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Four in April. Folkestone Embarkations. #FWW.

All of the four men in this blog embarked from Folkestone during the First World War. Each little biography dates from a different year. There is one from each year soldiers embarked from Folkestone. The only other connection is the month of April.

William Holland may have been the first soldier who embarked from Folkestone to die on the Western Front.

No. 2245 Private William Holland
Killed in Action 8th April 1915

The entry for the 8th April 1915 in the 1st Buckinghamshire, Battalion Oxford shire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, gives the location of it’s companies undergoing training by 12th Brigade 4th Division. A company is undergoing instruction, that night, by the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. B Company, by the 2nd Battalion the Monmouthshire Regiment. C Company by the 2nd Battalion the Essex Regiment. D Company by the 1st Battalion the King’s Own (Lancashire) Regiment in billets and the Royal Engineers in the rear trenches. One man, in D Company, is recorded as being wounded and dying later of his wounds.
There is only one man from the 1st/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as dying that day. He is Private William Holland. William Holland is also thought to be the first soldier who crossed from Folkestone to die on the Western Front in the Great War.. He was the son of Charles and Ann Jemima Holland of 13 Chicheley Street Newport Pagnell Buckinghamshire. Private William Holland is buried in strand Military Cemetery, south of Leper (Ypres), and commemorated on the Newport Pagnell War Memorial. He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Embarked at Folkestone on the 10th April 1916.

Private 27752 James Grant, Royal Scots. James was born at 13 South Street, Grantown-on-Spey, on the 17th June 1886. He worked as a mason. He enlisted on the 7th January 1916. James was part of 15th Reinforcements for the 11th Battalion Royal Scots. While at 9 Infantry Base Depot he is awarded 14 days Field Punishment No.1 and forfeits two days pay for being absent from draft. Joins the (11th?) battalion in the field on the 20th May. Under arrest from the 16th September to the 1st October. He is sentence to two years Hard Labour for using insubordinate language to a superior officer and striking a person in whose custody he was. placed. Sentence suspended by General Officer Commanding 4th Army on the 13th October.. Admitted to 45 casualty Clearing Station on the 18th October with pyrexia of unknown origin. Because of this he is transferred back to England in November. He returns to France in April 1917 as part of the 67th Reinforcement draft to the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots. 3rd May he is wounded in action. Under arrest from 25th August to the 3rd September. On the 4th, he is tried by Field General Courts Martial for a Civil Offence. “That is to say, shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm feloniously unlawfully discharging a loaded rifle.” He is sentenced to two years Hard Labour. Taken to Prison on the 30th. On the 24th September 1918 he is released and rejoins his battalion. The balance of his sentence suspended. Wounded in action a few days later on the 28th. James the son of William and Jane Grant died of wounds on the 18th October 1918. He is buried at Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, Pas de Calais, France. His death was reported in the Strathspey Herald on the 24th October 1918. (as reproduced in Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey)
“Died of Wounds”
“ Mr Wm Grant, mason, South Street, is mourning the loss of another member of his family, his eldest son James, who was in the Royal Scots, having succumbed to wounds. A brother was previously killed in action, another was recently discharged from the Army and the youngest son serving in the Navy. Mr Grant’s son-in-law, Private W. Little, Canadians is reportedly killed in action.”


Embarked on April 5th 1917

Private 2893 Robert Alexander Gamble, Australian Imperial Force. Part of 7th Reinforcements 60th Battalion. Joined 5th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples on the 7th. Taken on strength 60 Battalion in the Field on the 15th, Born in Washington, USA. Roberts parents are Alexander John and Margaret Jane Gamble, of “Ellersley,” Queen St., Concord West, Sydney, Australia. He is regarded as a Native of Inverell in New South Wales. He enlists on the 25th September 1916. Robert embarks from Sydney on the A19 “Afric” on the 3rd November 1916. Arriving at Plymouth England on the 9th January 1917 and joins the 15th Training Battalion at Hurdcott. While on board ship he is charged with stealing bread and given 7 Days detention. Shortly after joining the 15th Training Battalion he hesitates to obey an order from a NCO and forfeits 4 days pay. After joining the 60th Battalion in July 1917, Robert attend a Pigeon Course for three days. He is wounded in the left leg and right arm on the 25th September and dies of wounds on the 26th. Robert Alexander Gamble is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. The epitaph on his gravestone reads.

Embarked 5th April 1918.

Charles Edward Ibbetson
West Yorkshire Regiment

Charles Edward Ibbetson attested just before his 18th birthday on the 7th August 1917. At first he is posted to the reserves and not mobilised until the 13th September 1917. arriving at the 6th Young soldier Battalion at Rugely. On his Army Form B 103 this is recorded as “Posted to 6th T.R.B. Rugely” At Brocton he is transferred to the 51st Graduated Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, on the 11th February 1918. He is posted to France and embarks from Folkestone on the 5th April 1918. His first week in France is at “E” Infantry Brigade Depot, Etaples. Posted to the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment he joins them in the Field on the 13th. On the 28th July Charles is wounded in action, a Shot Gun Wound to the right thigh. At first he is admitted to 48 Casualty Clearing Station From there he is sent to 8 General Hospital and on the 17th August back to England. Charles Edward Ibbetson is discharged as “No Longer Physically Fit for War Service” on the 28th February 1919.

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#Folkestone/Shorncliffe, and the American Connection #FWW

This is a repost. The Grass was slightly greener than it is today. The nine all have connections to the USA and are all listed in “The Foreign Burial of American War Dead” By Chris Dickon, I only received a copy of the publication after I had posted the original blog.


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. The Shorncliffe Trust is also doing sterling work promoting the links between Shorncliffe and Canada.

The links with Canada’s southern neighbour are rarely mentioned. Indeed it is difficult to find any acknowledgement that there was an American connection.

John, “Black Jack” Pershing the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force, (A.E.F.) traveled through Folkestone on his way to France. Also remembered for not saying “Lafayette we are here”. With him was Charles Stanton, chiefly not remembered for his famous remark,  “Nous voila, Lafayette“.

Americans also stayed at No.3 Rest Camp on the Leas before marching down Slope Road to the harbour and the ships waiting to take them to France. Two soldiers from the United states 11th Engineering Regiment (Railways) who were to become the first casualties from the A.E.F. were at the rest camp on the Leas. There is also another almost forgotten connection with the United States.

The United States is well known for the respect Americans pay to their war dead. American Great War Cemeteries are impressive places. They are very proud of the role their soldiers played. Yet there is a lost almost forgotten army of American dead. Those that fought in other nations uniforms. They are buried in cemeteries all over the world and ignored by Americans. For some the connection to the United States begs the question of, how do we define nationality, and does it matter? Others there is no doubt of their nationality. These are the Folkestone/Shorncliffe dead with an American connection. All are buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery, all are listed in The Foreign Burial of American War Dead by Chris Dickon.

James Desmond McNulty                             IMG_8054Born in Valley City, North Dakota. killed in the Air Raid 25th May 1917


John Lucius Rumsdell                                                                                                                                       IMG_8051The husband of Letitia M Ramsdell, Brooklyn New York.

George Bates

IMG_8049Son of Norman and Sally Bates of Arkansas. Served in Mexico, presumably with the US Army. Married and lived with his wife in Vancouver. After his enlistment his wife moved to North Wales.

David Gordon, died of wounds received in France.                                                                                                                                                     IMG_8047

Born in Belfast, he was the son of James Gordon of 1 Bunker Hill Court, Charleston, West Virginia.

Ottawa GladmanIMG_8046

Born in Canada, and lived in Chicago. Died of Meningitis.

Charley HansonIMG_8045

Born in Norway, lived in Saskatchewan, married to Caroline Hanson of Fairchild Wisconsin, USA. Dad to six children. Charley had arrived in England on the SS Scandinavian. on the 5th February 1917. He died from illness.

David Gray


Married to Annie Gray of Detroit, Michigan. Wounded on the Somme, he died at Manor Court Hospital, Folkestone.

Bert Arbuckle                                                                                                                                                     IMG_8043

Born in Indiana. Injured in the air raid on the 25th May 1917, he died of wounds the next day.

George Wheeler Armstrong.IMG_8042An American Eagle of the First World War. lots of references to the Americans who flew in the Lafayette Escadrille, few for those who flew with the RAF during the war. Born in the US Virgin Islands. Died in an accident while flying a Bristol F2b.

All nine were fighting for Britain, and it is only important to remember that, and them. When push comes to shove, and you need a helping hand, where people are from doesn’t matter one iota.



S.S. Sussex March 1916 #FWW #FOLKESTONE

24th March 1916

There are no troopship sailings on this day. However one ship was allowed to sail, the S.S. Sussex.

While crossing from Folkestone to Dieppe the S.S .Sussex is torpedoed. Manliffe Francis Goodbody, Enrique and Amparo Grandados, Prince Bahram Mirza Sardar Mass’oud, Maurice Planckert +others were all killed.

Maurice Planckert is buried in Folkestone Old Cemetery, “Victime de la Catastrophe du Sussex.”

IMG_8971 (1)

(Photo Peter Anderson)

The following is an extract from Papers relating to the torpedoing of the S.S. Sussex. United States. Published by the Washington, Government. Print. Office.1916.

From the deposition given by Edna Francis Hilton. (File Number 851.857Su8/50)

“Q. Are there any more remarks you would like to make?

  1. There was a sailing boat coming and then going. There was nothing done to save the lives of the passengers. The lifeboats were in awful condition, there were three holes in the one I was in and there were only four of them. I saw a number of British steamers within the harbor of Folkestone, which I was told were being held on account of the presence of submarines in the channel. It therefore surprises me that the Sussex should have been sent out without escort.

Edna F. Hilton.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, Arthur Hugh Frazier, Second Secretary of the Embassy of the United States of America, at Paris, this 28th day of March,” (1916)1

On the 16th June 1916 in a letter to his sister, Captain E,H.L. Southwell wrote;

“ And oh, I saw the Sussex at Boulogne, with all her bones stove in, without a trace of emotion. I have seen too many ruins before now in this game, and one is very like another; a house that is no house has too often been an everyday sight. And so, when I came here, I found this billet a shade more demolished than anything I thought possible, the whole air rather more triste and sinister; but that was all. I could stand all that, and even the piano (shade of Ivor Atkins !) shattered o bits, and the keys choked with brick-dust; but one ting was just a fraction too much, and when I saw it I confess I caught my breath for a moment; it was a child’s marble, chipped, and past all hope of rolling. . . .”2

1 From the copy held by the Cornell University as reproduce online by the Hathi Trust.

2 Page 196-197 Two Men a Memoir, Oxford University Press 1919.

12/13th December 1916. Australians Embark from Folkestone. #FWW

The Canadians are remembered as embarking from Folkestone in the First World War. Less well known is Australians also embarked from Folkestone, as did Americans in Australian Service.

12th December 1916

Private 5792 George Frost, Australian Imperial Force, 18th Reinforcements 15th Battalion. Crossed from Folkestone on the SS Arundel. George was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA in 1876. A sailor he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on the 15th November 1915 at the Rifle Range, Queensland. Tried by Field General Courts Martial for Desertion on the 6th October 1917. He went absent while on active service on the 21st June 1917 until the 17th July 1917 and going AWOL while under arrest 17th August until the 20th August 1917. Found Not Guilty of Desertion, but Guilty of being Absent Without Leave. He is sentenced to 9 months Imprisonment with Hard Labour in the Military Prison at Rouen. George returns to duty on the remission of the remainder of his sentence on the 12th June 1918 and returns to the 15th Battalion on the 17th June 1918. Reported absent on the 21st July, rearrested 16th August, absent 28th August, traced 15th September, absent 30th September, and again reported absent 15th October. On the 14th January 1919, he is sentenced to 15 months Hard Labour. Some of the sentence is served at No.10 Military Prison Dunkirk. On the 23rd July 1919, he is transferred to prison in Oxford. He embarks at Calais on the “Maid of Orleans” and disembarks at Folkestone, under escort. The remainder of his sentence is remitted from the date of his departure for Australia, 22nd September 1919.

13th December 1916

A reinforcement draft from 6th Training Battalion Australian Imperial Force crossed on the S.S. Princess Henrietta

Private 4683 Walter Benjamin Brown, Ex 5th Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. He crossed to France on the SS Golden Eagle. Part of 12th Reinforcements 17th Battalion Walter is taken on Strength by 17th Battalion on the 18th December 1916. Walter was born in Philadelphia, USA. He enlisted on the 29th of February 1916. Returned to Australia in June 1919.

Private (Acting Corporal?) 6006 James Digby Fowell, Ex 1st Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. 19th Reinforcements 2nd Battalion. Australian Imperial Force. James crossed on the SS Arundel. He arrived at the Australian Division Base Depot on the 14th and joined the 2nd Battalion in the Field on the 18th December.

Private 5322 Ivan Walker Drane, Ex 7th Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, part of the 14th Reinforcements for the 25th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Drane sailed on the SS Victoria. Ivan is killed in action on the 20th September 1917.1 He is buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, the inscription on his grave reads:

Private 5343 Crichton Ivie Gordon, Ex 7th Training Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, part of the 14th Reinforcements for the 25th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Crichton sailed on the SS Victoria. Crichton Ivie Gordon died of wounds on the 16th April 1918.

Private 6062 Harry Robert McGuire, Australian Imperial Force, crossed on the SS Arundale. Part of 19th Reinforcements/1st Battalion. He arrived at 1st Australian Division Base Depot the following day. Taken on Strength of 1st Battalion in the Field on the 18th December. Harry Robert McGuire born in St Louis, USA, he enlisted when he was 45, on the 27th January 1916, in Cowra, New South Wales, Australia. Harry is admitted sick to hospital on the 18th April 1917. Invalided home to Australia suffering from Rheumatism and Age. On the 1st of May 1917.
Private 5643 John Henry Moore, Australian Imperial Force, crossed to Boulogne on the SS Princess Henrietta. Part of 15th Reinforcements/23rd Battalion he arrived at 2nd Australian Division Base Depot the following day. Taken on Strength by the 23rd Battalion on the 18th December. John born in Sacramento, California, USA. Enlisted in Melbourne Australia, on the 22nd April 1916, he was 44 years old. John survived the war.

December 4th. The Changing Face of Embarkations

On the 4th December 1915 a spy and a battalion embark

Marta Hari, Crossed to France on the SS Arundel

The 15th Service Battalion of the Welsh Regiment embark. including Private 20373 Joseph Thomas Walch, and Private 20198 John Whelan,

A year later it was mostly Drafts, Returning Wounded and Reinforcements.

4th December 1916

Private 1427 Romany Roy Gray, 3/1 Norfolk Yeomanry. Joined 17 Infantry Base Depot. Posted to the 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment, allotted a new number 29660. Romany had first embarked to France on the 8th October 1915. Wounded in action he became a Prisoner of War in 1918.

Sergeant 29768 William Walker, Norfolk Regiment. A pre-war, William first enlisted in 1908. From 17 Infantry Base Depot William is posted to the 7th Battalion.
Private 34136 Arthur Westhead, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Posted to the 6th Battalion he joins them on the 12th.

Private 40974 Albert Arthur Wadhams, King’s Own Scottish Borderers. In April 1917 Albert is transferred to the 1st Dragoons.

Private 40975 James Adolphis Warrier, King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Arrived at 21 Infantry Base Depot the following day. Posted to the 9th Service Battalion, he joins them on the 13th January. Attached to the Sanitary Section on the 1st January 1917.

Sapper 2154 John Hunter Brown 8th Field Company Australian Engineers, Australian Imperial Force. He is returning to active service after being hospitalised because of wounds. John is discharged from the Australian Army as being medically unfit in 1919.

Private 2397 Wallace Roy Crichton Australian Imperial Force, ex 12th Training Battalion. Part of 5th Reinforcements 46th Battalion. He proceeds to Boulogne on the SS Princes Victoria. Captured by the Germans, he becomes a Prisoner of War on the 11th April 1917. Badly wounded, his right Leg is amputated. He is repatriated via Holland in January 1918.

21st November 1915 Nature’s Peace.

Just a few of the men from the Royal Warwicks (Birmingham Pals) who embarked from Folkestone on the 21st November 1915
“ “ La paix de la grand nature”
We are taught labouriously to make sorrows for one another and to tear up and harass the earth, but after a single spring, the traces of the past are overwhelmed by a riot of growth “which Labours not,” and in their place spring up the poppies of oblivion. The trenches which in February were grim and featureless tunnels of gloom, without colour or form are already over arched and embowered with green. You may walk from the ruins of a cottage, half-hidden in springing green, and up the Front line trenches through a labyrinth of Devonshire lanes. Before the summer comes again children will play between the trenches as in a garden, hide in strange hollows where old fragments of iron peep out from a wilderness of poppies and corn-flowers. Even the shapeless ruins, where for the moment we are living, you may look up and see a swift dart from a cranny; and all is well…”
(Second Lieutenant Stephen Hewett)
Although it is not known if Second Lieutenant Stephen Hewett crossed to France with the 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Hewett did was serving with them, when he was killed in action on the 22nd July 1916. Second Lieutenant Stephen Hewett has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Company Sargeant Major 14/1052 William Black, 14th Battalion (1st Birmingham Pals) The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. William first enlisted in 1892 and served for 21 years. He re-enlisted on the 25th of September 1914. Suffered from an Inguinal Hernia from the end of April to the first middle of May 1916. Admitted to 45 Casualty Clearance Station 29th August with Myalgia. Invalided back to England on the Hospital Ship St Patrick on the 31st. Transferred to the 2/1st Queens Own Worcester Hussars 30th September 1918. His new Regimental Number is 68299. Demobilised in February 1919.

Private 14/1014 Maxwell Arrowsmith Weston, 14th Battalion (1st Birmingham Pals) The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Wounded in Action 29th July 1916.

Private 16/1223 Samuel Adams, 16th Battalion (3rd Birmingham Pals) The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, crossed with the Battalion. Samuel survived the war but was wounded in 1917 and discharged as no longer being physically fit for war service in April 1918.

The Day David Bowie Embarked from Folkestone #FWW

On the 8th November 1915, David Bowie embarked for France. Bowie would be awarded the Military Medal for bravery during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Included are the Units which embarked and three other soldiers who also embarked on the same day.

Advance Party from 33rd Division.
16th Battalion The Manchester Regiment, part of 90th Brigade, 30th Division. The battalion set off for Folkestone from Amesbury station at 5:30 a.m. As usual, the transport and details left for Southampton.
17th (Service) Battalion (2nd City Pals.) The Manchester Regiment had a choppy crossing.
18th (Service) Battalion. Manchester Regiment, a “none to smooth crossing.”

Private 7599 David Bowie, 16th Battalion The Manchester Regiment. Awarded the Military Medal for Bravery in the Field, during actions on the Somme during July 1916.. Gazetted, London Gazette Supplement 29827, page 11138 Supplement to the London Gazette, 16th November 1916, published 14th November 1916. David is diagnosed with Pyrexia of Unknown Origins on 26th January 1917. Transferred back to England on the 24th of February. For the rest of the war, he served in England, with the Royal Defence Corps, Black Watch and finally the Army Service Corps. Transferred to the Reserves on the 19th February 1919.

Private 6379 Wilfred Gaffney 16th Battalion The Manchester Regiment. He is wounded in action on the 1st July 1916.

Private 17/8428 Harold Bowden, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment. He is admitted to 5 Casualty Clearing Station with Inflammation of the Connective Tissue both ankles on the 13th February 1916. Invalided back to England on the St Patrick on the 2nd March 1916. Discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service on the 28th of September. His disability is listed as “Otitis Media” caused by measles seven years previously.

Private 17/9214 Frederick Finney, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Wounded in action on the 1st July 1916, a gunshot wound to the left hand, Transferred back to the United Kingdom he returns France in November 1916 when he will be posted to the 12th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Wounded in action again in July 1917. He is once more transferred back to the United Kingdom. On the 27th March 1918, he will return to France, again from Folkestone.

Remmemberance Day 2019

I am not a fan of the Quasi-Official Remembrance Day Commemorations. Preferring to visit War Graves/ Memorials in my own time. Continued My father served in the Army for over thirty years so remembrance has always been close to the heart.
Visiting graves memorials and monuments has been a bit of a passion. In Singapore, Malaya, Indonesia, USA, Germany, Poland, Israel, Oman, as well as France, Belgium and the Netherlands I have seen quite a number both great and small.
One of the graves I visit has a First World War connection and it is in Denton, just up the road from Folkestone, Kent, England. It is the grave of Robert William Goddard.
So who was Robert William Goddard?
Before I tell you who he is:
A lot of people will be familiar with the poem by E.A. Mackintosh,
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.
Oh, the letters he wrote you,
And I can see them still,
Not a word of the fighting,
But just the sheep on the hill
And how you should get the crops in
Ere the year get stormier,
And the Bosches have got his body,
And I was his officer.
You were only David’s father,
But I had fifty sons
When we went up in the evening
Under the arch of the guns,
And we came back at twilight
O God! I heard them call
To me for help and pity
That could not help at all.
Oh, never will I forget you,
My men that trusted me,
More my sons than your fathers’,
For they could only see
The little helpless babies
And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying,
And hold you while you died.
Happy and young and gallant,
They saw their first-born go,
But not the strong limbs broken
And the beautiful men brought low,
The piteous writhing bodies,
They screamed “Don’t leave me, sir,”
For they were only your fathers
But I was your officer.
David was in the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
He was killed in action at the German trench during a raid in May 1916. There are at least two accounts of the raid. one is in the War Diary.
” In the evening at 8:10 pm after an artillery preparation, two raiding parties under 2lt Mackintosh and 2Lt Mackay entered German Lines on both sides of the Salient at pt(?)127. 7 Germans were killed by either shot or bayonet +5 dugouts full of Germans were bombed. Also, one dugout was blown up by RE, All our party returned except 1 man who was left dead in German lines  It is estimated German casualties must have been between 60 and 70 Our casualties were 2Lt Mackay slightly wounded, 2 men killed +14 wounded. Two of the wounded have since died”
Another account was written by Ewart Mackintosh and published in
War : the liberator, and other pieces : with a memoir by E A Mackintosh, in 1918
This account describes the death of David.
” I believe we have to leave him” Charles said “He’s a dying man” Charles Macrae looked up with his hand on the boys heart ” No he isn’t”, he said “he’s dead”. They rose and left him lying there on the German parapet; from the right as they ran for the old trench came the clatter of a machine gun.
The account ends with
“”Whats up Tagg? ” said the Major
“I’m going back to give those swine hell Major” he yelled, and was knocked sideways by a vigorous clout on the head. “You young fool” said the Major “What you want is drink”and led him down to HQ where his men were already assembled. First of all he went to the dressing station and found there men lying and sitting, to hear from one that he had bayonetted two Germans, from another that he had bombed such dugouts, and to realise that the raid had really succeeded although it was a while before they found out how well.
At HQ was Sgt Godstone sitting on the steps with his head in his hands-it was from his section that the dead had come The Co gave them both strong whiskies…”
Sgt Godstone’s real name was Robert William Goddard MM and Bar.
Robert survived the war. He lived in Denton, near Folkestone, Kent where he was a farmer. Robert lived to be 90 years old and died in 1982. As far as I know, the Goddards still have a farm there, near where Robert is buried.


Just Passing Through. #FWW #Folkestone #Shorncliffe.

These are just a few of the impressions from soldiers who travelled through the Shorncliffe Folkestone Area.
Father Benedict Williamson went to France with the 47th Division. This is from his book “Happy Days” In France and Flanders with the 47th and 49th Divisions by Benedict Williamson. With an introduction by Lieu-Col. R.C. Feilding. D.S.O.. N&M press. Reprint (original published 1921) pages 1 and 2
He caught the leave train at Victoria Station on the 22nd May 1917. Three days before the Gotha bombing of Tontine Street.
” There is silence all the way down, only broken as the train runs alongside the embarkations quay on the pier at Folkestone.” The train arrived at Folkestone awhile before embarking and on page 2, he goes on to say, “…so we scattered all over the town to pass the time. The day was warm and oppressive with a little rain falling occasionally, a mist hanging over the sea, through which at intervals the sun strove to cast its rays fitfully. The boom of the guns now and then rolled in from the shore from somewhere far out in the Channel. Folkestone looked much as it always has, save for the crowds of khaki everywhere. A long column of W.A.A.C.s on a route march passed us looking very smart in their new khaki uniforms, moving along at a good swinging pace. About 3 o’clock we turn once more to the embarkation office, and thence to the boat. It was the usual crowd of officers and men returning from leave, a few nurses and half a dozen W.A.A.C.s, all very silent, as is always the case with the returning leave boat.”

This is from   This Man’s War; the Day-by-Day Record of an American private, page 29. … Minder, Charles Frank. Hathi Trust online. The Americans were billetted ten to a room and slept on straw mattresses while they were in Folkestone.

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Earlier on pages 25-27 Minder mentions his arrival at Folkestone at 4:30 on the morning of the 29th April 1918. Woken up by the Guard on the train hollering ” Change”., and mentioning how quiet Folkestone was at that time in the morning, as they marched through the town to the Rest Camp at Clifton Terrace. His billets were opposite Birchfield which he refers to as “Birchfield Mansion”. After a good breakfast, they are given two hours to visit the town if they so wish. Minder refers to this as “Two hours of freedom”.  Folkestone is described as a small city and a wonderful quaint town. The English being very polite and kind. Like a lot of Americans in a pre-decimal age Pounds, Shillings and Pence was found to be confusing. Phrases such as “Tuppence ha’penny” and “Shilling threpence”, only adding to this confusion. Shops did take American money but gave British money as change. He describes the after-effects of the town being bombed the year before.                                                                                                                                              ” You should see some of the houses. One of them was completely cut in half, as if you had taken a knife and sliced it off. Some of the houses were altogether smashed away, nothing left but huge piles of stone.”

It was the dawn of the age of total war.

Thomas Dineson V.C.  who embarked from Folkestone the previous month to Minder left just a single word to describe Folkestone, “Dull”.