During World War 1, millions of British and overseas soldiers, sailors and airmen crossed over to France by ship from Folkestone. They were joined by thousands of women, including an ever-increasing army of nurses, heading off to tend to the wounded in hospitals behind the front lines.
As they marched down the Road of Remembrance and round to Folkestone Harbour, the soldiers, in full kit and carrying their rifles, formed long snaking queues as they waited to board the troopships to France.
Sometimes there was time to visit the Harbour Canteen, a small cafe run by dedicated volunteers, including sisters Florence and Margaret Jeffrey and Mrs Napier Sturt. Here they received a friendly welcome, a free cup of tea or coffee, a sandwich or a bun.
Image courtesy of Kent County Council (Folkestone Library)
The article suggests that the cafe was well known and visited by many people.
By the end of the war, six large volumes had been completed. It included the names of prime ministers, military leaders including Marshall Foch and Sir Douglas Haig, even the Prince of Wales… but most of all the names of thousands of ordinary people.
J Watts of the 113th Battery Royal Field Artillery signed his name on 30 July 1915. He paid tribute to his fellow soldier Sergeant Ernest Hor’ock by sticking in a newspaper cutting of him being awarded the Victoria Cross (the British Army’s highest military honour) by King George V himself.
One of the final pages of the book, is underlined Armistice Day 11 Nov. At 11am, on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, after 4 brutal years of war, and the loss of millions of lives… the guns at last fell silent. These volumes stand In Undying Memory to all who died in the Great War.
Images courtesy of Kent County Council (Folkestone Library)