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John Charles Carlile.

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FOLKESTONE
DURING THE WAR:

A RECORD OF THE TOWN'S LIFE AND WORK.



EDITED BY

J. C. CARLILE, D.D.,

WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY

Lieut.-Col. A. ATKINSON, A. J. CROWHURST, ERIC

CONDY, Captain W. R. FAIRBAIRN, G. W. HAINES,

H.H., E. J. MACKWAY, Rear-Admiral YELVERTON, C.B.

and the EDITOR.



Published by

F. J. PARSONS, Ltd., FOLKESTONE.



DA



CONTENTS.



PAGE
FOREWORD (/. C. Carlile) 4

Chapter I. FOLKESTONE, AUGUST, 1914,

(/. C. Carlile) ... ... ... ... 5

Chapter II. OUR BELGIAN GUESTS (/. C.

Carlile) 12

Chapter III. THE CALL TO THE COLOURS

(Lieut. -Colonel A % Atkinson, Captain

W. R. Fairbairn, and G. W. Raines) 36
Chapter IV. SHAPING THE NEW ARMY

(The Editor and Lieut. -Colonel E. M.

Liddell) 56

Chapter V. IN CASE IT HAPPENED (/. C.

Carlile) ... ... 72

Chapter VI. THE AIR RAIDS (A.J. Crowhurst) 87
>s Chapter VII. CARE OF THE SICK AND

WOUNDED (Various Contributors) ... 131
Chapter VIII. SOCIAL LIFE IN WAR TIME

"^ (E. J. Mackway) ... 145

g Chapter IX. CANADIAN LIFE IN FOLKESTONE

2 (/. C. Carlile) 160

Chapter X. CROSS-CHANNEL SERVICE (Rear-
Admiral Yelverton and Others) ... 186
Chapter XI. PROVIDING SILVER BULLETS

(J. C. Carlile) 199

Chapter XII. THE LEAS AS AN OBSERVATION

POST (H. H.) 208

Chapter XIII. WORK OF THE CHURCHES

(Eric Condy) 220

Chapter XIV. HEROES WHO DID NOT

RETURN 236



345608



FOREWORD.



This volume is an evidence of local patriotism. It
was made possible by the public spirit of the writers
and publishers, to whom the Editor expresses his
indebtedness.

No town in England has a record of war work
comparable with that of Folkestone. The coast-line
from Dover to Hythe forms a strategic point of vital
importance. It was not only the nearest to the
fighting line, but the key-position to England.
Looking back, it is wonderful to observe how little it
suffered and how nobly it bore the strain of continual
anxiety.

The information contained in the chapters has been
obtained from official sources, and from those actually
responsible for the work described. The Editor has
had the assistance of officials of Government Depart-
ments, the Consul of France, the Vice-Consul of
Belgium, Colonel Aytoun, Colonel Wright, Mr. A. F.
Kidson, Mr. W. H. Routly, Mr. H. Evans, and others,
in addition to those who have contributed signed
articles. Mr. A. J. Crowhurst has rendered valuable
help in revising the proofs, and Mr. Stuart Hills has
compiled the list of the fallen.



FOLKESTONE DURING
THE WAR:

A Record of the Town's Life and Activities.



CHAPTER I.

FOLKESTONE IN 1914.
BY THE EDITOR.

August, 1914, seems almost prehistoric, so remote
that it is difficult to reconstruct the period. Yet
the world went very well then. The Folkestone
season was opening ; thousands of visitors had flocked
to the town, attracted by the health-giving qualities
of the breezes from the sea and the charm of the
scenery. Passengers crossing from the Continent
watch for the white cliffs that stand for England.
How lovely they are to the eyes of wanderers returning
home. They are as welcome as the grasp of friendship.
As the ship comes nearer there is the view of the
Warren called " Little Switzerland." It is always a
dream of beauty to lovers of Nature : the cliffs with
their glory of gold, blue, and white, the wealth of wild
flowers, the deep ravines ; the beach with its boulders
flung about as if by giants in their sport ; the growths
of moss ; sheltered nooks that lovers linger to explore ;
the trees rich in foliage and music ; and the sea with
its fantastic crests upon the waves and restless move-
ment ; all creating an impression upon memory that
remains among the precious things of life. The
Warren is always a picture, but hardly ever seen



6 FOLKESTONE DURING THE WAR.

just as it was before. Visitors continually remark
how changed it is since they last saw it. They are
right ; it is ever changing ; the peculiar charm it pos-
sesses is the creation of the light over the haze that
hangs about its depths and pools of fresh water,
continually being transformed into suggestions of
unsuspected beauty.

On the other side of the Harbour there is the long
stretch of the Leas. There England is green to the
sea ; the varied heights connected by the narrow
winding paths between the trees, the resting-places of
birds in song. The charm of the Lower Road is in
danger of being marred by the stalls of the traders that
dot the beach like rabbit hutches in a back garden. The
road, with the old Toll-house and gate, and Sandgate
Castle at the end, makes one of the prettiest picture
postcards in the country. The steep cliffs and cable
elevators remind one of Swiss scenery. Above, there
is the table-land of the Leas, one of the finest pro-
menades by the sea to be found in England, and one
of the most popular health resorts in the world. The
air has the scent of the flowers and the firs, mingled
with the salt of the sea. On the Leas there is the
strong tonic of the breeze ; down on the Lower
Road, sheltered from the winds, there is a warmer
climate, so welcome to the invalid, and all round there
is the panorama of beauty.

The Harbour is always a source of interest. Fishing-
boats come and go with their copper-coloured sails.
The Market, with its quaint background of little
cottages built into the cliff, tells a bit of history to
any who care to learn. The Harbour is one of the
main entrances to England, a favourite place for



FOLKESTONE IN 1914. 7

sea anglers, and those who find delight in watching
the passing show of many-sided humanity never fail
to discover a new phase.

The Leas presented an animated picture in July,
1914. All varieties of fashion were represented
along the famous promenade. The band one of
the best in the country played at the end of the
Leas, between the Hotels Metropole and Grand.
Behind, the hills stretched in their varied loveliness ;
Caesar's Camp and Sugar Loaf stood out in all their
glory of living green. The sky was as near the
Mediterranean blue as one was likely to see in England.
The ships going up and down the Channel provided
endless interest and speculation ; the sea was as calm
as a mill-pond, and down the picturesque slope
from the Leas to the beach the birds sang in the
fir-trees, and the children played among the bracken.
Little did the happy throng of visitors dream that,
just across the Channel, were all the preparations
for a great War, that would outrage Belgium, and
lay waste the fair fields of France ; and that Britain
within a few days would be plunged into a conflict
such as the world had never known. It is a happy
arrangement that humans are unable to read the
future. Could the veil have been lifted, there would
have been no sound of laughter on the Leas ; the joy
would have gone from the faces of the girls, and the
frivolity from the talk of the boys.

The retired captains played their golf in the morn-
ing, slept in the afternoon, managed to get a rubber
of bridge in the evening, or occupied themselves
with a discussion of the morning game and a pipe.
The admirals who had been on half-pay for more



8 FOLKESTONE DURING THE WAR.

years than ladies cared to remember strolled down
to the seats by the Shelter, and swept the sea with
their glasses, discussed the character of the craft,
then read their papers and dozed.

Very few people had any conception of the approach
of the War. True, Admiral Penrose-Fitzgerald
and some others were quite sure that Germany in-
tended War with France, and ultimately the invasion
of England. The gallant Admiral had written and
spoken upon the subject ; but men smiled and thought
him a crank. For the rest, the politicians and the
public did not dream that the assassination of the
heir to the Austrian throne and his consort would be
made, not the reason, but the excuse, for Germany's
ruthless campaign for world-power.

When the possibility of War became clear, there
was great anxiety in Folkestone. There were many
German and Austrian residents ; scarcely one of the
hotels or larger pensions was without Germans on
the staff. One place of worship had a German Bible
Class, with more than eighty members and associates.
These men, all of military age, were teachers and better-
class waiters. To them, the prospect of war was a
very real thing, and when the message came for them
to leave the country the "Good-byes " were most
affecting. It was said that a ship-load of enemy
aliens was detained until war was actually declared,
and then carried round to a neighbouring port to be
interned for the duration of the war, greatly to the
satisfaction of the prisoners.

When the news came, on August 4th, that England
was at war, it seemed as the falling of a bolt from the
blue. English people knew nothing of the actuality




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FOLKESTONE IN 1914. 9

of a great war. The South African affair was child's
play in comparison with what everybody recognised
would happen if the most powerful Empires in the
world faced each other in deadly conflict. We knew
enough of Germany to know that she would fight with
desperation ; that her plans had been well laid, and
nothing left to chance. The honest efforts of Sir
Edward Grey to preserve Peace ended in failure.
The responsibility rested with the Kaiser and his
advisers, and rightly upon them the Nemesis of Fate
has fallen.

The news of war cleared the town of Folkestone
as effectively as though a plague had desolated her
homes. The ' ' knuts ' ' left the Leas ; there was a
return to town. Within a few days 285 German
reservists arrived at the Harbour to join the Kaiser's
forces. They were detained on the ground that the
time allowed for enemy aliens to leave the country
had expired ; they did not seem distressed by the
news. An escort was sent down from the camp, and
the prisoners were marched along Sandgate Road, and
finally sent to very comfortable quarters at Christ's
Hospital School, Horsham.

Within seven days of the Declaration of War Folke-
stone was made a prohibited area. All aliens were
required to register and satisfy the Chief Constable
as to their reasons for wishing to remain in the town.
During the first week more than 1,000 aliens applied
for permits.

Patriotic demonstrations were held, and many
men joined the colours. The Folkestone Territorials
were invited to volunteer for service abroad, and
quite a large percentage officers and men readily



10 FOLKESTONE DURING THE WAR.

responded to the call of the country. The local
R.A.M.C. rapidly prepared for work in the field, and
offered to go wherever they might be required. The
old officers got in communication with the War Office,
to offer their services. Shorncliffe Camp bristled
with activity. It was rumoured that Folkestone
might expect invasion by the German Fleet ; that
there would be attempts to land a force somewhere
between Dover and the town. The air was thick
with alarms. There was a vague dread of something
terrible nobody quite knew what. The strain was very
great, but during those days, before the town became
used to war, it was very noticeable that, beneath
the surface excitement and anxiety, the people mani-
fested a strong confidence in the righteousness of the
nation's cause, and an unconscious assurance that it
would be all right. There was no panic ; no shrinking
from duty ; just a buzz of excitement, a ripple of un-
certainty, and an undercurrent of strength.

The band discoursed upon the Leas, but the gay
crowd was not there. The boys were enlisting ;
they were exchanging the immaculate collars and
cuffs for the soldier's garb. Women were asking
what they could do, and were preparing for manifold
kinds of service. The trade of the hotel proprietors
and boarding-house keepers was at a standstill, and
the outlook was very dark. The sunshine on the
clifis had still its glories of gold and blue. The Lower
Road was as beautiful as before, and the birds sang
just as sweetly ; Nature was all unconscious of the
havoc man would make in the frenzy of war.

The town was the same, but life had changed from
those old days when the visitors leisurely walked



FOLKESTONE IN IQI4- II

round the Parish Church and heard the stories of its
associations with the famous Monastery for black nuns
of the Benedictine Order, founded by St. Eanswyth,
daughter of Eadbald, King of Kent. The coming
of war cleared the roads of the pleasure cars that
used to run by River and through the lovely
country to Canterbury, the cradle of English
history. The sportsmen no longer followed the
hounds ; they went to face the Huns. The days
became serious, men looked over the sea with a touch
of apprehension, and before the end of the year the
light of the moon was no longer a delight. The little
comedy of life was blotted out by the tragedy of war.



CHAPTER II.

OUR BELGIAN GUESTS.
BY THE EDITOR.

England's first actual contact with the grim horrors
of war was in Folkestone, about August 20th, when
boats came into the harbour crowded with Refugees
from gallant little Belgium. The earliest arrivals
came in fishing craft and coal carriers. The visitors
were terror-stricken, and many of them absolutely
refused to leave the boats. The news of the coming
of the Belgians was not made public until eight or
nine days later, when it appeared in the Press.

It is impossible to tell who were the first good
Samaritans to minister to the poor souls who had
fallen among thieves and been stripped of their belong-
ings. Probably the honour is shared among a few
unnamed fisher-people, whose generosity is only
surpassed by their courage. They knew the facts
and saw the conditions of the people on the boats,
and came to their assistance. They called in the aid
of two local Ministers, who joined in the efforts to
provide hospitality ; but the need grew as if by magic.
Within a few days thousands of destitute Belgian
people had arrived, and created problems of their
own. Their primary needs of food and shelter brooked
no delay. Each boat brought a cargo of huddled
humanity like dumb-driven cattle ; they had fled
from coast towns and cities outraged by the invader.
Their plight was pitiful. Some had been in the train



OUR BELGIAN GUESTS. 13

for a day and a night ; others on the road for several
days, with but little food. Few had any clothing,
except the garments they were wearing. One white-
haired old dame came in carpet slippers, not having
been able to secure her boots, in the hurry and panic
to escape the Hun.

Folkestone was very soon the only open door to
England, and the suppliants on her doorstep seeking
food and protection represented all classes of the
community. Their presence was our first glimpse
of the terrible reality of war. They brought home to
the people, in dramatic form, the meaning of the
struggle in which the Empire was engaged. The scenes
on the Harbour were too heartrending to be repro-
duced in words. There were men, honoured and
revered in their own land, driven into poverty and
exile, not for any offence of their own, or their
country's, but simply because their little land was
geographically the bufter-nation between Germany
and her coveted victim. The Belgian Prime Minister
spoke for the people when he said : " Faced with
the choice between what her own immediate interests
seemed to dictate and what honour demanded, Bel-
gium did not hesitate. " " The Belgian Government
is determined to resist any attack upon its rights
by every means at its disposal. ' ' King Albert nobly
declared : "A people which is true to itself may be
conquered, but cannot be subdued. ' '

One of the Refugees from Louvain told of nameless
things. He described how the Prussians entered
his home, dragged him forth with his family, and
pinned him to the wall with a bayonet, compelling
him to direct their search for money and valuables ;



14 FOLKESTONE DURING THE WAR.

and when these had been taken, and all the domestic
treasures carried off as loot, the furniture was smashed,
thrown into a pile, and the house burned to the ground,
leaving the family in despair and desolation on the
road.

There were mothers who had been hounded from
home and country before they could gather the little
ones to their arms. Their agony was intensified
by the uncertainty of the fate of their children, and all
means of communication were cut off. There were
girls with flushed cheeks and wild, terrified eyes,
whose story others whispered under their breath.
They were the victims of German lust. They shrank
in horror from the thought that they might become
the unwilling mothers of the enemy's children. And
there on the quay was the most pathetic sight of all
little children stood clinging to big sisters for protection,
or holding mother's dress with trembling fingers.
They drew back in fear at the sound of a stranger's
voice, as dogs shrink from those they distrust.

It is impossible to behold such sights and ever
forget, and very difficult ever to forgive.

Folkestone represented the Empire in receiving
her hapless visitors. Before any formal organisation
was brought into existence, there was the operation
of spontaneous sympathy responding to the urgency
of need. Fishermen's homes were opened to people
whose language they could not understand. Poor
families shared with their strange guests, and some
gave up their beds, counting it an honour to sleep on
the floor that the exiles might spend the night in the
comfort of home.

On the 24th of August, 1914, was constituted a



OUR BELGIAN GUESTS. 15

Belgian Committee for Refugees, from a body of men
who had been giving help for some days. It was
officially instituted at the French Protestant Church,
Victoria Grove, by a Belgian Vice-Consul from London.
The President was a Belgian Folkestone resident, who
soon afterwards became Belgium's representative.

Mr. H. Froggatt, one of the masters of the Grammar
School, brought together a few boys who could
speak French. They acted as guides to little
groups of Refugees on their way to the homes
where they could be received. The sight of those
straggling companies of strangers going along the
streets with their scanty belongings in bundles they
would not trust to other hands presented a picture
Time will never obliterate from memory. The pathos
and comedy of it all were strangely blended. Like
frightened animals, the new-comers refused to be
separated, chosing rather to endure the discomfort of
spending the night together in an overcrowded room
than occupy separate apartments and sleep in
comfort. They realised they were among friends,
and their peril was past, but the strain had been too
great. They laughed and wept, repeatedly embraced
their children, and then kissed each other. It was as
an awakening from a bad dream.

A Refugees Relief Committee was formed. The
original members were :

The Mayor (Sir Stephen Penfold).

Mr. Alderman Spurgen (Deputy-Mayor).

Mr. Alderman Bishop.

The Rev. J. C. Carlile.

Mr. V. D. de Wet.

Mr. Drummond Hay.



l6 FOLKESTONE DURING THE WAR.

Madame Finez.

Mr. G. Gelardi.

Mrs. Penrose-FitzGerald.

Mr. F. Ronco.

Mrs. Bishop.

The Very Rev. Monsgr. C. Coote (became a
member later).

Chevalier d'Ydewalle.

Mrs. Drummond Hay.

Mr. Councillor Franks.

Mr. A. F. Kidson (Town Clerk).

Pasteur A. Peterson.

Mr. W. H. Routly (Borough Treasurer), Hon.
Sec.

Dr. Yunge-Bateman (Medical Officer of Health).
The Committee set to work to provide food and
shelter. Some of the Churches undertook the respon-
sibility 'of collecting food required upon certain days
of the week ; but the task was far beyond their powers.
Hotel proprietors gave generously, and shopkeepers
readily joined in the effort ; boarding-house proprietors
lent or gave clothing, and beds were made up in Church
halls and public schools. " The Times" and other
journals appealed for funds and garments. The
response was immediate and very generous. The town
spoke, not for herself, but for the larger community,
and her message Was one of good cheer. The business
methods of the Committee were exceedingly good.
Expert advice was called in, and the Government sent
down advisers to co-operate in the colossal task
presented by many thousands of destitute people.

As the boats arrived a company of ladies met the
Refugees with food and hot drinks, so that those who




Photo] [Halksworih Wheeler.

BELGIAN REFUGEES ARRIVING.




Photo] [Halksworth Wheeler.

BELGIAN PAYS HOMAGE TO ENGLISH GIRL.



OUR BELGIAN GUESTS. 17

were entrained and passed on to other towns might
have refreshment on their journey. The magnitnde
of this branch of the work has not been realized. It
became too expensive for the local Committee :
441,860 meals were served to Belgian soldiers apart
from the food distributed to civilians. Large quantities
of sandwiches were handed into trains. The Local
Government Board undertook the arrangements and
the cost, with Miss Ivy Weston, the Misses Spurgen.
Miss Coop, and other ladies as voluntary workers,
Many men and women gave their services as inter-
preters, and rendered valuable assistance in supplying
information.

There were strange tangles to be unravelled.
Husbands and wives became separated from each
other, and had not the least idea of what had happened.
In many cases the wife thought the husband dead,
killed in the defence of his town. One instance, as
an illustration, may be recalled. Edward de Neve,
a Belgian soldier, was wounded in the knee, and
sent to England. His brother was thought to have
been killed at Antwerp, and the supposed widow
arrived in Folkestone, desolate in her grief. Enquiries
were made concerning the brother. It was thought
he had been sent to Cambridge, but there no such
person was known. They had, however, passed on
to another hospital a soldier bearing the same name,
who turned out to be the husband of the poor woman
who was seeking to find her brother-in-law. Her
joy upon the discovery of her husband knew no
bounds.

Correspondence poured in to individual members
of the Committee. One of them received repeated



l8 FOLKESTONE DURING THE WAR.

applications for particulars concerning cases of
Belgian children whose hands had been cut off by the
Germans. An eminent surgeon wrote that he was
extremely anxious to find such a case, purely from a
surgical point of view, in order to try a new invention
of artificial hands which would be of enormous advan-
tage to a child in this condition. No such cases could
be found in Folkestone, much to the disappointment of
correspondents. From an "American" came an
offer of 1,000 for anyone who could bring forward
a child with hands mutilated by Germans. Later
it was discovered that the offer was made by
agents of Germany, well aware that such cases could
not be found in England ! Many letters were received
containing donations for the fund. They were full
of generous sympathy ; labourers and servant-maids
sent their shillings, and wealthy donors contributed
large cheques. Poor people sent part of their clothing,
literally fulfilling the ideal requirement of the Sermon
on the Mount. Offers of hospitality came from all
over the country. Professional men invited members
of their own class to share their homes. Churches of
all creeds offered to set up hostels and guest-houses,
which were of the greatest value. Many of these
institutions have been maintained all through the
War. At first the appeal had the glamour of novelty
and War Funds were few ; but as the years passed the
Belgian became a more familiar figure, and the need
was greatly lessened by employment being obtained
for those able to work ; but there were still many
incapacitated by age or infirmity for the ordinary
avocations of life. They have been maintained, so
that, as M. Charles Dessain, the gallant Burgomaster



OUR BELGIAN GUESTS. 19

of Malines, speaking at Folkestone, said : ' ' When I
asked the Belgians who were here if they wanted
anything, they answered : No. Everything we want
is given us, and our very wishes are forestalled. ' '

An important part of the work was the first care of
the sick. Many old people were utterly prostrate after
their journey, others suffered from nerve shock, and
some were ailing. Those were cared for in the old
Grammar School House, which was turned into a
Hospital and Night Hostel. About sixty persons each
night slept in the dormitories. About 300 patients were


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Online LibraryJohn Charles CarlileFolkestone during the war [1914-1919] a record of the town's life and work → online text (page 1 of 17)