Friends of old Folkestone cemetery
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Folkestone Stories

War Graves - WW1 & WW2

During First World War, the first line of medical treatment for a wounded soldier occurred in, or very near to, the front line. Those with more severe wounds would be moved further behind the battle area to an Advanced Dressing Station and some would be moved back to UK to be treated in a military hospital. Some of course not surviving their horrific wounds to finally die here in the UK. There are 42 war graves in this cemetery (not all identified yet - so number to be confirmed).  

Sources for stories

Some of the stories in this section are transcripts from website or blogs often written by family members or history societies. These are always identified and the actual source is given. We are very lucky to have Peter Anderson Historian working closely with us and he has also allowed us to reproduced many of his historical accounts here, written in his own inimitable style. Full credits will be given to Peter when using one of his articles with a link to the original.  Thank you Peter.

More Folkestone Stories

Folkestones ‘Few’: It is a rarely told, not unknown, nor forgotten, part of Folkestone’s First World War history.  Untold and overlooked.  Theses are just some of the few who took part in the air war. The first is from Folkestone’s Old Cemetery and is named on the War Memorial. Not all are on the War Memorial. This is Folkestone and they do things differently here…..more One Day While Not On The Somme 1916: Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Swinton crosses from Folkestone to Boulogne. Ernest Swinton is credited with being the father of the “Tank.” here are his thoughts on the day. “On that fateful morning-Friday, Sept 15, 1916 - I boarded the crowded boat-train at Charing cross. .more.  Second Lieutenant W. G. R. Murphy, (Chinese) Labour Corps. William Murphy was born in the Parish of Northwood on the Isle of Wight. His father was a Scot from Edinburgh. On his attestation papers his nationality would be listed as “English”. more WW1 Folkestone the Harbour Cafe and the canteens: Not sure what was actually available at the cafe during the war, or how many soldiers were served. It is known that the soldiers free buffet at Victoria Station served over 6 million cups of tea with, from accounts read, mostly rock cakes. more WW1 Folkestone One day in November 1915 the day the SS Lusitania sank: The day was pretty much like any other down at the harbour in Folkestone, troops were disembarking from trains and embarking onto the troop ships. more W Moss, Every Tombstone Tells a Story: I like talking to the dead, they don’t answer back. I like stories about the dead from the First War War. Sure I like the stock in trade stories of bravery, the tales of valour. The glory as well as the sadness of it all. more Through Folkestone to die at Arras: I do not know much about Francis William Ground, only what is on the memorial and on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. That in itself is more than can be found out about many soldiers. William joined as a private in the 18th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, part of the University and Public Schools Brigade, in 1914. more Shorncliffe and the Great Folkestone Air Raid 25th May 1917: Six bombs fell on the Army Camp at Shorncliffe. Eighteen people were killed by these bombs. There are five other victims buried in the cemetery there. Two are civilians. more More than living memory war graves: One of the good and successful First World War commemoration projects of 2016 was the Living Memory Project. An attempt largely successful to get members of the public to visit war graves in the UK. It is a relatively easy thing to do. Go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web page. more HMHS Anglia: The Anglia went down just off the coast of Folkestone 17th Nov 1915. more Canadian War Graves at Shorncliffe: With the focus on Vimy this year it is the Canadian graves that will be getting the most interest. more An account of the Gotha bombing: (also known as the Folkestone Air Raid) including lots of detail. more Pictures of the 100th Anniversary of the Folkestone Air Raid
The Grosser Kurfurst: During exercises off Folkestone on 31 May 1878, a squadron of German navy ships was sailing in two columns destined for Plymouth, with the flagship SMS Koenig Wilhelm and SMS Preussen in one division and SMS Grosser Kurfurst making up the other……The larger Koenig Wilhelm tore into the side of her companion, spilling sailors into the sea, ripping off armoured plating and tearing large holes into Grosser Kurfurst. Despite enormous effort, 284 of her crew drowned….full story here.  WW1 in 3 minutes War Memorials, not all were heroes: These blogs are called WW1 in 3 minutes because they are short, sometimes it is WW1 in 3 minutes. You are free to worry about this if you wish. I and Alfred E. Neuman have much the same attitude. You may worry, but it really is not going to change a thing. What is this blog about? Oh War Memorials, they are everywhere and breeding. People get a bit het up about them. Some people do not understand what was so Great, about the Great War- it was very big folks, a great as in large…full story here The Great Folkestone Air Raid / The Gotha Bombing: 25th May 1917 was a Friday. It had been a warm and sunny late Spring day, and the shops in Tontine Street were still doing a brisk trade, although it was nearly six o clock. It was Whitsun Bank Holiday on Monday and many wives were purchasing extra provisions for the long week end….. full story here.A Folkestone (ish) in a Perfect World, would have been a Love Story: An American boy meets an English girl. He is a few years older and he sweeps her off her feet. A few weeks after he arrives in England they marry. It is now for them a perfect world. Nothing else matters they are young and so much in love . . . .full story here Folkestone WW1 in 3 mins: It will soon be upon us, and we will not be allowed to forget, how a man and his donk took on the might of the Ottomans and single handedly stormed the Dardanelles…more Folkestone WW1 Great_War Commemorations in Folkestone: Sgt Mackenzie was a Seaforth Highlander who passed through Folkestone with his battalion in 1915. In April 1917 he was killed at Vimy Ridge. MacKenzie was not awarded any medals for valour, or bravery…more WW1 Folkestone. One of the dead from Folkestone: Francis Considine, here you lie in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. forgotten for the best part of a hundred years. After your Mum and Dad died no one in your family knew you had ever existed. You were not even a faded photograph...more WW1 Folkestone. 1st July 1916, and the Organist has just died: I am sitting in the churchyard of St Mary and St Eanswythe in Folkestone. The church is all locked up as is normal during the week, no one is about. It is going to be another beautiful day here in Folkestone on the south coast of England. more The Grosser Kurfurst and the Folkestone Air Raid 25th May 1917: On the 31st May 1878 people gathered on the Leas to watch three German warships exercising in the English Channel. The Preussen, Koenig Wilhelm and the Grosser Kurfurst. The people on the Leas were enjoying seeing the manoeuvres of the ships. Suddenly their joy turned to disbelief . . .more The Somme and Gotha bombing connection: This is a gravestone and a memorial stone. This year (2016) it is one of the most important memorials in Folkestone Old Cemetery. Although I'm sure most people have no idea why. This year is the centenary of the 1st July 1916 and the start of the First Battle of the Somme. ….more Folkestone/Shorncliffe, and the American Connection: Much has been written about the Canadian connection with Folkestone during the Great War. the connection is still commemorated every year on the 1st of July in a touching ceremony at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. ….more The Forgotten Adoption 9th August 1918: Prior to the Battle of the Somme the 20th Battalion Manchester Regiment moved out of Morlancourt towards Fricourt, along the road now named after them. They had been billeted along part of the road since January 1916 the Manchesters attacked Fricourt on the 1st July 1916. During the battle of the Somme, in 1916, Morlancourt was relatively quiet. Field Ambulances were based there.….more Folkestone/Shorncliffe, and the American Connection: Much has been written about the Canadian connection with Folkestone during the Great War. the connection is still commemorated every year on the 1st of July in a touching ceremony at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery…..more The Deserter who Attested at Sea: Charles James Player, born on November 11th, 1884, in Aldershot. An ex-soldier he had served over six years in the 21st Lancers. He worked as a groom. Before February 1915 he had moved to Canada…..more  American died of wounds received on the Somme 1916: David Gray  an American by marriage. He is listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead by Chris Dixon. An American by marriage. He could have stayed out of the war. Like thousands of others, he chooses not to. David’s parents lived in Ontario, Canada. This may have influenced his decision to join. more  David Sutherland’s Sargeant:  In Memoriam. Private D. Sutherland - killed in Action in the German Trench 16 May 1916, and the Others who Died. So you were David's father, And he was your only son, And the new-cut peats are rotting, And the work is left undone, Because of an old man weeping, Just an old man in pain, For David, his son David, That will not come again. more  The US enters the war: There is a view that the Americans arrived just in time for the victory parades that followed the First World War, and there is no need to commemorate their arrival this side of the pond. This is not so. On the 7th May 1915, the Lusitania is sunk by the U-20. 1198 passengers including 139 Americans drown. Two days later the New York Times reports President Wilson sees . . more The story of Folkestone cemetery: The people that come to stay at Cheriton Road  come from far and wide and from all walks of life. But lets start at the beginning where all good story’s start. more 100 Years since the Gotha Bombing - a collection of accounts of the Folkestone Air  Raid which happened 100 years ago on 25th May. more Left for France 10th May 1915 - James Pollock is awarded a Victoria cross for his  conduct and action at Little Willie trench during the battle of Loos in September 1915. Donald Fraser was born in Nethy Bridge the son of Donald and May Fraser of Station Cottages, Blair Athol, Perthshire. more Recipes - wartime recipies more  So Who was Leslie Swain? Missing the Connection - It is now April 2017 we have just commemorated Vimy and the Battle of Arras. Which happened "Over in France". Soon we will be commemorating the arrival of the Americans, "Over There." Every 11th November we commemorate the dead, who died, "Over There." We look at the names on War Memorials. more Postcard to Mum Down Under - The morning of the 17th April 1917 was to be William's last.  An Australian Infantryman he was due to return to France from Folkestone that day.  more The South African Connection - All but two of the men named below were British, although they are now regarded as South African or Zimbabwean. the other two both from the South African Native Labour Corps, were Native South Africans. more Captain Gilchrist - Captain Robert Crooks Gilchrist the youngest son of Brigadier- General Robert Alexander Gilchrist, Indian Army, was born in Aurungabad, Deccau, India on 24 June 1878. Robert educated at Dover College and the Royal Military Acadamy Sandhurst where he passed with honours. more Anzac Day - The 25th April is the day Australia, New Zealand, as well as a few small Pacific Nations, commemorate their war dead. Originally the day was set aside to remember the dead of the ANZAC at Gallipoli but has since been expanded to include all Australian and New Zealand war dead. more Shorncliffes other Air Raid victims - Not quite as well known is that 13 other Canadian Soldiers all from the Canadian Field Artillery who were killed in an earlier air raid were buried there. more
The ‘Friends’ are a volunteer group formed to protect, preserve and promote interest in this lovely old Victorian cemetery.