On Sunday 19th March 1916 five enemy seaplanes raided Dover, Deal, Ramsgate &
Margate. In Ramsgate townsfolk heard heavy firing in the distance but it was
too misty to see much out at sea that afternoon. Suddenly the rapid firing of
shrapnel was heard then the sound of bombs exploding. Damage was done in King
Street and Chatham Street.
The driver of a motor car was struck and killed on St. Luke’s Avenue and most
of the windows in the vicinity were shattered. Five children were killed on
their way to St. Luke’s Sunday school and nine people were injured.
There will be a commemoration service at St Luke’s Church in Ramsgate on Sunday 20th March 2016 at 10.30am. All are welcome to attend. If fine the congregation will be invited to join a short walk to the cemetery to see the gravestone of the Saxby children which was restored in 2015.
There are now ten Ramsgate communities on the IWM LivesoftheFirstWorldWar website. They are not complete yet. I have just added the Old Augustinians and the Old Laurentians and will be adding the Chatham House OBs and church honours boards too over the next few months. My guided cemetery tours are now finished for 2015 but nearly every time I learn something new. In August the grandson of a Ramsgate Buff who survived the Great War showed me where his grandfather is buried. An interesting twist is that Fred Elliss was a beach photographer before the war. My next quest is to find out if the honours board for the Ramsgate branch of the Ancient Order of Foresters still exists as I have a list from a local newspaper of a number of names which appeared on it.
St Lawrence College opened their doors for the first time last weekend as part of the national Heritage Open Days – a great opportunity to see their WW1 honours board in the chapel, which was itself built as a war memorial.
For the last two years I have been re-creating the Ramsgate Roll of Honour from the First World War. I am now starting to add the names very gradually to the IWM’s website
I am starting with the smaller groups such as those men who emigrated from Ramsgate, mainly to Canada or Australia. I have also added some men who served in the RFC/RAF. Have a look at my entries in the community ” RamsgateRemembers14-18″ and please let me know if you find any mistakes!
Women and young girls set to work knitting hundreds of useful items for the soldiers and sailors such as khaki socks, balaclava helmets, gloves, and mufflers or scarves. At Hereson School, they started collecting money for a Wool Fund to enable the girls to knit socks, belts and helmets for the soldiers, and arranged concerts to raise money. The girls worked very hard and in December 1914 they sent off 105 knitted garments. The next year the girls also made sandbags. Continue reading Socks for the boys
Cyril and Norman Siddeley
Three Old Lawrentians who survived the war were Cyril, Ernest and Norman Siddeley, sons of the motor car manufacturer John Siddeley, whose company Siddeley-Deasy produced ambulances and aircraft engines during WW1. Their parents paid for the choir stalls in the memorial chapel. The dedication reads:-
These stalls are presented by Mr and Mrs J D Siddeley as a thanksoffering for the preservation in the Great War (1914-1918) of their sons Cyril, Ernest and Norman, old boys of the Junior School and College.”
Cyril Davenport Siddeley, born in 1894, became 2nd Baron Kenilworth following his father’s death in 1953. He joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1914 later becoming a captain in the Army Service Corps. Continue reading Old Lawrentians
When World War I began, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg as part of the Schlieffen Plan, in an attempt to capture Paris quickly by catching the French off guard by invading through neutral countries. The British were still bound by the 1839 agreement to protect Belgium in the event of a war. On 2nd August 1914, the German government demanded free passage through Belgian territory. The Belgian government refused so on 4th August German troops invaded Belgium and Britain declared war on Germany. Continue reading Those poor Belgians