Sod the Visitor Books, #Folkestone #FWW

I research the embarkations from Folkestone during the First World War. The sources for my information include

War Diaries

Army Forms B103s

Personal Memoirs


Why? Afterall the books contain an estimated 42,000 signatures (Step Short.) Apart from Medal Cards these signatures are the only other reference that a soldier, or other individual actually lived. They also give a date when that individual was in Folkestone. Fascinating books. If you are ever in Folkestone,Kent, England, do go and look at them. They are at Folkestone Museum and also online somewhere.

So again, why do I not use them as a source?

I research EMBARKATIONS from Folkestone, not DISEMBARKATIONS. The visitors books were mostly signed by people returning from France and Flanders, not by people going to France and or Flanders.

Army Embarkations from Folkestone started at the end of March 1915. Not on the 4th August 1914

It is easy to check if you wish. From the 1915 pages find a soldier and look up their Medal Card.

or, Find a soldier in any of the other volumes and see if their Army Form B103 still exists.

Also the cafe was only open during the daylight hours and just look at where the cafe is. Next to the railway platform, which is next to the railway track, which is next to the quayside, then there is the boat. Battalions could arrive at the harbour and embark in ten minutes. Think about how long it would take to queue, get served, drink your tea, go around the train, and embark.

Compare dates. I’m also not impressed by the morons who tell me millions marched down what is now known as the Road of Rememberance. It says so on the cairn at the top.

This is what the plaque says.

Read it slowly word for word.

It states very clearly, TENS OF THOUSENDS… … TO AND FROM, ie in both directions. NOT MMILLIONS, NOT HUNDREDS OF THOUSENDS, IT STATES Tens of thousends.

Yes, I know some units did march down the road. If asked very nicely I will let you see the list.

Amerian units also marched done the road during the war.

Canadian Units did not.

How do we know?

We have their war diaries and other sources. It is well known how soldiers marched from Shorncliffe to the Harbour. Down the Military Road and along the Lower Sandgate Road thats how.

There are daft buggers who tell me soldiers marched from Folkestone Central Railway station down to thhe harbour. Hate well actually delighted to tell you. like hell they did.

More than a few Soldiers would have taken their chance and deserted on the way. There was no point in stopping at Folkestone Station, the next, last and only stop was the harbour.

ah but they “Stopped and remembered their fallen comrades on the way down the Road of Rememerance.”

Then why is it not called The Road of Premonitions?

Yes we do know exactly where the soldiers stopped on the way up. Going up it is about ten to fifteen yards (ok metres) from the top on the left hamd side. You have to push your way through the bushes first. Usually if you walk up on the pavement on the right you can see some glazed brown tiles. They mark the site.

Every entery on my list is referenced. Sometimes there are additional details, sometimes not. The list is over 190,000 words and about 850 pages long. People are welome to visit. Although don’t even think about it during the covid Lock down.

Please do not tell me to refer to the visitors book, or tell me Step Short or anyone else told you millions marched down the Road of Rememberance. I will tell you where and how you can off.

Rant over,

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