Category Archives: South Africa

So who did march down the Road of Rememberance? #FolkestoneRT

Two more Units added since this blog was last posted.

So who did march down the Road of Remembrance?

Not easy to say. The usual glib answer I give is relatively few. Relatively being somewhat vague, now go away answer. People, I realise, tend to want more.

The relative is compared to the total number of soldiers who left from Folkestone

How many left from Folkestone?

It depends on who you ask.

You are asking me?

Oh, 2.5 to 3 million. If you think there were more, then in proportion the “Relatively few” is fewer.

So who were the few?
Drafts I am open to debate the issue-heck not really, I do know when and which regiments of more than a few, well at a guess about 200. plus the majority of Australian, British, Canadian, American, Indian,  Units that did, (and a South African Unit-that may have)  embarked from Folkestone)

Units that marched down Slopes Road and Dates are as follows:-

On the 27th of February 1917                                                                                                              2/7th Sherwood Foresters                                                                                                                     2/8th Sherwood Foresters

On the 7th May 1917
Maybe
2/1st Shropshire RHA, 158 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
2/1st Berkshire RHA, 158 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
380 Battery RFA, 158 Brigade Royal Field Artillery
381 Battery RFA, 158 Brigade Royal Field Artillery

The 30th May 1917 Maybe

No.5 Base Hospital US Army

11th June 1917

No.12 Base Hospital U.S Army, after arrival No 12 Base Hospital operated British General Hospital No. 18. This unit did march down Slopes Road5 On the 20th May 1917 the day following the unit’s departure for England, a gunnery accident killed Nurses Helen Wood and Edith Ayres injuring a third nurse. The bodies of Wood and Ayres were returned to the US and given military funerals. They were the first United States Army Casualties of the First World War.
22nd? May 1918
Maybe
117th Infantry, 30th division U.S. Army.

Maybe

Exact date unknown, but Maybe
120th Infantry “3rd North Carolina” 30th Division, U.S. Army. The regiment crossed from Boston on the HMT Bohemia and the HMT Miltaides. To Liverpool and then by train to Folkestone and Dover. The men from the Militiades crossed from Dover, those from the Bohemia Folkestone, both disembarked at Calais All the men from the regiment had completed their journey to France on or just before the 5th June.

2nd June 1918 Sounds possible

Company B, 311th US Infantry. The 311th had crossed from the USA on the “Nestor”. After arriving at Liverpool they entrained for Folkestone arriving at 2 a.m. on the 1st June. The history of Company B, 311 Infantry records they spent the night in an Embarkation Camp at Folkestone in “a large empty stone house in a row of similar ones” Sixty men from the 311th had left for France from Folkestone on the 1st June.

11th June 1918

311th US Infantry crossed to Calais where they arrived about 4 o’clock.7 Some companies had embarked for France earlier in the month.
Maybe
312th US Infantry. The 312th had marched from Dibgate camp to Folkestone the day before and had spent the night in vacant hotels in Folkestone. The 312th crossed to Calais on the SS Marguerite.8 On arrival at Calais they marched to Rest Camp No.6.9

3rd July 1918

Maybe 41st Brigade HQ.  sailed with the 29th DLI and half of 33rd London Regiment on the first ship at 9:30 am.
Maybe 18th York and Lancaster Regiment.
For sure 33rd (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment, Billeted previous night in Folkestone at No. 3 Rest Camp. Half of the battalion sailed at 9:30 am, the other half at 1 pm.
Maybe 29th Battalion Durham Light Infantry the Battalion arrived in Folkestone at 5 am., they arrived in Boulogne at 11 am. Four hours later.

5th July 1918

Maybe
15th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

These did.
20th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. On the 4th July the battalion consisting of 39 Officers and 623 Other Ranks. left Bullswater Camp in two parties on two trains one at 10:35pm, the other at 11:00 pm, for Folkestone. The last of the two trains arrived at Folkestone at 3 a.m. on the 5th. Both parties marched to Number 5 Rest Camp. Officers were billeted in surrounding hotels. Those officers staying in the Grand being excessively charged. The battalion paraded at 8 a.m. To march to the harbour and embark for Boulogne on two boats.
12th Suffolk Regiment. The Battalion left Pirbright on two trains, the first left at 11:45 p.m. On the 4th July 1918, the second at 12:15 a.m. On the 5th of July 1918. On arrival in Folkestone, the whole battalion was billeted at No. 3 Rest Camp. The battalion left for Boulogne at 4:30 p.m. on the 5th of July.
10th (Service) Battalion Highland Light Infantry. Now part of 43rd Brigade 14th Division. On the night of the 4th-5th July, the battalion entrained on two trains for Folkestone. On arriving at Folkestone the battalion was billeted at Number 3 Rest Camp. At 16:30 hours on the 5th July the 10th Highland Light Infantry sailed for Boulogne.

31st July 1918

Likely some of these did

48th Brigade 16th Division, the brigade arrived in Folkestone between 3 and 5 a.m. and proceeded into a rest camp. Later on that morning at 8 a.m. They embarked as follows:
Brigade Head Quarters
22nd Battalion The Northumberland Fusiliers, and the
11th Battalion Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers
on the S.S. Onward.
18th Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), and the
48th Trench Mortar Battery
on the S.S. Princess Victoria. The Brigade disembarked in Boulogne at 11 a.m.

1st August 1918
These did.
11th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers) Hampshire Regiment. The battalion left Aldershot on two trains. After a three-hour train journey the first train arrived at Shorncliffe at 4 a.m., and the second train at 4:30 a.m. From Shorncliffe station the battalion was marched to Number 3 Rest camp. Here the men were billeted and served breakfast plus a haversack ration. Just before 8 a.m. The battalion was paraded and marched down to the harbour where they embarked on the S.S. Onward at 8:30 a.m. The S.S. Onward sailed at 9 a.m. and arrived at Boulogne at 10:45. From Boulogne harbour, the battalion marches up to Ostrahof Rest Camp. While here at Ostrahof the battalion saw the first action of their return to France. There was an enemy air raid at 11 p.m. There were no casualties in the battalion.
Maybe these did.
The Reconstituted 6th (Service) Battalion, Prince Albert’s Own (Somerset Light Infantry), now part of 49th Brigade 16th Division.
18th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment part of 49th Brigade, 16th Division.
34th (City of London) Battalion The London Regiment.

Did they stop on the way down the road to remember their dead?

If they did, it should be called the Road of Premonitions.

#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.

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

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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)

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

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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.

IMG_8841

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

Notes

(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.

 

#Shorncliffe, #Folkestone the South African Connection

Shorncliffe is justifiably proud of its Canadian Connection. Every year on at least one occasion tributes are paid to the Canadians buried there. The cemetery’s First and Second World War graves being extremely well cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The word “Commonwealth” replaced the original “Imperial” to reflect the changing times at the end of Empire. With the change of title people’s views changed and the different nationalities became important. The Imperial part was lost.  Also fading with the loss of the word “Imperial” was the idea of an Imperial Army. It was this “Imperial ” Army that went to war in August 1914. An Empire at war. Now we think of Brits in the Royal Air Force, Canadians in the Royal Canadian Air Force, South Africans in the South African Air Force. A hundred years ago they were part of an Imperial Family and served regardless of “Nationality”. They were British regardless of where they came from. Now we regard them as national citizens, not imperial subjects. Then all but two of the men named below were British, although they are now regarded as South African or Zimbabwean. the other two both from the South African Native Labour Corps, were Native South Africans.

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Cadet Harry Hutton Blake, mentioned in despatches by Lieutenant-General J. L. Van Deventer, K.C.B., Commanding-in-Chief, East Africa Force: — General Headquarters, East Africa Force, 11th October 1917, for meritorious conduct in the field. (London Gazette Supplement dated 7th March 1918) Harry’s parents lived in Roodekop, Transvaal, South Africa.

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Philip Martin Hayes Boardman. His parents lived at Umvuma, Rhodesia. (now Zimbabwe)

IMG_8379Commemorated in the Belfast Book of Honour, where he was born. Arthur James Douglas’s parents lived at 4 Glengareff Terrace, Three Anchor Bay, Capetown and he is listed by the South African War Graves Project.

IMG_8381Wilfred Douglas Duke from Oxford House, Douglas St., Bloemfontein, South Africa.

IMG_8387Raymond was born in Boksburg in the Transvaal. His parents lived in  Maraisburg.

IMG_8389John James Forrest-Dunlop born in Sydney, Australia, and is commemorated on the AustralianNational War Memorial. He married Violet of East Rand, Transvaal, and is listed by the South African War Graves Project as a South African.

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 theWest 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.

IMG_8385Busalk Mvinjelwa, SANLC. (See under Piet Malinge above)

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David Victor Spain from Johannesburg, South Africa.

IMG_8386John Eric Thomson of 54, Garden St., Rosettenville, Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa,

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Augustus Henry Wells from Geoville, Johannesburg, Transvaal, The inscription on his gravestone reads ” Whosoever liveth and believe in me shall never die. john XI. 29″

The RAF men were here being trained, they were “Cadets”.  Most died of illness, Details of them, and the two men from the SANLC are from the CWGC site and in the South African War Graves Project on the Web. Further details can be found on both sites.