Folkestone’s #FWW Myths

The Myth the British Army left from Folkestone in 1914.

The Myth, Millions marched down The Road of Remembrance, (the Slope Road)

The Myth, The Harbour Cafe’s visitors book was signed by soldiers going to France.

The Myth, All soldiers left from Folkestone.

The Myth, Ten Million left from Folkestone.

The Myth, you could hear the guns firing in France.

Myth, a Mothers last Kiss, the story of William Francis Poile 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.

The Old Contemptables left from Southampton. Folkestone was not a military port until the end of March 1915.

Tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands, let alone millions marched UP as well as down the Slope Road, (The Road of Remembrance). Most soldiers arrived at the harbour by train.

By no means did all soldiers embark from Folkestone. Avonmouth, Dover, Ramsgate, as well as other ports were used to embark troops for France.

Ten million is more than there were soldiers in the Army. The true number may never be known, but 2-3 million is a better estimate.

If all the British army’s artillery fired at exactly the same time a slight rumble might have been heard.

William Francis Poile. The 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers embarked from Southampton, not Folkestone (War Diary). If he was part of a draft he would have arrived at the harbour by train. No time to see anyone. Not possible for a civilian to get to the train. No time to go and visit his Mother who lived in Stelling Minnis, not Folkestone. A lovely story but a myth.

A few true odds and sods.

More American Units march down the Slope Road than Canadian Units did. Although more Canadian units embarked from Folkestone than American Units.

Canadian Units marched from Shorncliffe down the Military Road and along the LOWER Sandgate Road.

Churchill, Sassoon and Walter Tull were all at the Harbour on the same day.

One soldier who embarked at Folkestone served in the British, then French, and finally in the American army before the end of the war.


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