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downsmail.co.uk


Pay respects at local war grave


By VictoriaWallace


WHEREVER I’ve been throughout the centenary period, I have found lads in our cemeteries and on ourmemorials fromtheMaidstone area.


Whether they served with the


Queen’s Own or The Buffs on the Somme or at Passchendaele; or in the RoyalNavy at Jutland, this area lost a huge number of youngmen. Just take one village – Holling-


bourne – and you can find its sons the length of theWestern Front, as well as further afield in Baghdad andAlexandria. When I’m in Dar es Salaam, in


Tanzania, this summer, Iwill pause by another grave. Ronald Wilson was born inHollingbourne in 1881, but fell fighting with the Rhodesia Regiment in East Africa, during a terrible campaign in which as many men died of disease as of


fighting itself. Sometimes our graves tell the


story of Empire – I spotted Arthur Friday, buried in Winnipeg, Canada, last month, presumably after emigrating. He must have served in the Great War and died later ofwounds. Many young men did make it


home, only to succumb to wounds or the flu before they were demo- bilised. One such was a young far- rier, Victor Philpott, who tended thewar horses. I know not everyone canmake a


trip of pilgrimage to the battle- fields, but here in Kent, you are never further than threemiles from


a war grave. Victor is buried in Hollingbourne churchyard, along- side five other casualties of WWI, including an early flyer. There are some in almost every churchyard and everymunicipal cemetery. This November, when we reach


the 100th anniversary of the armistice and you buy your poppy, do join inwith parades, andwatch the amazing 3D film that Peter Jackson has restored to full colour;


but please take 10minutes and pop into your local churchyard to see Victor and his comrades. To me, that is true remembrance. To find them, have a look at our


website www.cwgc.org and click on “find cemeteries”.  VictoriaWallace is the Director General of the Commonwealth WarGravesCommission and lives in Maidstone with her husband and two daughters.


Top honour for officer


IN November 1917, in Palestine, Hunton man Lt Col Arthur Drum- mond Borton led his battalion into a dawn attack against a strongly- held enemy position under wither- ing fire until it was captured. Later, he led a party of volunteers


Howwomen kept us fed


THE families of women who workedonthe landinKent a cen- tury ago are being called on to help celebrate the vital role their relatives played during theGreat War. The Old Chalk New Downs


project, based in Lock Lane, San- dling, is hoping to gather stories andoldphotographs (like this) of those who served on the Home Front from1914-1918. The project, which aims to


show the heritage value of our landscape, coincideswith the an- niversary of the end of the war and the success of the suffragette movement in 1918. SpokesmanHilaryHunter says


many more people are familiar with stories of the British Land Girls ofWWII. “What is lesswell-knownis the


tale of their predecessors; brave women of the latter years of World War One, who broke


down barriers and forged farm- land paths for those girls to fol- low years later, inWWII. Facing suspicion and even hostility, these girls battled on to ensure Britain had food to sustain it.” In Kent, most women were


givenjobsmilking cows or inthe fields. Some were carters or plough-women, market garden- ers, hay-makers or in the Timber Corps, earning the nickname of Lumber Jills. Hilary said: “I would love to


hear from anyone who has a story, or memorabilia from women working on the farms in Kent during the First World War.” The project is part of the


group’s work to raise awareness of Kent’s historic chalk grass- lands and to protect them. Send your WWI agricultural to hilary.hunter


memories @kent.gov.uk.


against a battery of field guns in ac- tion at point-blank range, again showing fearless leadership during the Battle of Gaza. His couragewon himthe Victoria


Cross, the highestmilitarymedal for bravery. Last year, on the centenary, his


admirers gathered to remember his gallantry, his defiance and his con- tempt for danger. Local firm The Stone Shop, in East Farleigh, spon- sored the installation of amemorial plaque in the grounds of Hunton primary school. The unveiling was attended by


members of the Borton family, in- cludingMajorGeneralNicholas Bor- ton DSO MBE, as well as Lance Sgt Beharry VC, who served with the Princess ofWales’s Royal Regiment. Gordon Newton, owner of the


Stone Shop, recalled: “It was a great honour tomeetMaj Gen Bor- ton and his family and Lance Sgt Beharry, who suffered horrendous injuries when he won his VC. But you’d never have known it. It was a lovely day and a privilege to be part of this important event tomark the


WorldWar One |News


achievements of Lt Col Borton.” Also therewas the thenMayor of


Maidstone, Cllr Malcom Greer, as well asMaidstone borough council- lors and all the pupils of Hunton school, who sang the national an- themduring the ceremony. The idea for the plaque came frm


former local borough councillor Brian Mortimer, who was able to track down Maj Gen Borton, a dis- tant cousin of the VC holder. Lt Col Borton survived thewar but


died in 1933, aged 49, at South- wold in Suffolk. He is buried in the churchyard at Hunton.


Malling September 2018 27


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