THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

Latest News 2016

Welcome to Dover's Virtual War Memorial

Patrons:

Dame Vera Lynn, CH, DBE, LL.D, M.Mus

Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce, KG, GCB, OBE, DL
Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle

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25 November 2016

100 miles for 100 years! Screen South, Folkestone, are holding a forum to help develop First World War themed trails. There'll be a chance to join in for Dover on 30 November, between 10 am and 1pm at the Town Council Offices, Maison Dieu House. Here are some of the trails already started.

It's a FREE event and includes a heap of how-tos, including how to develop a trail and guide one, collect community memories, organise an event and an approach to historical research.

To take part, contact tatyana.firth@screensouth.org or phone 01303 259777.

17 November 2016

Dead Man's Penny. We are so pleased to have helped reunite the family of one of our casualties with his Death Plaque. It was discovered in a box; the owner asked a friend ... who asked The Dover War Memorial Project if we could help.

With some detective work and the construction of a family tree of the casualty's descendents - yes we could! We'd like to thank the lady who asked us to help; it was a privilege to try and heart-warming to have a casualty come home and to know that our casualty's family will once again be able to care for and cherish his plaque.

4 November 2016

Let the bells ring out! St George's Memorial Church in Ypres is filled with commemorations of the soldiers, regiments, and battalions taking part in the Great War in Flanders Fields. Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, who also created the Menin Gate, the church was constructed in between 1927-29 and services and acts of Remembrance continue daily.

The tower was constructed with the strength to house a ring of change-ringing bells, like those that can be heard across Britain on Sundays, and in many other countries including Australia, Canada, and the USA. Over 1,200 bellringers are known to have lost their lives in the Great War; amongst them four from the band at St Mary's, Dover.

Now a new charity hopes to raise 195,000 to install a ring of eight bells at St George's, in honour of all who Fell. Each bell will be cast in England and will bear a memorial inscription. Along with this 16 Victorian handbells, previously owned by a veteran of the Great War, will be restored for the church, and a new bellringing band established and trained. The bells and band will become the first change-ringers in Belgium, continuing an art dating back to the 1600s.

More information may be found at    https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/bells4stgeorgeypres or at www.bells4stgeorge.org.

13 October  2016

We were recently lucky enough to be in Wales when Poppies: Weeping Window was installed. Consisting of several thousand ceramic poppies, it is part of the display Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in 2014 where 888,246 poppies, one for each serviceman's death, commemorated the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. The display, and another component Poppies: Wave, is on tour during 2016 and 2017.

The current installation is at Caernafon Castle and can be veiwed from the terrifyingly high ramparts as well as safely from the ground. Accompanying the exhibition is a room set aside for reflection and remembrance where visitors may record their thoughts on postcards for display on a remembrance wall. We left a card in memory of our Dover Fallen.

2 September 2016

Discover your Great War relatives!

On 12 November at Dover Library in the Discovery Centre at  the Market Square there will be a free Family History day. It includes talks, which run from 10am to 12 noon and 12 noon to 2pm, about life in Dover during the Great War and an introduction into how to trace your family and the resources available at the library. There'll be displays and a chance to talk to the experts and to learn more about future plans to highlight the role of Dover in the First World War.

The event is part of the English Heritage Fortress Dover project and is FREE to attend. To book a place for the talks or for further information email FortressDover@english-heritage.org.uk or call 01304 209870.

illustration - sheltering in the caves

5 August 2016

We're so sad to say that Maggie S-K's Uncle Ron died on 26 July at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, aged 88. The younger brother of Maggie's mother, he and his wife Dorne, with their children Linda and Timmy, lived next door to Maggie throughout her childhood.

We were a railway family; like his father and grandfathers, his uncles and great-uncles before him, Uncle Ron was a railway engine driver - starting as an engine cleaner when he was 15. For even longer, though, Uncle Ron was the best friend and loving husband of Dorne; they met during WWII and enjoyed nearly sixty-seven years of happy marriage together, united always throughout, as much in tragedy as joy.  "Nonk" to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he was a lovely man, gentle and kind-hearted, with a unique laugh - and an amazing sense of humour, complemented by a wardrobe of comical hats, that the children of the family, their children, and in turn their children's children adored.

It is always hard to say goodbye; it is a tragedy to say goodbye to Uncle Ron. We will remember him with love and affection always. We send our love and sympathies to Auntie Dorne and her family, and remembering always Timmy and Gavin.

15 July 2016

Look out - spammers about! We've been receiving recently some "failure" notices, where emails purporting to be from The Dover War Memorial Project have been returned as undeliverable. Knowing we hadn't sent them, we queried this with our hosting company. This is their reply:

"It sounds like your domain is being 'spoofed' by spammers to send email to people - there are no SMTP logs with ourselves of this email being sent out. The email system as a technology allows anyone to send an email with any sending address they wish. Most email servers will check to ensure that the email genuinely originated from the presented domain, however not all will perform this check and allow the emails to be sent and received. Most sent in this way should be flagged as spam when received by others, however its difficult to say how each mail service around the world is configured. Regrettably there's no real way to prevent this from happening due to the nature of the email system."

These emails tend to be directed at organisations, requesting the payment of an outstanding invoice, or they have .zip files attached. We do neither of these things, so do please be aware that if you receive an email like this it has definitely not come from us.

We are so sad that some people should seek to take advantage in this way.

11 June 2016

Felicitations! We're delighted that one of our Patrons, Dame Vera Lynn, has been been made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour. This is for her services to entertainment and her charitable works.

From being voted the Forces Sweetheart in 1939 to becoming the British exemplification of the 20th century in 2000, Dame Vera has been beloved for decades. Born in 1917 and beginning her career at the age of seven, as well as her renowned live performances, Dame Vera has hosted and performed in many radio and television shows, and made three films. Her records were in the charts since their beginning and in 2014 she became the oldest living artest to have a record in the UK top 20. In 1952 she even became the first Briton to reach number one in the USA charts!,

Dame Vera's record of hope in the darkest days, The White Cliffs of Dover, is said to be one of the favourite pieces of HM The Queen. We're the post-war generation - but it's one of our favourite pieces too!

Many congratulations Dame Vera Lynn, now Companion of Honour.

4 April 2016

On 12 April next (Tuesday) at 5pm the bell ringers at St Mary's will attempt a quarter peal on the centenary of the death of Air Mechanic George Saunders, RNAS. He was one of the band of ringers at St Mary's, and one of four St Mary's ringers who lost their lives during the Great War.

The conductor for the quarter peal will be Mike Godfrey whose father George was great friends with George Saunders and his brother Herbert (who also rang). It was George Saunders who introduced George Godfrey to ringing, and thus led to Mike taking up the pastime.

Update - We're very pleased to hear that the quarter peal of Grandsire Triples, 1260 changes, was successfully completed. It took 48 minutes and the bells were half-muffled in commemoration.

image - St Mary's circa 1908

25 February 2016

We are very sad to say that Maggie S-K's niece Kirsti died this evening after a long illness, which she bore with her customary courage, determination, and good humour.  Kirsti was the daughter of Maggie's brother Michael and his wife Carole. Kirsti leaves her husband, Adam, and her son, Daniel; we send our most sincere love and condolences to them and to her parents, her sisters, and their families.

Born in Dover in 1974, growing up in River, and an Old Girl of the Grammar, Kirsti taught for a while at her alma mater, and worked too at Town Centre Management, before moving to Salisbury. Gifted academically and artistically, Kirsti was both a thoughtful intellectual and a talented creative, especially in her needlework. Empathetic and caring, Kirsti's professional career included support of families and children with extra needs; her home was always welcoming and reflected her delightfully off-the-wall sense of humour and outlook.

Kirsti was a unique and precious gift and the world is darker and poorer without her. We didn't have Kirsti for long and the grief is hard and enduring;  we simply know how privileged we have been that we had her at all.

"The people we love never go away; they live forever in our hearts."

27 January 2016

We attended a gathering at The Rose, Campbell Park, for  Holocaust Memorial Day. Preceded by a short and moving ceremony by a few people speaking of their individual thoughts, the main service included the Mayor of Milton Keynes and a poem especially written by our Poet Laureate.

Right, in blustery wet weather, are some of the participants around the Holocaust column. The words on the column are taken from the Nobel acceptance speech of survivor Elie Wiesel. "I swore never to be silent whenever wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

20 January 2016

Our home in Buckinghamshire may not have been in the front line in the same way as Dover; during the whole of World War II our little town suffered only a couple of bombs, neither of which did any damage.

There was, though, a frontline of a very different kind. Bletchley Park, with its code-breaking, is now well known. However the whole area was home to numerous secret operations, from black propaganda, training and airlifting for the special operations executive, establishment and maintenance of radar, the met office, and "the largest telephone exchange in the world" communicating with all the Allied and secret services - Q-Central.

At Hughenden Manor, close to Bomber Command, was Operation Hillside. Bombing raids in the early part of the war were often inaccurate as the maps were out-of-date. Operation Hillside produced innumerable maps from aerial photography. In the ice-house, above left, the photographs were developed; in the Manor, behind, using stereoscopic viewers, the images were drawn into maps. This not only increased the accuracy of the raids and the safety of the bombing crews, but the tracking of changes evident in the photographs led also to the discovery of new targets and developments. Over 120 flying-bomb ramps were detected and destroyed thanks to Operation Hillside - which also mapped The Berghof for an assault upon Hitler himself.

Over a hundred people were employed here yet, hidden in wooded countryside and with hardly a military presence, there was little sign of the vital work being done. With the slightest hint, however, this quiet area in the shires would have soon become, like Dover, a hellfire corner.

right, a reconstructed rest area in the icehouse; it was warm and toasty on a freezing winter's day!

1 January 2016

Best wishes to everyone
for the

New Year!


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