Old cemeteries are by their nature interesting places. From them, it is possible to find much out about the history of the community buried there. Where the sons and daughters travelled to during their lifetimes. Where they served and died during their end days. I have been spending a little time at Folkestone Old Cemetery. mostly getting to know folk. The next time I move I would like to know some of my neighbours before I move in. Some young people have been clearing a few shrubs and I came across an inscription I had not previously been able to see, it is on the memorial in the first photo.
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. Rapid promotion followed and by the time the battalion went to France he was a serjeant. The U.P.S boarded the train to Folkestone harbour at Ludgershall. the History of the Royal Fusiliers “U.P.S.” (Formation and Training) mentions Folkestone.
“…the women and children at Folkestone who cheered them as the train ran past their houses to the quay, and the excitement of embarking on the troop-ship made them forget their previous gloom.”
Like most soldiers who crossed from Folkestone they had taken the train direct to the harbour.
The U. P. S. were, as it said on the tin, made up of predominantly Public Schools and/or University men so commissions were rapid and the ranks depleted.
also from the History of the Royal Fusiliers “U.P.S”
Eight little P.S.U.’s feelin fit for heaven, One joined the Flying Corps and then there were seven. Six little P.S.U.’s tired of being alive, One applied for Sandhurst, and then there were five. Five little P.S.U.’s, found the ranks a bore, The worst got gazetted, and then there were four.
William was commissioned into the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) only to be killed in action at Arras. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and a family memorial here in Folkestone Old Cemetery. a few yards away there is a memorial to the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry)