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Folkestone remembers one of the first air raids which targeted civilians - killing 72 and injuring 102 - PHOTOS

Contributed by editor on May 28, 2017 - 02:00 PM

 

By Ray Duff

More than 200 people gathered at a memorial service in Folkestone to mark the 100th anniversary of a World War One bombing raid in Folkestone.

 


The service, at the Methodist Church in Sandgate Road, took place on Thursday 25th May to mark the centenary of the bombs dropped and people killed or injured in Tontine Street and across Folkestone and beyond, during the 'Gotha Raid'.

The service was led by Reverend Sam Funnel with Michael Foad at the organ. It was attended by civic dignitaries including the Mayors of Folkestone and Hawkinge and l relatives of some of those who were affected together with many local residents.

Damian Collins, PPC spoke saying that the raid was one of the first in modern wartime to directly target civilians and followed this by asking all to stand for a minutes silence to include the latest civilian victim at the Manchester bombing.

The Rev Funnel then asked all to sing the Hymn: Psalm 100; which was performed at the 1917 memorial service.


Top: The Civic dignitaries Middle: The large congregation Below: The Exhibition at the Church  Photos: Ray Duff

Thereafter the following, or relatives of, read the lists of those civilians killed in 1917: A'me Moris, John Boughton, Margaret Care, Brian Reynard, Susan Collard,  Richard Willcocks, Gillian Sheail, Philip Cotterill and Eamonn Rooney.

Michael George then spoke pointing out that the father of one of the families lost, The Norris's was serving on the front line at the time. Mr George then read the names of the soldiers who were killed at Shorncliffe Barracks on the day which included Canadian nationals.

A candle in remembrance was then lit by Jonathan Easdown, Martin Easdown's young son.

Top: The Rev Funnel leads the unveiling of the Memorial  Middle: The Memorial plaque to those who died Below: The modern descendants of those killed or injured in 1917 surround the memorial  Photos: Ray Duff

Following a Bible reading( Psalm 46); the congregation then sang Hymn: 'O God, our help in ages past' which too, was part of the 1917 memorial service.

Martin Easdown then read his own memorial poem: 'Poignant Journey' followed by the Rev Funnel leading all in a final prayer, The Lord's Prayer and a Blessing.


Top: The refurbished Memorial plaque and Wreaths at the Tonrtine Street site of the bombing  Below: The Commemorative board at Folkestone Library, Heritage Room  Photos: Ray Duff

At 6.22pm, the time the last bomb hit, the congregation moved to the Garden Of Remembrance where Rev Funnel gave a Blessing as a Commemorative plaque which lists, with their ages, those who were killed, was officially unveiled.

The commemoration was organised by Miss Margaret Care, the last descendant of the Stokes' family who owned the greengrocers in Tontine Street and local historian Martin Easdown.

Three commemorative folders were provided, one listing those killed with a cover design by Jasmine McIntosh( aged 8), a 2 x Great Grand-Daughter of Elizabeth Maxted (killed); one listing those injured with a design by Kate Anderton (aged 7); 2 x Great Grand-Daughter of Frederick Stokes (who died from injuries sustained) and one for the commemoration itself.

Following the service, local historians Eamonn Rooney and Martin Easdown led walks around the town to Tontine Street and beyond to mark the event.

In Tontine Street they stopped beside the site of the shop where a long standing plaque has been renovated in front of the current memorial garden area. (NB: The original memorial plaque is on display at the new Folkestone Museum.)

The Raid - On the day of the raid, people were going about their business as usual and were unaware of the 21 German aircraft carrying out 'Operation Turkenkreuz' which had earlier attempted a first daylight bombing of London but the weather had forced them to turn round and so attack across Kent. Maidstone and Ashford were hit first before the bombers arrived over Hythe, Sandgate and Cheriton. At Shorncliffe Military Camp 18 soldiers (16 Canadian and 2 British) were killed and 90 wounded. It was at about 6.15pm they arrived over Folkestone with one bomb hitting the Stokes' greengrocers shop in Tontine Street where the largest number of people died and causing major damage opposite at 6.22pm. In total 72 were killed and 102 injured in the town.


Further Info:

1) Gotha G.IV aircraft: (WW1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotha_G.IV

2) The Turkenkreuz Raid: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/aerial-warfare-and-world-war-one/operation-turkenkreuz/

3) The Folkestone Raid: http://www.leshaigh.co.uk/folkestone/tontineraid.html

4) Janice Brooker's webpage -contains lists of those killed & injured:

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~folkestonefamilies/Tontinestreet.htm

5) General info: http://firstworldwar.com/airwar/bombers_gotha_giant.htm

6) Hythe casualties: http://www.fadedgenes.co.uk/CWGC_Daniel_Stringer_Lyth_(senior).pdf

7) An Ashford casualty: http://www.kentfallen.com/PDF%20REPORTS/SPARKES%20G.A.pdf

Top: Margaret Carr and Martin Easdown with the Plaque in the Garden of Remembrance Photo: Eamonn Rooney
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