Once again, we were delighted to support the FSG Enrichment Day by providing a ‘new improved’ town trail for a group of Year 12 girls. After their fact finding expedition in the morning, we met up again in the afternoon to talk about some of the issues and to let the girls handle some of our fascinating documents and artifacts from WW1. Of particular interest were the two albums of photos, newspaper articles and ephemera collected by Miss Compton, the daughter of the Folkestone postmaster during the war. Below are some photographs of the day.
For the past few years, members of Step Short have been visiting local primary schools to give presentations on the history of the Canada Day ceremony at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. Aimed at the children who have been chosen to attend the ceremony, held each year on 1st July, we have a “hands on” encouraging the children to imagine themselves as participants in the events. Click here to read some of the material provided to the schools. This project was described in the Bulletin, the journal of the Western Front Association.
Stop the War is an interactive classroom game for GCSE students. Players take the role of world leaders of the 6 main countries involved. It is centred round the July 1914 crisis and, given secret and public information, the players have to decide to go to war or stop the war. Six groups of Folkestone Academy students played the game on 8th March. Unfortunately none of the groups was able to stop the war, but we all enjoyed the experience and got to look at the war from a very different perspective. And there were some lively discussions!
The game covers that part of the national curriculum and engages and enthuses young people in subject which is otherwise difficult to teach. It was developed by Adrian Lockwood with help from Philip Gearing and Michael George and the Head of History at the Academy Ian Taylor. We are planning to take this into a number of other schools. Apart from the learning opportunities for the students we are also collecting evaluation data to help with developing other Step Short projects.
In 2011 Step Short collaborated with the Folkestone Library and Heritage Studies staff. We devised a day long itinerary with, in the morning, a Town Trail to identify local WW1 landmarks and stories and, in the afternoon the chance to examine some of the remarkable artifacts held at the Heritage Archives. This programme is especially valuable for ‘Focus Days’. We were delighted that one of the students this year (2011) went on the chose to research the Great Air Raid as her EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). Click Here to see the Town Trail route and questionnaire. Sorry, but we cannot provide the answer sheet as we will use this questionnaire again.
Books on the Great War can be found in abundance. Our aim is to locate those which have a relevance to the role of Folkestone and its environs during the war. Initially, the books will be listed on this page; as more are added, a dedicated library page will be opened. Please let us have your suggestions for titles to be included.
A valuable source of free online material can be found at the Internet Archive Digital Library.
Folkestone during the War by J C Carlile was published in 1920
The book is a detailed account of all major events and people during WW1 and, although the language may at times seem quaint, it is readable and is generously illustrated. Click on the image to open and read or download online (via Archive.org)
The USA entered the war in 1917 and American troops began to arrive in Britain in increasing numbers. Although the time spent by ‘the Yanks’ in Folkestone might be counted only in days, before crossing to France, it is clear from several books about American units that they took full advantage of their brief stay in the town. Below is a selection of these books.
The next book follows the story of ‘The 112th’, and introduces us to the ‘Doughboys’. Again it is searchable, with page 80–of particular interest. What did the residents of Folkestone make of their new visitors? The American troops were impressed with the town: ‘From 9 until noon the boys of the 112th had the freedom of Folkestone, and were delighted beyond measure with the trim-looking little Channel city, with its quaint streets and attractive shops.’
Click here to read
With the First Canadian Contingent by Mary Plummer (1915)
After their first few months on the inhospitable Salisbury Plain, the Canadian army moved to Folkestone. Mary Plummer was in charge of organising Comforts for the men and her book contains some vivid accounts of those days, with many fascinating photographs. Click here to read the book online.
Again, we find the Canadians providing details of training and recreation in Folkestone. Here, the story of the Fifth Canadian Field Ambulance is told, including several contemporary photographs.
A book well worth reading!. Click here to download.
The avalanche of wounded soldiers and servicemen and women was well beyond the capacity of pre-war medical services. Stepping into the breach was a well organised volunteer army of nurses and carers. Although those who returned to Blighty to be cared for were dispersed throughout the country, it was in Kent that the majority of medical services were centered. This book is a detailed account of the work of the VADs, the Voluntary Aid Detachments in the county, and is full of information about the work, the places and the people who carried out this essential work.
Click here to read the book and see the many rare photos.
This is a very special book and tells of a young man’s flying career during WW1. His time is divided between Folkestone, Dover and France. In his letters home, Rosher makes light of the dangers, but he cannot hide the fact that many of his friends died. His own life was cut short when he crashed his aircraft at Dover. Read this unique account by clicking here