Folkestone did not become a military Port until the end of March 1915, but it was still a port and a main route to France. Most men who embarked are relatively lesser known. The following are all extracts from a more extensive piece, covering the entire war, currently nearly 800 pages long.
Often ignored in the town is the American contribution to the war, and the number of Americans who embarked for France from here in Folkestone. Two notable Americans embarked from Folkestone in October 1914. They were –
On the 7th October, Clarence V. Mitchell an American who went to France to be a volunteer Ambulance Driver. He wrote, “With a Military Ambulance in France,” which is a collection of letters he sent to his parents. Crossed to France on the SS Sussex.
and on the 20th, Richard Norton. The founder of the American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps, also known as the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps.
In October 1915 two Brigades, the 107th and the 108th from 36th (Ulster) Division embarked.
Including on the 4th October the,
11th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, (South Antrim Volunteers) The battalion formed up on the parade ground at St Lucia Barracks on the 4th October 1915. From St Lucia barracks they marched to Borden station. 108th Brigade Headquarters, Battalion Headquarters, A, and B companies entrained on the first train which left at 5:10 p.m., C, and D companies entrained on the next train which left at 5:35 p.m.. The blinds were drawn and with only one stop, location unknown, the trains headed for Folkestone harbour. At the harbour the battalion embarked on the S.S. Onward. At 9:35 p.m. the Onward headed for Boulogne.
On the 9th,
49th Battalion ( Edmonton Regiment) Canadian Infantry, 3rd Canadian Division, crossed on the S.S. Golden Eagle. Two other Canadian Battalions also embarked from Folkestone in October 1915. They were the 4th and 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Both fought as unmounted Infantry.
Among the individuals who left from Folkestone were,
On the 2nd October,
Lance Corporal 9149 Robert Urquhart, Cameron Highlanders. Robert first embarked for France from Southampton in August 1914. Not known why he returned to the United Kingdom but he is now returning to France. He Wounded in Action in August 1916 and again in April 1917. After the war he served in India.
On the 4th.
Private 3887 Cunningham Gray, 13th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.. Posted to the 11th (Service) Battalion. On the 8th of May he is admitted to Hospital with P.U.O. (Pyrexia of Unknown Origins) and is transferred back to England on the Hospital Ship St Andrews. He will embark again from Folkestone, for France once more on the 4th August 1916.
Private S/9079 William Weir, 3rd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. Possibly posted to the 10th Battalion. He joined (10th?)Battalion in the field on the 15th. Invalid back to the United Kingdom on the Hospital Ship Ian Brydel with “Sprained Ankles” on the 6th November 1915. He is discharged on the 7th February 1916 because he made a mis-statement as to his age on enlistment.(Army Form B 178)
Private 111020 Kennedy Gideon Francis Baldwin 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada. His parents are recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as John E. and Annie W. Baldwin, of 11, Tetlow St., Boston, Mass., U.S.A. Although his attestation papers give an address in New Brunswick for his mother. Known to have been at Shorncliffe, he was temporarily promoted to Acting Lance Corporal while there. He reverted to Private before going to France. Transferred to 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles on the 2nd January 1916. Promoted to Corporal in the field on the 17th November 1915. He is killed in action on the 2nd June 1916. Corporal 111020 Kennedy Gideon Francis Baldwin is buried in Bedford House Cemetery, Belgium.
In October 1916
Units include the 184th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery.
On the 3rd
Private 5456 James Grant, 6th (Reserve) Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. He joined 34 Infantry Base on the 4th. Transferred to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion York and Lancs. Posted to the 13th Battalion. Wounded in action on the 11th September 1917. A gun shot wound to the right buttock. He is transferred to the United Kingdom on the 16th September.
Private 8399 George Waterhouse, 5th (Reserve) Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He joins 5th Battalion in the Field on the on the 22nd October. Gassed by Gas shell and wounded in a leg on the 29th October 1917 he is transferred to England at the beginning of December 1917. On 18th July 1918 he will again embark from Folkestone.
Private 27964 Thomas Smith, The Royal Scots. Returning to France after being Shell Shocked. He had first embarked from Folkestone on the 7th June. This time he joins 20th Infantry Base Depot on the 12th posted to the 13th Battalion.. On the 27th October he is posted from 20th Infantry Base to the 16th Battalion and joins the Battalion in the Field on the 1st November. Reported missing on the 28th April 1917 and a Prisoner of War from the same day on the 4th September 1917. Thomas, age 22, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Smith, of 20, Marketgate, Arbroath, Forfarshire dies on the 11th December 1918 while a Prisoner of War at Lumburg in Germany. He is buried at Berlin South-Western Cemetery
Lance Bombardier 67823 Arthur Gaddes, Royal Garrison Artillery. Served in 185th Battery. Demobilised June 1919.
In 1917 Individuals including
One the 1st
Private 12338 E Urquhart, Seaforth Highlanders. Previously served in the Middle East and invalided home in December 1916. Posted to France on the 25th May 1917 he joined 18 Infantry Base Depot and is posted to the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders on the 10th June. Sent back to the United Kingdom near the end of July suffering from Pyrexia of Unknown Origin. He is embarking to France for the final time. Discharged from the Army on the 14th March 1918.
Private 108436 Narcissus Walker, Machine Gun Corps. Narcissus attested on the 10th December 1915 in the King’s Royal Rifles and was posted to the reserves the next day. It was not until the 1st May 1917 that he was Mobilised and posted to the Depot at Winchester. On the 2nd August 1917 he is transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. Embarking for France at Folkestone on the 8th October he joins the Machine Gun Corps Base Depot at Camiers the next day. Posted to 237 Company Machine Gun Corps he joins them in the Field on the 11th. Narcissus is buried by a shell explosion on the 7 November 1917 and injures his head. Evacuated via the casualty evacuation train back to England he is discharged as physically unfit for war service in June 1918.
Private 106939 George Cameron Whyte, Machine Gun Corps. George had already served in France. He had arrived there on the 12th August 1914. When he embarked at Southampton, as Driver 29727, Army Service Corps. Transferred back to England on the Hospital Ship Cumbria on the 30th December 1916 suffering from Vicarious Veins. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps in June 1916. This time he joins 188 Company, Machine Gun Corps in the field on the 2nd November 1917. Admitted to 150(?) Field Ambulance with NYD (Not yet Diagnosed). He is transferred back to England on the Hospital Ship St Denis on the 9th December 1917. Illness diagnosed as “Myalgia” when hospitalised in the United Kingdom.
Private 38923 Harry Ibberson, York and Lancaster Regiment. Prior to enlistment Ibberson worked as a bottle maker. He enlisted on the 11th December 1915 at the age of 29 years and 3 months. Ibberson, was not mobilised until the 20th November 1916. The reason for this is not known. Perhaps it was because of his flat feet and bad teeth which were recorded when he enlisted. Two days after Ibberson’s mobilisation he was posted to the 3rd Reserve Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment. The 3rd was a training battalion for the York and Lancaster’s. On the 10th of February 1917 Ibberson is posted to the Base Depot of the British Expeditionary Force in France. He embarked from Folkestone on the same day arriving in Boulogne later in the day. The following day he was posted from the 34th Infantry Brigade Depot at Etaples to the 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. On the 1st March Ibberson was again posted, this time to the 7th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. On the 12th June he fell ill with a “Not Yet Diagnosed” fever. By the 22nd of June this had turned into mild influenza and he was at No.3 Canadian Stationery Hospital. After being transferred to No.2 Canadian Stationery Hospital Ibberson is sent back to England on the 28th June 1917. From the 13th September 1917 until the 22nd he is under arrest for desertion. Found guilty by District General Courts Martial he is sentenced to detention for one year. The balance of the sentence is remitted by the General Officer in Command Northern District on the 12th October 1917. On the 14th October 1917 he is again posted to France and once again he embarks from Folkestone. Harry is also posted to 34 Infantry Base Depot arriving there on the 15th October. This time though he is transferred to the Army Ordnance Corps on the 7th November 1917. On 2nd October 1918 Harry is granted leave to the UK via Boulogne so quite possibly returns to France from Folkestone on a third occasion on the 16th October. He returns home from Calais for the last time 16th February 1919.
Private 205095 George Frederick Tidey, 3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. George Frederick Tidey enlisted in the 3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, at Watford, on the 25th May 1917, he is 37 years old. After training he is set overseas and embarks at Folkestone on the 31st October. He spends two weeks at 17 Infantry Brigade Depot, Etaples, before joining the 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. He is allocated a new number 41211. He develops Trench Feet in January 1918 and is sent back to England on the 26th January. Sent up to Edinburgh he will spend 46 days in the Edinburgh War Hospital. The rest of his army service is spent in England. He is demobilised on the 4th February 1919
During October 1918
On the 10th
Private 57723 Alexander Stuart Raeburn, Hampshire Regiment. Posted to the 15th Battalion on the 31st. Joins the Battalion in the field on the 5th November. Accidentally wounded, a gun shot wound to the right foot on the 27th November 1918.
Private 23030 Edward Albert White, 3rd Reserve Battalion. Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Posted to “D” Infantry Base Depot which he joined on the 15th. Posted to the 2nd Battalion on the 18th. He joins “B” Company 2nd Battalion in the Field on the 20th. Edward had first embarked to France from Southampton in 1916 and had been transferred back to England at the beginning of June 1918 suffering from Trench Fever. He is now returning to the Front-line.
On the 29th a draft for the Grenadier Guards embarked from Folkestone.
Private 33481 Edward Nolan, Grenadier Guards. Edward Nolan married Mary Jane Bradburn on the 7th March 1914. They were to have three children before the end of hostilities, John born 4th February 1914, Frances born 23rd August 1915, and, Walter born 29th June 1917. Before Nolan enlisted on the 10th December 1915 he was a Police Constable. At first he was posted to the Army reserves and not mobilised until the 25th April 1918. Nolan was posted to the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards on the 29th October 1918 the same day he embarked from Folkestone to Boulogne. At first he joined the Guards Division Base Depot on the 31st October 1918. The next day he was with the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards at the front. He returned to the UK with the Battalion from Dunkirk on the 4th March 1919. On the 12th April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to the reserves. He was discharged from the reserves 31st March 1920. Edward Nolan was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Private 32126 Joseph William Wain, Grenadier Guards. Joseph at first joined the Guards Division Base Depot on the 31st October 1918. On the 4th November he joined the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards in the field.1
Private 33001 George Hillman Wakelin, Grenadier Guards. George at first joined the Guards Division Base Depot on the 31st October 1918. The next day he was with the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards at the front.