There I was with my First World War Goody Bag. Oxfam had done their bit, jelly Babies and dog biscuit were provided. after a brief introduction I thought I should mention I was not a local historian. I am many things, but not local. I only live here. being an Army Brat it is veni, vidi, vici, and leave, other places to conquer. mention was made of the 19 educational establishments attended, the one decent history teacher, Quackers Smith, the one superb teacher, Mr Millinship, and, Raf Samuels, and Prof Keirnan. Discovered that one person in the assembled multitude knew Raf. At this stage I should mention that “Multitude” is roughly a bakers dozen. The talk kicked off with a brief spiel about the registration number of a car, A111118, and a warning that to beware of it because the driver seems intent on starting a war. The coincidence between the number and the end of the war was also commented on. food in the trenches. The memories veterans had of the smell of freshly cooked bacon. That the smell was dead burnt bodies. The dog biscuit was the nearest to a hard tack biscuit available in the shops in Folkestone. One brave member of the audience volunteered to try it. Sadly the dog biscuit proved unbreakable and therefore uneatable. The jelly babies, first produced in 1918 as “Peace Babies ” were much appreciated. Moving on to a few names, Flora Sandes who left from Folkestone, along with Konowal VC, who was the only Ukrainian to win the VC, Charles MacKenzie, the only First world War Soldier to have a lament written for him. The Goody bag was raided.
The first item produced was a machine gunners jacket, Folkestone has the National Memorial to the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry). The items in the bag are produced at random so this is not the order they appeared in the talk. Items include a set of medals for a soldier who may have been in Folkestone, but were of interest because the included Pip, Squeak, and Wilfred, long service, World War II, and Indian Independence, the soldier retired from the Gurkha Regiment which is now the locally based regiment. a book of names served as an introduction to the names in the books from the harbour mole cafe and the reasons why it is unlikely that people will discover the name of their ancestor in the books. the exceptions being if their ancestor was famous or awarded a gallantry medal such as the VC. The reasons why it would be difficult to find out if a particular soldier was ever in Folkestone. A entrenching tool which belonged to a soldier we know was in Folkestone was also produced. Also in the goody bag was a collection of shell cases, so a mention was made of casualties killed and how they died. Artillery being the main killing weapon. a copy of the speech Kipling gave in Folkestone and an unpublished war poem came out of the bag. So along with the Empire’s poet, Sassoon, Owen, and McCrae got a mention. The difference between poetry and history, along with bad history such as “Oh What a Lovely War” being included in this section. Time being short, and hour for a talk is plenty, a picture of Folkestone’s contribution to victory-the life preserver from the cross channel boats, being worn by the soldiers who had just broken the Hindenburg Line was the last item. Thus allowed a wee bit of praise for the 46th division. second rate, second class, and second to none.
Could have gone on for hours, don’t forget you can support all this and more at, http://www.gofundme.com/dm8nes