2010. We send our sincere sympathies to the family of Robin Davies, who sadly passed away yesterday, at the age of 56. Robin will be remembered as "Carrot", from the television series "Catweazle", celebrating this month the fortieth anniversary of its first showing.

 A gentleman loved by many, Robin was a sunshine in our childhoods. Rest In Peace

photo: at "Hexwood", the location of the first series - Robin, with Maggie's daughter Emily, and Geoffrey Bayldon ("Catweazle")


Away with the Fairies!
22 February 2010. We may have seemed a little quiet recently - but the work in Remembrance of our Dovorian Fallen never stops. We took a trip to Harlech, Wales, to visit the grave of one of our casualties, Lieutenant Rupert Morrison, who died in May 1918.

The trip was the suggestion of Michelle and Andy Cooper, pictured left with Maggie at that station on Anglesey (Llanfairpwyll.....gogogoch - er - the one with the long  name!)

 

 

 

We took the opportunity to visit as many War Memorials in the area as possible; they vary from the huge Celtic cross above Porthmadog (right) to the charming brown marble posts outside tiny village chapels (left, at Rhiw).

It brings home the sobering realisation that the long arms of war can reach into even the smallest and most remote homes, and from their warm hearths snatch away forever their sons.


Welcome to ... 
28 January 2010. A warm welcome to Sarah! She's a graduate, and has very kindly volunteered to join us and gain work experience at DWMP HQ (as some of you call it!), up here in Buckinghamshire. Sarah will be helping construct "The Last Word", a new section on the DWMP website featuring epitaphs for Dovorian Fallen in Dover cemeteries. The first page of thumbnail photos and transcriptions is now online, accessible through the index.

We have copies of the original large photos here, and as always offer grateful thanks to Joyce Banks, who has taken nearly all the pictures and supplied the transcriptions. Joyce works tirelessly in memory of our Fallen, and supplied the information for another new section, also online this month, Notes on WWI Service Records as well as further notes on WWII casualties.

Thank you to all you super people, who give so generously of your time, knowledge, and skills, to help ensure that those we lost from our Frontline Town will never be forgotten. 


NEW DATE - Walter Tull Book Launch -
7 January 2010. The new book by Phil Vasili, a biography of Walter Tull, published by Raw Press, will be launched at The Grand Hotel, The Leas, Folkestone. Owing to the weather, the launch has now been postponed. It will take place on 5th March at 16.00, at the same venue. If you are interested in attending, please contact us .


Diamond Wedding!
2 January 2010. Congratulations and love to Maggie's Uncle Ron and Auntie Dorne, who on Boxing Day Drone and Roncelebrated sixty years of marriage. Ron Easton is well-known and remembered in Dover as a railway engine driver; a tradition in our family for several generations - perhaps unsurprisingly as  he is related to the "Father of the Railways" George Stephenson. Dorne, née Terry, is a Dovorian too, and vividly remembers sheltering with her mother during the air-raids during the Second World War.  How long seemed the hours for a child until the all-clear sounded!

The couple have a daughter living nearby, a granddaughter, and great-grandchildren. A close family, they have celebrated nearly as long in their home, living next door to Ron's sister Vera (Maggie's mum) until she died. 

Remembering always Timmy and Gavin.


DWMP Appreciation Group on Facebook
2 January 2010. Susannah Stephenson-Knight created for New Year's Day an appreciation group on Facebook for the DWMP.. Seventeen members and growing, we're informed!


POSTPONED - Walter Tull Book Launch -
2 January 2010. The new book by Phil Vasili, a biography of Walter Tull, published by Raw Press, will be launched at The Grand Hotel, The Leas, Folkestone, on 9th January 2010, beginning at 2.30. If you'd like to attend, Maggie has invitations available so do please contact her

Seasonal tributes.

2 January 2010.  For the Christmas period, Joyce Banks laid these beautiful hyacinths on the graves of some of our casualties. Little Freddie Spinner was just 9 when he was killed at Dover Priory station by shelling in 1944; the card on his flowers reads; "with all our love". Girlie Boorman died when her home on Cowgate Hill was shelled from a vessel outside the harbour in February 1916: her card reads, "to Gertrude with lots of love and kisses from Maggie". In the centre are two soldiers of the Second World War, who died on 2 June 1940. "Known Unto God"

Thank you Joyce for this surprise and your kindness.

 

wreath 2006, by Simon ChambersDear All,

Happy New Year!

Welcome to a new year of the Dover War Memorial Project, as we seek to honour and remember those who fell for us, and their families, in the two World Wars of the 20th century.

As always, last year was very busy, both in the public view and behind the scenes. One superb and wonderful event was the dedication of a new plaque on our Memorial to more of our Fallen. It was a moving day, sad, yet full of joy and pride as we gathered to remember those who lost their lives. The next update for our Memorial is scheduled for 2012; we have already received a number of requests. Should you wish your loved one considered for Remembrance in this way, please do contact us.

One of the most enjoyable and inspiring parts of our work of Remembrance is meeting so many lovely people. We are so pleased to have helped so many learn more of their lost forebears, and will continue, as best we can, with all the resources we have available. But we have also learnt so much from the relatives and friends of our Fallen. There are so many stories - of courage, of undying love, and even one or two spine-tingling ones! We'll be telling more of  the hidden work we do in the next newsletter. As always, thank you indeed to all you  wonderful people who volunteer your time to help on the Project. Such dear friends, you work so hard on so many different tasks to help ensure that we never forget those to whom we owe so much.

The loss of dearly loved friends and relatives, whose lives were cut short by the most horrendous of circumstances, is always a deeply sombre and painful thought. At the same time, we are uplifted by their unconquered unmoveable spirit, by their courage and the courage of those they left behind, and by the knowledge that in the times of deepest adversity our beliefs, thoughts, will, and determination turn to an over-arching devotion and loyalty transcendent of any individual. Such is the legacy they have left us, and one we must always strive to fulfil. So many lives cut short; as we begin this New Year, let us be thankful for our own lives and live them to the full in honour of those who gave theirs.

With best wishes,. 

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

Maggie
(Marilyn Stephenson-Knight)

January 2010

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