News |WorldWar One Remembering themall... IN JUST about every churchyard in every corner of Kent, there is a simple stone with names of

men, young and old,whowent away and did not return, writes Simon Finlay. And at the top of these lists, all

chiselled neatly and spelt correctly, are a set of dates: 1914-1918. There are sometimes clutches of

several men with the same sur- name – brothers, fathers and sons, cousins. Coincidences, perhaps. Howmany knewwhat theywere

going into? And would those long lines of volunteers in 1914 have been quite so ready to surrender their all if they had known? Therewere the so-called “pals” –

battalions designed to keep locally enlisted friends, neighbours and colleagues together. Pals were ex- pedient and cheap for the military top brass tomobilise and train, but suffered heavy casualties on the battlefield. Those lists on thewarmemorials

can be very long, indeed. The places they left could have

been in Maidstone, East Malling, Aylesford, Headcorn or Lenham. Their lives were shaped by their

sheer ordinariness until they were thrust into a conflict unimaginable to anyone other than thosewho en- dured it.

Race to repair

warmemorial ITIS hopedcollection boxes anddo- nations will raise the rest of the money needed to refurbish West Malling’swarmemorial for the cen- tenary of the end ofWWl. A crowd-funding appeal has so

far raised £4,500 – just over half the cost – but aswork needs to start be- fore themonth is out, time is tight. Rev David Green, vicar of St

Mary’s, said: “Wehope the collecting tinswill get us over the £8,700 finish line, but time is of the essence.” Thememorialwas built in 1921 at

a cost of £525 and7d,donatedby the public, and plays a central role in Remembrance Day services. The faceliftwill ensure it last another 100 years, says RevGreen. Tomake adonation visit JustGiv-

ing andenter, or post anenvelopemarkedfor thewar memorial through the door of the vicarage in theHigh Street.  The town council has agreed to pay for a 6ft Tommy silhouette to beplacedonthemoundbehindthe war memorial. The aluminium commemorative images are appear- ingatkey locations across the coun- try tomark the centenary and raise £15m for the Armed Forces and mental health charities.

26 Malling September 2018

Soldiers who were stationed nearMaidstone duringWorldWar One But therewere roles at home, too

– land workers, market gardeners, hospital volunteers or those who had to manage daily shortages of food and fuel. Too often, these folk are forgotten. Elsewhere on these pages, The

CommonwealthWar Graves Com- mission’s Director General, Victo- ria Wallace, implores us to make

the effort this November to visit a local war grave. She writes: “I knownot everyone canmake a trip of pilgrimage to the battlefields, but here inKent, you are never fur- ther than three miles from a war grave.” To mark the centenary of the

Great War, Downs Mail would very much love to hear your fami-

lies’ stories,whether your relatives fought or not. If you have a photo of them, so much the better. Perhaps your local society, Scout troop or church is holding amemorial serv- ice or concert?Get in contact andwe will do our best to publicise it.

So, drop us a line at simon.fin-, or call us on 01622 734735.

Meet the town’s everyday heroes

AS PART of this year’s commemora- tions to mark the end of WWI, two walking tours have been devised to explore the landmarks around the county town. Each stop allows thewalker to learn

something about the ordinariness of the livesof soldiers, conscriptsandvol- unteers before thewar. The trails are presented by lottery- funded Kent InWW1.

BLUE TRAIL THIS trail, which is just under two miles long, starts at the Brickmaker’s Arms inPerryfieldStreet,where Ernest Dalton, aged just 15, enlisted claim- ing to bemore than three years older. He was discovered to be under age and sent home in 1916. Peel Street was home to Henry

Charles Price (45), of the Lincolnshire Regiment, who is commemorated in Arras. He was killed a few months short of the armistice. A few doors down, William John served on the Western Front and sawthewar’s final weeks as prisoner of war. He was de- mobbed in 1919. Further along Peel Street lived Ethel

Brooker, daughter of a greengrocer, who was a nursing carer for the Vol- untary Aid Detachment (VAD). InBoxleyRoad,walkerswill learn of

expensive once 190,000 miners had joined up. Meat shortages and ra- tioning are explained in Fisher Street, home to Frederick Baker’s butcher’s.

BURGUNDY TRAIL THIS three-mile walk starts at Lock- meadow, the site of the livestock and foodmarket inthe yearsbeforeWW1. Across the river at All Saints’

Church, we learn of bell-ringer Leonard Startup’s death, aged 33, in action in 1917 and the role of John Gibb, fromKnightrider Street, asmed- ical officer and surgeon at Hayle Place,Maidstone. Church Streetwas home to airme-

EdwardGeoffreywhosurvivedinjuries on theWestern Front. The trail passes St Luke’s Church,

where an unnamed curate won the MilitaryMedal. Allen Street,where theHenryDavis

bakery once stood, is the ideal place torecall the shortages of importedUS flour caused by U-boat action. The government milled British cereals to make what was called “national bread”. In Wheeler Street, prison warder Thomas Pargeter – also in the VAD– achieved an award for rescuing someone fromawell inMaidstone. James Street remembers the short- age of coal,which became scarce and

chanic Hubert Arthur, who served in the RoyalNaval Air Service. During the autumn of 1914, the

West Kent Yeomanry was billeted at the school in Union Street, while chil- drenwere helping to harvest crops. TailorHenry Taylorworked inWeek

Street. He was promoted to captain after being awarded the Military Cross inMacedonia. The walk continues to the warme-

morial, and thehome ofmilkmanVic- tor Startup, son of Leonard. Victor survived the war as a frontline stretcher-bearer and a prisoner.  To discover more about the trails, go

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