Category Archives: Army

Thanet’s Peace Celebrations July 1919

Thanet Advertiser July 5th

As soon as the news of peace was in the air a great crowd began to gather at Ramsgate Market Place, the Town hall being the centre of gravity which attracts the people when important announcements are expected. The raucous voices of the ships’ sirens rent the air, and the general din was added to by the blowing of numberless weird instruments by children of all ages in the street. It was, however, a very orderly assembly, and waited patiently for the Mayor to make, from the balcony of the old building, his formal announcement of the Great Fact. Continue reading Thanet’s Peace Celebrations July 1919

Tickler’s Jam

Thanet Advertiser 22nd January 1916

Jokes about the food issued to the boys at the Front enjoy a popularity in the trenches which no “mother-in-law” yarn ever elicited. With his inexhaustible flow of high spirits – in whatever adversity- Tommy keeps his wit bright and shining, and many a clever serenade has been composed to such prosaic things as bully beef and Army biscuits. In jests of this description the Canadians excel, the boys of the 31st Battalion being particularly struck with a certain brand of jam which is being issued in their ranks.
A member of the gallant 31st, Pte F C Bennett, writing to friends in Ramsgate, sends a parody on the popular preserve evidently manufactured by a gentleman rejoicing in the name ofTickler. The song was sung with tremendous success at one of those quaint concerts given “Somewhere in France”. The chorus is as follows:-

Tickler’s Jam! Tickler’s Jam!
How I love old Tickler’s Jam
Plum and apple in one pound pots
Sent from England in ten ton lots
Every night when I must sleep
I’m dreaming that I am
Forcing my way up the Dardanelles
With a pot of Tickler’s Jam.

The man who can poetise on such a subject is a poet indeed! Trench concerts are arranged by the men at regular intervals, and the sender of the above lines puts forth a plea for books of old songs, which are badly needed to swell the repertoire of the khaki performers.

Readers having any songs to spare were invited to send them into the local newspaper who would see that they reached their destination.

Richard Shirburne WELD-BLUNDELL

A requiem mass was held at St Augustine’s Abbey for Richard Shirburne Weld-Blundell, a 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment who died on 1st January 1916 at 19 Albion Street, Ramsgate. According to his death certificate the cause was “Injuries to the brain caused by a fall – accidental death”.

A former pupil of St Placid’s school in Mildred Road, Ramsgate, Richard had emigrated with his brother to British Columbia but had returned to fight when war broke out. He left a widow and a newborn infant daughter. Continue reading Richard Shirburne WELD-BLUNDELL

Clothes for the men serving

The Thanet Advertiser January 22nd 1915

Army, Railway and Police clothing.

Army trousers, blue 1s 6d upwards: grey 2s 6d to 4s 6d. Police trousers 3s 6d to 7s 6d: any size up to 48 waist and 36 leg seam. Rail Cords 2s to 3s pair. Second-hand Army boots, new soled 4s 6d pair. Army grey shirts 2s 6d, 2s 11d, 3s 6d. Army socks 6 1/2d and 1s 3d pair. Railway Reefers 2s 6d to 6s 6d. Oilskin long coats 6s 6d; short 3s 6d. Overcoats 7s. Jackets 2s 6d to 4s. Police Oilskin Capes 4s 6d. Cloth overcoats 12s 6d.

Allan’s Army and Naval Stores, 37 King Street, Ramsgate


Active Service Kit


I haven’t got a feather bed

Thanet Times February 25th 1916

Sgt Wilkinson was formerly an employee of Mr Deveson the butcher in Grange Road. After Sgt Wilkinson died the paper published a poem he had written.

I haven’t got a feather bed
Nor yet a blooming pillow
My overcoat supports my head
My canteen lid’s my mirror

But be a sport and show your pluck
And help God strafe the Kaiser
And if you stop one – well that’s luck
And you’re not much the wiser.

Remember too it doesn’t hurt
You don’t get time to feel it
Supposing that it really did
Just look what’s there to heal it.

The finest hand of nursing girls
That ever drew God’s breath
With snow white frocks and golden hair
And then you talk of death.

Why blimey mate you should be proud
To die with these around you.
Come on, old sport, and join the crowd
And let the doctor sound you.

Its men we want, not girls in plush,
Like some of your poor blighters.
So you should read this and don’t blush
But go and join the fighters.

Ramsgate soldier’s tale of life as a PoW

Private A H Atkins, 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers was interviewed by the Thanet Advertiser and Echo in January 1919, having returned home after four years in captivity.
The German Prisoner of War camps or Kriegsgefangenenlager during World War I were run by the 25 Army Corps Districts into which Germany was divided. There were four different types of camp as follows:-
• Mannschaftslager for private soldiers and NCOs, such as Sennelager
• Offizierslager for commissioned officers.
• Internierungslager for civilians of enemy states, such as Ruhleben
• Lazarett, military hospital for POWs.

Continue reading Ramsgate soldier’s tale of life as a PoW

That is war

Months ago now the great battle of Loos was raging and we were marching up to take our part. As we marched from Bethune up the wide road, which was packed with transport, ambulances and cavalry, a long stream of wounded were moving painfully down the road, leaving the battle. They plodded bravely along, some with large red-stained bandages over their heads, others with bleeding legs, shattered arms, or fractured bones. Some would collapse exhausted by the side of the road, urged in vain by their comrades to keep moving. This ghostly procession appeared to be never-ending. As we passed a dressing-station a man was being brought in on a stretcher, suffering from gas, struggling so violently to get air into his poisoned lungs that the bearers could scarcely manage to keep him on the stretcher. Up the road we marched in column of route, a battalion a thousand strong. And were merged into the battle and eaten up by it. After three days we too were on the return journey; having lost many of our own comrades, some of them left on the battle field, some gassed, others broken in limb or mind by the inferno of shell-fire.
Desolate villages, ruined homes, the ghostly echo of treading feet and the rattle of transport past the gaunt remnant of houses, and a pervading bleakness and depressing solitude.

That is war.

Excerpt from Life among the Sandbags by Hugo Morgan

Ramsgate sailor drowns in Southern Ocean

William Bligh had grown up in Ramsgate and had attended St Luke’s School as he lived in Upper Dumpton Park Road. He started work as a fisherman then joined the Merchant Navy. He emigrated to Australia and was working as a labourer when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force or AIF. William embarked for France in October 1915 sailing out of Brisbane on Australian troopship HMAT Seang Bee A48. Continue reading Ramsgate sailor drowns in Southern Ocean