Category Archives: kent

Stories from the Harbour Arm #Folkestone

Occasionally I get asked what it is I’m doing. “God knows” is the usually reply. However I have been collecting stories of the soldiers who left from Folkestone in the First World War. Stories such as:

Captain John Macgregor V.C., M.C and Bar. D.C.M.
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles

Born in Cawdor, in Nairnshire Scotland, John Macgregor would have made a worthy thane. His mother still lived at Newlands of Murchang, Cawdor.  Prior to the war John had emigrated to Canada where he worked as a carpenter.

Macgregor was awarded the D.C.M. For an action on the 8th April 1917 during the preliminaries to the Battle of Vimy.

The citation for his Distinguished Conduct Medal (awarded when John was a Sergeant) reads:

116031 Sjt. J. MacGregor, Mounted Rifles. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He single-handed captured an enemy machine gun and shot the crew, thereby undoubtedly saving his company from many casualties.
(Supplement 30204 to The London Gazette 24 July 1917 page 7663)

John was awarded his Military cross for two reconnaissance missions on the 28th December 1917, and for his part in a trench raid on the 12th January 1918.

The Citation for his Military cross reads:

Lt. John Macgregor, D.C.M., Mtd. Rif. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst he was assembling his men prior to a raid, the enemy bombed the trench. He, however, changing his point of attack, led his men over the wire into the enemy’s trench, and successfully dealt with the garrison of the trench and three concrete dug-outs, himself capturing one prisoner. He then withdrew his party and his prisoner successfully to our trenches. Before the raid he, together with a serjeant, had made several skilful and daring reconnaissances along the enemy wire, which materially assisted in the success of the enterprise.
(Supplement 30845 to The London Gazette, 13 August 1918, page 9569.)

The citation for the award of the Victoria Cross:

T./Capt. John MacGregor, M.C., D.C.M., 2nd C.M.R. Bn., 1st Central Ontario Regiment. For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and self-sacrificing devotion to duty near Cambrai from 29th September to 3rd October 1918. He led his company under intense fire, and when the advance was checked by machine guns, although wounded, pushed on and located the enemy guns. He then ran forward in broad daylight, in face of heavy fire from all directions, and. with rifle and bayonet, single-handed, put the enemy crews out of action, killing four and taking eight prisoners. His prompt action saved many casualties and enabled the advance to continue. After reorganising his command under heavy fire he rendered most useful support to neighbouring troops. When the enemy were showing stubborn resistance, he went along the line regardless of danger, organised the platoons, took command of the leading waves, and continued the advance. Later, after a personal daylight reconnaissance under heavy fire, he established his company in Neuville St. Remy, thereby greatly assisting the advance into Tilloy. Throughout the operations Capt. MacGregor displayed magnificent bravery and heroic leadership.
(The Edinburgh Gazette .10 January 1919, No. 13384 page 200)

The citation for the bar to his Military Cross reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and leadership from 5th to 8th November, 1918, at Quievrain and Quievrechain. Through his initiative the bridges over the Honnelle River were secured. His personal reconnaissances and the information he derived from them were of great use to his commanding officer. His prompt action in seizing the crossings over the river did much -towards the final rout of the enemy.
(Supplement 31680 to the London Gazette, 9 December 1919, page15312)

John Macgregor died in British Columbia on the 9th June 1952.


Private David Adams 4th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. This is not the first time Private Adams had crossed to France but the first and only date on record of him crossing from Folkestone.
Home Service from the 3rd September 1914 to the 27th July 1915.
3rd September 1914. Enlisted 3rd Battalion Royal Scots.
26th September 1914. Posted 14th Battalion Royal Scots.
21st July 1915. Posted 13th Battalion Royal Scots.
France from the 28th July 1915 to the 30th September 1915.
28th July 1915. France -not known from where he sailed.
29th September 1915. Gun Shot Wound left thigh.
30th September 1915. Returns to UK.
Home Service from the 1st October 1915 to the 1st January 1916.
1st October 1915. Depot Royal Scots.
30th November 1915. Posted to 14th Royal Scots.
1st January 1916. 13th Battalion Royal Scots.
France from the 2nd January 1916 to the 10th April 1917.
2nd January 1916. France, not known from where he sailed.

In March 1916 David was in the Hulluch Sector when he was blown up by a High Explosive Shell he is knocked unconscious and suffers from concussion. On a Medical Report dated 24th April 1918 from Glenlomond War Hospital it is stated that this is when his Neurasthenia started.

Home Service from the 11th April 1916 to the 18th April 1917.
11th April 1916 Posted for record purposes to the Royal Scots Depot, David is recovering in the Duchess of Connaught’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow. He stays at the hospital until the 22nd May 1916.

7th August 1916. Posted to 14th Battalion Royal Scots.
1st September 1916 . Transferred to 3rd Reserve Battalion.
20th October 1916. Posted to the Larnarkshire Yeomanry.
2nd December 1916. 10th (Works) Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.
31st December 1916. Transferred to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
It is known from his Pension Records that David was a patient at the 2nd Scottish General Hospital. Craigleith, Edinburgh from the 9th January until the 24th February 1917.
19th April 1917. Posted to the 10th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
France from the 20th April 1917 to the 14th July 1917. (Pension Medical Record states 19th April.)
20th April 1917. Leaves Folkestone for France.
21st April 1917. Joined 19 Infantry Base Depot.
Home service from 15th July 1917 until the 10th May 1918.
15th July 1917 Taken on Strength Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Base Depot Sterling.
It is known from his Pension Records that David was a patient at Merryflats War Hospital, Glasgow from the 15th July until the 15th August 1917.
27th August 1917. Posted to 4th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
3rd November 1917. Posted to 250 Reserve Company Royal Defence Corps.
From his pensions we know that David was at Glenlomond War Hospital, Kinross in April 1918.
10th May 1918 Discharged as, “No Longer Physically Fit for War Service”.
15th May 1918 Died.

It is not know where David Adams is buried. Hopefully he managed to return to the family home at 12th Nile Street, Greenock.
As well as the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal David received the Silver War Badge (No. 389532). He is commemorated on Broomhill War Memorial.


Private 3290 Charles Ambrose De Leon, Australian Imperial Force marched into the New Zealand Base Depot the following day. He is taken on the strength of 38th Battalion ex 8th Re-enforcements 38th Battalion on the 9th May. Charles was born in New York in 1888, he enlisted at Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in December 1917. Accidentally injured on the 24th July 1918. At the Court of enquiry a witness gave the following statement. Report on No. 3290. Pte De Leon C.A. (Burnt about the face and hands)
“On 24th July last, Pte De Leon was on outpost duty when the company was holding the line in the Hamel sector The enemy was shelling very heavily in the region of his post, and a fragment of one shell hit one phosphorus bomb which was amongst some Mills grenades. The phosphorus bomb burst into flames and Deleon who was standing close to the parapet where it burst was burnt about the face and hands, also his clothing and equipment was burnt. Lieut Baxter were extinguished ordered De Leon to proceed to the Aid Post”
(Sgd) Pte F Binion No. 598.
Charles returned to his unit on the 11th October 1918

Now the question is, “What will I do with the Stories?  the answer is, “God  knows.”



Frederick Milton


Private Frederick Milton is commemorated on this gravestone in Folkestone Old Cemetery. Killed in action as part of a ration party, while collecting rations.  He was the only soldier from the 8th Battalion the Buffs East Kent Regiment killed on the 12th September 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. This memorial is the large screen at the top of Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium.  Frederick was killed at Jackson’s Dump which was to the best of my knowledge somewhere west of a line from Clapham Junction on the Menin Road to Pappotstaat. His epitaph reads

“Little we thought we he bade us good bye                                                                                       He had left us forever he left us to die                                                                                                When we look at the picture and think how he died                                                                     A faithful British Soldier for all of us he died

His life was full of sunshine                                                                                                                 To all a joy and pride                                                                                                                              Far away in that foreign climate                                                                                                      A hero’s death he died

They miss him most that loved him best.

His service record does not appear to have survived. Relatives of Frederick still live in Folkestone.

#Shorncliffe, #Labour_Corps

Recently the Shorncliffe Trust held their annual Light in the Darkest Hour. Hopefully, this years ceremony will encourage people to visit the graves of the Labour Corp in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. The Closing ceremony was the placing of lanterns at the Chinese Labour Corps graves, (CLC) of which there are six all close together in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. This was also part of the Big Ideas Company’s Unremembered  (An awful name if they mean “Forgotten” they should just say so.) Project.  Apart from the CLC, there are two men from the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) and eleven men from the British Army’s Labour Corps buried in the cemetery.  Photographs of the graves of the SANLC and the Labour Corps men follow.IMG_8384

Piet Malinge of the South African Native Labour Corps. In April 1917 a tented camp was pitched east of Hill Road, Cherry Garden Avenue in Folkestone. Designated the Labour Concentration Camp, it was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel F. Hopley and could accommodate 2,000 Chinese (Chinese Labour Corps CLC) or South African Native Labourers. (South African Native Labour Corps, SANLC) Opposite on the west side of the road another tented camp was erected. This camp could contain another 2,000 Asian or African Labourers. During the summer of 1917, the CLC built hutments of reinforced concrete and the camp became known as the Cherry Garden Camp. This was really two separate camps with Kitchens and Hospitals. 1,500 men could be housed here. It is likely that Piet was part of the SANLC housed in one of these aforementioned camps. Busalk Mvinjelwa would also have been there.



Private 331158 H.A. Baker served in the 18th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment before he was transferred to 242nd Works Company Labour Corps.


Private G/78845 J Baker, 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home service Employment Company Labour Corps. The 29th (Works) Battalion was formed as a labour battalion hence the (Works) atMill Hill the entire battalion was transferred to the Labour Corps and retitled the 5th Labour Battalion in April 1917. (2)


Private 76316 R Bedford also served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home Service Employment Company Labour Corps.


Private G/78071 George Henry Bloodworth. Another soldier from the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before he was transferred to the 5th Battalion of the Labour Corps. The son of George Henry and Mary Bloodworth of 18 Banstead St Nunhead, London was killed in the Folkestone Air Raid on the 25th May 1917.


Private 28527 G.W. Graves, the husband of Lilie Gertrude Parkinson (formally Graves) served in the 9th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment before being transferred to the Labour Corps.


Private 267099 Samuel Beckerleg Hall the son of Mrs Evelina Hall of 21 Church Street, Helston, Cornwall. He served in the 2nd/1st Kent Cyclist Battalion before he was transferred to the 426th Company Labour Corps.


Private 293210 T Marshall Served in the 2nd/7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) before he was transferred to 342nd Works Company Labour Corps. Marshall died on the 10th November 1918, one day before the war ended.


Henry Gordon Prince the son of Mrs Charlotte Prince of 3 Evergreens, South Bersted, Bognor, served in the 1st Infantry Labour Company Northamptonshire Regiment.


Private 37998 A.H. Slater is another soldier who served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 241st Works Company Labour Corps.


Guardsman 18439 J.W. Taylor served in the Coldstream Guards before being transferred to 437th Company Labour Corps.


Private 5417 Robert Williams served in the 2nd/6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment before he was transferred to 317th Works Company Labour Corps.


(1) Soldiers details from the CWGC website.

(2) Details about the 29th Battalion from the Long Long Trail Web site. A website that can not be recommended too highly. If you are even remotely interested in the British Army in the First World War bookmark and use the LongLong Trail website.


Notes on crossing from #Folkestone #FWW, #WWI

The 11th Engineers Regiment (Railway) crossed to France from Folkestone in August 1917. Two soldiers from the regiment, Sergeant Matthew Calderwood and Private William Branigan became the first American Army casualties on the Western Front during the First World War. The 11th were working on the railway near Cambrai on the 5th September 1917, when they came under shell fire.  For his part in an action on the 30th November 1917, Lieutenant McCloud of the 11th received the British Military Cross. (1)

Also in August 1917, James McCudden crossed to Boulogne on the SS Victoria. He was to die in a flying accident in July 1918. James was probably the most highly decorated British Ace. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Bar, Military Cross and Bar, Military Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre.

At the beginning of August 1918, Lewis Gedalovitch crosses to France from Folkestone. Lewis a Russian subject and a registered alien. Brought under escort to enlist in September 1917, he is called up in June 1918 to serve in the Labour Corps. Just over a year later while serving in the 9th Russian Labour Battalion in 1919, he accidentally cuts off the top of his left thumb. On the 1st of November 1919, he is discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service.

…and a crossing from Boulogne to Folkestone. Not known when exactly this soldier crossed to France, nor when she returned.  Two reasons she deserves a mention though. She was in the trenches, and in her memoirs of the First World War, she mentions the Folkestone Harbour Canteen.  Her name is Dorothy Lawrence. Dorothy desperately wanted to be a journalist and by guile and subterfuge joined a Royal Engineers Tunneling Company at Albert in 1915.


1 wife, 2 Husbands and, 1 grave #FWW

19970810_10211935516414705_2102724859_nThis is the grave of Albert (Bert) Corporal 9183 of the 2nd Buffs (East Kents). He married Gladys Faircloth in December 1917 in Canterbury, Kent, England. Probably they married in the same church, St Dunstan, where his grave is. It is a pretty little church, better known as the final resting place of St Thomas More’s head than it is for First World War Graves. Of which Albert’s grave is the only one. It is though, an interesting grave and makes an interesting read.

“In Loving Memory of Albert (Bert) Goldsack. Late Cp. of 2nd Buff

Late Cp. of 2nd Buffs

The Dearly Loved Husband of Gladys Goldsack

Who died at Lenham Novr 28th 1918.

Aged 27

Also of

Com Sgt H L Faircloth

7th Sussex Battn

First Husband of The Above

Killed In Action Dec 28th 1915

Age 25

Erected by their sorrowing wife

After their country called them.”

Lenham, where Bert died, was a War Hospital near Ashford. Bert was a wounded soldier being treated there. He had served in France and been given a Silver War Badge.

H. L. (Henry Latham) Faircloth, a Company Quartermaster Sarjeant in the 7th Royal Sussex enlisted in 1908. Henry married Gladys on the 6th March 1915. He crossed from Folkestone with the Battalion at the end of May 1915.  The CWGC  lists his date of death as the 22nd December 1915. The War Diary indicates he was killed on the 28th and his Medal Card records him as being KinA on the 28th. He is buried in Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy.

Not known if Gladys married again.


From #Folkestone July 1915.

July 1915 was a busy month down at the harbour. I have a long list of the units,  and the dates they crossed from Folkestone in the draw. Lack of funding has more or less brought research into the embarkation of Units and soldiers to a halt. More soldiers do get added to the list most days but…. Anyhow I will continue to publish some of these soldiers as and when. These two soldiers both crossed to France from Folkestone on the same day, 9th July 1915. The first died from his wounds in 1927.  The second killed in action in September 1915.

7No. 10618 Lance Corporal Duncan Begg Mackintosh

7th Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders,

Highland Light Infantry, and the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Died of Wounds 21st June 1927.

Duncan Mackintosh was born in Grantown-on-Spey on the 19th November 1883. He was the eldest surviving son of Peter and Margaret Mackintosh of Rosemont, Grantown-on-Spey. Duncan enlisted in Inverness during October 1914 and joined the 7th Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in Glasgow. He arrived in France with the battalion on the 8th July 1915. Duncan took part in the Battle of Loos in 1915 where on the 25th September 1915 he was wounded in the shoulder. After his recovery, Duncan went on to serve in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq. He was reported in the Strathspey Herald, as being dangerously ill, on the 1st June 1916. During the Battle of San-I-Yat a bullet entered his left lung and exited through his spine. After a tiring journey by boat down the river Tigres he was transported by Hospital Ship to Bombay in India. Here he lost his left lung. Eventually, Duncan returned to Scotland and married Mary Robertson. They lived at 5 Kings Street Coatbridge. Duncan worked as a Master Watchmaker. Eleven years after being shot Duncan Begg Mackintosh died on the 21st June 1927. His death certificate records that he died from “Gunshot Wounds” On the Family Memorial in Inverallan burial ground Duncan is commemorated as “Dying from the effects of wounds received in 1917.” Duncan was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal, the Victory Medal, and the Silver War Badge. 8 9

S/6523 John Lawson, “C” Company 8th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany’s)

Killed in action 25th September 1915

John was born in Paisley son of Mr and Mrs L Lawson of Achnahannet Grantown-on-Spey. A brother of Lewis Lawson of 13 South Street Grantown-on-Spey. He worked as a railway porter at Knockando. Arriving in France on the 8th July 1915 he was killed in action on the 25th September. His grave is now lost. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Grammar School Memorial in Grantown-on-Spey and on the Grantown-on-Spey War Memorial.

He fell where fall the dying brave,

Among the noble slain,

Nor Kindly love nor tender care

Could light that couch of pain.

Nor loving hands may kindly tend,

The sod above his breast,

But tender thoughts will ever haunt,

His far off place of rest.

(in Memorium, Strathspey Herald, 27th September 1917 and 26th September 1918)10

John Lawson was awarded the 1915 Star, War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

7 Information reproduced with slight editing, from Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey by, Peter Anderson, 2010

8 Morayshire Roll of Honour 1914-1918

9 Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey, Peter Anderson, 2010.

10Page 60, Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey, Peter Anderson 2010

#Folkestone, #FWW. Next stop France, June 1917

Notable crossing to France in June 1917 include Harry Lauder. 1   
Harry is one of many artists of the day who journeyed to the Western Front to entertain the troops. He crossed on deck with the troops rather than in the Officers quarters. Very popular with the soldiers and he remained a popular entertainer until his death in 1950. Hw was the first British entertainer to sell a million records. The journey to the Western Front must have been difficult for hi, his only son had been killed in action in December 1916. Harry wrote many songs including “|Keep Right On to the End of The Road”
Ev’ry road thro’ life is a long, long road,
Fill’d with joys and sorrows too,
As you journey on how your heart will yearn
For the things most dear to you.
With wealth and love ’tis so,
But onward we must go.

The American build-up continued, the first unit had already crossed in May. In June. No.12 Base Hospital U.S Army crossed from Folkestone. This unit did march down Slope Road.2 . After arrival in France, No 12 Base Hospital took over British General Hospital No. 18. Probably the first deaths to occur in an American Army Unit in the first World War were two nurses from No. 12 Base Hospital. Shortly after departing from the US for England on the  20th May 1917 a gunnery accident killed Nurses Helen Wood and Edith Ayres injuring a third nurse. The bodies of Wood and Ayres returned to the US and given military funerals.3

The 13th June and U.S. General “Black” Jack Pershing, along with his aid Colonel Charles Stanton came through Folkestone on their way to France.

Source, Yanks, by John S.|D. Eisenhower,

Shortly after their arrival, General Pershing’s aide made the following remark, “Nous voila, Lafayette” (Lafayette, we are here!“) Colonel Charles Stanton 4th July 1917 British soldiers continued to cross fro Folkestone too. Perhaps most notably personnel of the 126th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. 4 The Brigade consisted of:

2/A Honourable Artillery Company

2/B Honourable Artillery Company

2/1 Warwickshire Royal Horse Artillery.

They crossed on the S. S. Victoria. The end of the month again saw some very important Americans pass through Folkestone on their way to France.Mr Mowry of the American Bolling’s Aronautical Commission to Europe, and 63 men from the Civilian Motor Mechanics Group. The Group were in Europe to study British and French aircraft production techniques.5  

1) A Minstrel in France, by Harry Lauder, unknown edition, page 45.


3) accessed 21st May 2017


 5) Gorrell’s History AEF Air Service Sheet 8 History of Bolling’s Mechanics