Category Archives: War memorials

Remembering Ramsgate’s saddest week

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.

 

The siege of Kut 1916

Al-Kūt is a city in eastern Iraq, on the left bank of the Tigris River, about 160 kilometres south east of Baghdad. British troops including the Buffs were serving in Iraq as part of the Mesopotamia Expeditonary Force. This fertile area with important trade routes was fought over in biblical times and one hundred years after the siege of Kut this territory is still being bitterly fought over.

In autumn 1915, Turkish troops besieged Major-General Charles Townshend’s forces in Kut-al-Amara before the Allied troops could withdraw further down the Tigris to the port of Basra. The siege of Kut-al-Amara lasted 147 days, before the British and Indian troops inside the garrison town finally surrendered on 29 April 1916. Conditions were appalling. In bitterly cold weather, with inadequate supplies, poor communications and with little medical treatment, many soldiers did not survive the winter. Of the 11,800 men who left Kut-al-Amara on 6 May 1916, 4,250 died either on their way to captivity or in the PoW camps at Aleppo. Continue reading The siege of Kut 1916

Some recent WW1 commemorations down under

A new memorial had been unveiled at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. A simple black oculus representing a camera lens is dedicated to the work of journalists, photographers, camara operators and artists. The new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, himself a former journalist, said that the new War Correspondents’ Memorial was about courage in the face of death.

The Heritage Council of Victoria has published some trail leaflets “100 places for 100 years” encouraging people to visit all the WW1 and WW11 memorials in the state of Victoria.

The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne’s Visitor centre in the crypt has been extended and now includes a museum. They publish a quarterly What’s On brochure outlining their ongoing programme of talks etc..

The Monash Choral project is ambitiously creating a series of performances based on the life of General Sir John Monash GCMG, KCB, VD.

A quiet corner of Ramsgate

On a recent visit to Ramsgate’s Jewish Cemetery to see the grave of a civilian who died in a WW1 air raid my attention was drawn to two other graves on which WW1 soldiers are remembered.

The civilian who died was Kate Cleopatra Bonny who was killed on the Eve of the Day of Atonement 5676 on 17th September 1915 aged 32.

The first soldier was Alfred Abraham Silver, a Lance Corporal in the 2nd Garrison Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment who died in India from influenza aged 22 on 25th October 1918, and whose parents lived in Augusta Road. He was buried in India and remembered on the Kirklee Memorial. There was an obituary in the Thanet Advertiser of 9th November 1918.

The other soldier was Morris Julius van Thal, a Rifleman in the 24th Battalion Royal Fusiliers who died in France on 29/04/1917. His body was not found so he is remembered on the Arras Memorial.

 

Ten Ramsgate Communities and counting!

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.

Bob the gardener

On my last trip to Ramsgate cemetery I bumped into Bob, the man responsible for making sure that all the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s memorial gardens in East Kent are immaculate. He also worked for many years in France and Belgium and anyone who visits any of the cemeteries on the Western Front or in Flanders will know how beautifully these cemeteries are kept. We owe Bob and his colleagues a big thank you for all their hard work.

Ramsgate’s saddest week

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. Continue reading Ramsgate’s saddest week

Ramsgate added to IWM database

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

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/

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!

St Lawrence College Chapel

Good news for Ramsgate! The St Lawrence College chapel will be open to the public during the Heritage Open House weekend in September.

This will be a rare opportunity to see inside the Grade II listed Chapel at St Lawrence College which was built in 1926 by Sir Aston Webb as a war memorial to former pupils who lost their lives in the First World War.The original marble memorial plaque, unveiled in 1920, is at the heart of the Chapel and has subsequently been added to, bringing the total loss of pupils to 143.The chapel will be open on Saturday 12th September from 11am to 1pm. Visitors will be able to hear the Chapel organ being played and the Chaplain, Head of History and Senior School pupils will be on hand to  tell visitors more about the Chapel. This event will not be suitable for children under the age of 7.

http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/st-lawrence-college-chapel