In May 1915 the loss through an explosion of HM Auxiliary Ship Princess Irene in Sheerness Harbour on Thursday brought grief, sudden and overwhelming, into many Ramsgate homes. Several shipwrights from the port who had left Ramsgate recently to undertake Government work were on board the vessel, which was undergoing re-fitting.
Telegrams received at their homes on Thursday prepared the families for the terrible news, advising them to travel to Sheerness at once, and the list of dead posted outside the dockyard gates at night confirmed the tragic facts. Continue reading HM Auxiliary Ship Princess Irene
Despite losing one of her sons, Captain Robert Montefiore, earlier in the year in August 1915 Mrs Sebag-Montefiore held the annual sale in her garden on the Eastcliff at Ramsgate. Money was raised for the Thanet Women’s Aid Association in support of poor people and young girls who found themselves destitute through no fault of their own. In the sixteen years of its existence it had never been more needed than when the men were away fighting at the Front.Others raised funds for Christmas gifts, books and newspapers to send to the troops. Many organizations distributed food, clothing and gifts to the families of soldiers and sailors, as well as to women displaced from their homes by wartime service. Continue reading Fund raising in Ramsgate
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
In September 1915 Mothercraft clubs to promote the health and welfare of babies were being started all over the country. Two opened up in Margate and Ramsgate opened theirs in September 1915 followed by Broadstairs and St Peter’s in November 1915. The welfare of infants was a question of great national importance and every encouragement was given to organisations which sought to help and educate the mother to bring up healthy children. Continue reading Thanet’s women doing their bit
Women doctors were rejected at first by the government, so many women turned to nursing or voluntary work in hospitals and began to play a valuable part in the war effort. As they nursed the wounded Tommies they felt close to their own brothers, fiancés and fathers who were fighting overseas. Continue reading Dr Grace Dundas
On 22nd August 1917 Thanet witnessed one of the most spectacular air battles of the war above English soil. About a dozen planes in fan formation appeared from the direction of Ramsgate and the North Foreland at about half past ten in the morning. For nearly half an hour thousands of people watched the German planes struggling to escape from the trap into which they had blundered. A remorseless shrapnel barrage from the land guns greeted the invaders. A squadron of British planes was already up in the air ready to receive the unwelcome visitors and the smoke from the gunfire momentarily obscured the planes from sight. Continue reading Spectacular air battle in skies over Thanet
Encouraged by the local newspaper something of a local competition developed as to which family had the most men at the Front. In 1915 Mrs Todd of Princes Street in Ramsgate had a son and eleven grandsons on active service, while Mrs Goldfinch of Model Cottages in King Street had five sons in the army. Private Miller of the 9th Buffs was mentioned as one of the 14 members of his family who had enlisted, including 3 sons, 4 brothers-in-law, 4 cousins and 2 nephews all except two of whom came from Ramsgate!! Even Mrs Sebag-Montefiore up at East Cliff Lodge had five sons away fighting. Captain Robert did not come back. Continue reading Mother’s Pride
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
Throughout the summer of 1914 the local Ramsgate branches of the Territorial Army continued to meet for their weekly training and drill practice. According to the announcements in the Thanet Advertiser of 6th June 1914 the Left Section 3rd Kent Battery 3rd Home Counties Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery commanded by Second Lieutenant Chard met on Monday evenings for a lecture, Tuesdays for NCOs re-drilling and harness fitting, Wednesdays for signaller’s practice, Thursdays for section gun drill and harness instruction and Friday for Semaphore signalling and gun laying. No meetings on Saturdays but early Sunday morning there was drill order. Continue reading Left, right, left right!
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