Category Archives: War memorials

Guided tours in Ramsgate Cemetery

There is still time this summer for anyone who wants to join one of the guided tours of the WW1 graves in Ramsgate Cemetery.

The next tour is on Wednesday 15th July meeting at 2pm by the cemetery chapel near the Cecilia Road entrance.

The final tours for 2015 are on Saturday August 22nd at 3pm and Thursday September 3rd at 2pm.

There is limited parking at the cemetery approach road. The Thanet Loop bus service stops nearby in Hereson Road and Dumpton Park station is a ten minute walk away. Tours take about an hour and it is possible for visitors with pushchairs and mobility scooters to visit most parts of the cemetery.

Remembered in Arras

Travelled last week to Arras in Northern France, a very attractive little town which had to be largely rebuilt after the First World War. The following local men that I am aware of are listed on the Arras Memorial:-

ANDREWS Arthur James Pte 7th Buffs died 3/5/17 aged 20. Mother at 12 Montefiore Cottages
BADDERLY Arthur Leslie Pte 5th Dragoon Guards died 10/4/17 aged 22 Liived at 1 Guildford Lawn
BEER Wilfrid Reuben Pte 1st Buffs died 21/3/18 aged 25. St George’s plaque
(worked at Ramsgate Sands Station)
BISHOP Archibald Thomas Rifleman 1st/8th London Regt (PO Rifles) died 21/5/16 aged 22
BROCK John Paddon Pte 12th Middlesex Regt died 03/05/17. Chatham House
COX Elgar Aylesbury Corp 6th Buffs died 11/4/17 aged 21. Parents 28 Vale Rd
DOLMAN Philip Walter W Pte 1st/5th Sherwood Foresters died 01/07/17 aged 40
FAGG Arthur Henry Pte 1st Essex Regt died 24/04/17 aged 39
GRIGGS Charles William Pte 8th East Surrey Regt died 03/05/17
HARRIS Stephen Henry Pte RAMC 42nd Field Ambulance died 04/05/17 aged 30
HODGES John Pte 6th Buffs died 11/07/17 aged 46
LAMBERT Christopher Rifleman 1st/9th London Regt died 14/04/17 aged 30
NUNNELEY John Cyril Lnc Corp 2nd Highland Light Infantry died 28/04/17
ORDERS Archibald Lnc Corp 22nd Royal Fusiliers died 29/04/17
POWNEY Alfred Frederick Pte 23rd Royal Fusiliers(London Regt) died 25/03/18
SADLER Frank Pte A Coy 7th Buffs died 03/05/17 aged 29
SIMPSON Stanley Pte 6th Buffs died 09/04/17 aged 27
WARMAN Ernest Petley Lnc Corp W Coy 2nd Royal Fusiliers died 24/04/17 aged 29

Many of these local men died in the Second Battle of Arras, which was a major British offensive from 9th April to 16th May 1917. After the Chantilly Conference of 16 November 1916, where the military leaders decided Allied strategy for the following year, General Nivelle, newly promoted to the post of commander-in-chief of the French Army, and his British counterpart, General Haig, drew up plans for a combined action to breach the German line.
The town of Arras was picked as the theatre of a diversionary offensive. This operation, combined with a large-scale attack in the French sector, was to draw in German reserve troops several days before the start of the French assault, to facilitate the hoped for breakthrough at the Chemin des Dames Ridge. Anxious to avoid a repeat of the slaughter inflicted on Allied troops in the battles of Verdun and the Somme the previous year, the British general staff instructed New Zealand engineers to create a vast underground network of tunnels through which the troops could pass to come up directly in front of the German front line.
By the end of March the tunnelling works were complete and the caves under the town contained more than 24,000 soldiers. The soldiers had to spend prolonged periods in the tunnels so they were equipped with kitchens, water supplies from the mains or wells, and electric lighting throughout.. The Wellington Quarry in Arras is now open to the public and well worth a visit.
The Commonwealth section of the FAUBOURG D’AMIENS CEMETERY near the citadel in Arras was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918. The cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice and contains over 2,650 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 10 of which are unidentified. There are also a few Indian and even some German graves. The adjacent ARRAS MEMORIAL, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, and have no known grave.

The ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL commemorates about 1,000 airmen of the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Flying Corps, and the Royal Air Force who were killed on the whole Western Front and who have no known grave. They include Major Edward (Mick) Mannock, one of the most successful war air aces of World War I, who was shot down over France behind enemy lines in July 1918 but received a posthumous VC. He spent a large part of his childhood in Canterbury and there is a memorial plaque to him on the south wall of the cathedral nave.

Just one local man that I am aware of is listed on the Flying Services memorial. He is also mentioned on St George’s Roll of Honour board.

PENTECOST Charles Gordon 2nd Lt RFC 25th Squadron who died 27/03/18

Ramsgate’s WW1 heritage

Why not join us on one of this years guided tours of the WW1 graves in Ramsgate Cemetery? Ramsgate Cemetery was opened in March 1871 on a pleasant hillside overlooking the town. An extension was added later.  During the First World War most of the men and women who died were buried overseas but nevertheless there are about a hundred WW1 graves in Ramsgate Cemetery. Most of them are marked by CWGC gravestones but there are others which are not.

Continue reading Ramsgate’s WW1 heritage

Old Lawrentians

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

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


On Saturday May 26th 1917 a terrific explosion shook the town of Ramsgate when HMTB No 4 torpedo boat blew up in the harbour. The explosion caused a fire to break out on the ship which later sank. Luckily before the fire reached the magazine sailors and firemen managed to remove most of the ammunition to the fish market on the harbour crosswall. Many houses and shops along the seafront were damaged, but without the quick action of the men who moved the ammunition, at considerable risk to themselves, the damage to the town could have been much worse. Unfortunately a month later, a Zeppelin bombed the fish market Continue reading HMTB4


Ramsgate’s Roll of Honour from WW1 was lost during the Second World War so I am re-creating it in memory of my paternal grandfather who died in France in October 1918. If you go to St George’s Church in Ramsgate you will see the town’s war memorial in front of the main entrance but there are no names listed on it.There are, however, a number of plaques inside the church and other Roll of Honour boards still exist in local schools and churches. Not all the names listed have been found on the CWGC website so I have used local newspapers and street directories to find out more about the families. Stories about survivors are just as interesting. People move around a lot more these days so I have been surprised how many families still live locally a hundred years later. Continue reading LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Plucky Ramsgate lads

Richard AbbottRichard Abbott

There were four brothers in the Abbott family who lived in St Luke’s Avenue.  William, Richard and Alfred were in the army and another brother was in the Navy.The following article appeared in the local paper at the end of September 1916.

Mr and Mrs W Abbott of 21 St Luke’s Avenue , Ramsgate are anxious regarding the safety of their boy, Pte Richard Abbott, of a service Battalion of the Buffs, who has been reported wounded and missing since August 18th. Coincident with the news of his disappearance is revealed a family war service record of an unusually interesting character. The missing soldier enlisted on November 5th, 1914, when he was only 17 years of age. Another son, Shoeing Smith A Abbott, of the RFA enlisted at the same age, but not to be outdone another son driver W Abbott, joined the forces at the age of 15. He is now sixteen years old, but has seen close upon 12 months service at the Front with his battery. At the beginning of August of this year, a surprise meeting at the Front took place between this plucky young Ramsgatonian and the brother who is now missing.The latter brother was unaware that his brother had enlisted, and was astounded at seeing him, under such conditions. Realising that he must have enlisted by giving his age as at least 19, he made efforts to ensure that he would be sent home, and the result is that the lad is now detained for home service.

Continue reading Plucky Ramsgate lads

New memorial to honour men lost on HMS Hampshire

The Orkney Heritage Society is raising funds to restore the Kitchener Memorial tower in Birsay, Orkney, which was erected in 1926, and to add a commemorative wall to the hundreds of crewmen who died aboard HMS Hampshire in 1916.
HMS Hampshire, a Royal Navy cruiser, was carrying Lord Kitchener on a diplomatic mission to Russia when it hit German mines off the coast of Birsay during gale-force conditions. Only 12 men survived the sinking, and the Orkney Heritage Society wants to ensure that those who lost their lives alongside the War Minister are remembered on the memorial.
There is some disagreement over exactly how many men were lost when the HMS Hampshire sank but it is currently believed to be about 735. The exact number may never be known. Local men lost included Ldg Stoker Fred Bean 24 mentioned on St Laurence war memorial, Ldg Telegraphist John Victor Bear 22 from Queen Bertha Road and Harry Maxted from St Peters. Lord Kitchener himself was also a local man as in 1911 he had bought Broome Park near Canterbury and was there on leave when he was called on to form Britain’s army in August 1914.
The memorial is due to be unveiled on the centenary of the sinking on the June 5th 2016.

The Sebag Montefiore family

The King’s message appeared in the local Thanet papers in August 1914. In those early euphoric days, when everyone thought the war would be over by Christmas, local lads marched to the recruiting rallies singing the national anthem. Within days local policemen and a local bank manager were already called up, as were the well-known Ramsgate men, Lord Weigall of Southwood and Lieutenant Robert Sebag-Montefiore from Eastcliff Lodge, the great, great nephew of Sir Moses Montefiore. Robert was married by this time and had a home in London and was elected as a London County Councillor for Battersea and Clapham in March 1913. He served in the Royal East Kent Yeomanry and is buried in the Alexandria (Chatby) Jewish Cemetery No 3. Continue reading The Sebag Montefiore family