The Taylor family lived in St David’s Road in Ramsgate. Three brothers Frank, Percy and Charles all saw active service during WW1. Frank was born in 1895 and died in 1980. At the age of nineteen he had been working as an apprentice butcher in the London Central Meat Company in Broadstairs High Street when he joined the Royal Artillery in 1914.
Frank saw active service during the Gallipoli campaign (also known as the Dardanelles campaign) against the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and in Mesopotamia. He recalled incidents of the Ghurka soldiers sneaking up during the night to cut the ligaments of the Turks’ horses to hamper their progress.
All three brothers thankfully returned home after the war. Frank raised three children and became manager of the butcher’s shop where he had worked before the war. He was later able to open his own shop in St. Peter’s in 1934.
His wife Irene worked as a dressmaker in Margate, and aged fifteen, remembered Zeppelins coming in over the town.
Their son Ken Taylor still lives in St Peter’s today.
Saturday July 10th 1915
Anti-Gas respirators – Be prepared for Zep raids. Urgent necessity to avoid gas fumes. Self-fitting and practical: gives full protection: 6 1/2d each. Call and see them. Do not delay. A.Winter. Outfitter. 19 King Street, Ramsgate.
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
The Thanet Advertiser October 9th 1915
The Mayor of Ramsgate announced that the Thanet Motor Ambulance paid for by public subscription was complete and ready for the Front. The ambulance would leave the premises of F J Wraight, the coach-builder on Monday and would be taken to Ramsgate Fire Station for public inspection 10am until 11am. The vehicle was built according to the latest model and would accommodate a driver, attendant and eight patients.
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.
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
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
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.
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