Step Short in partnership with IWM

The Imperial War Museum, London, has taken a lead role for national preparations to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. Step Short is proud to be in partnership with the IWM.

Click on the IWM logo above to find out more about the Museum’s plans. To find out more about our plans at Step Short, please browse our site.

 

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Step Short registered as a Charity

Our application to the Charity Commission has been successful. Our number is 1143305. With our educational and heritage activities recognised we look forward to bringing to a world-wide audience the stories and experiences of life in and around Folkestone during WWI, and of the men and women for whom this was the last stop on English soil before their short journey to the maelstrom of the Western Front. Please support us by becoming a Member or by making a Donation.

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Step Short Folkestone has agreed to press ahead with one of its most exciting and challenging centenary projects and has launched an urgent fund-raising appeal to help with the cost.

Many of the soldiers who stopped at the Harbour Canteen for a final cuppa before boarding their troop ship to the front line trenches signed one of the visitors’ books

The books offer a moving insight into the people behind the history and together form a uniquely personal tribute to some 42,000 of the men who passed through the canteen on their way to France. The spine of the books reads simply “Autographs from Folkestone Pier”.

Step Short Folkestone has now agreed to digitise the books to create a unique online reference work that will be of immense interest to scholars, researchers, historians and family-tree enthusiasts. The names will be indexed to create a searchable database that can be accessed through the website, but the process is costly.

The group is looking for cash help to raise the £6,000 needed to turn these historic books into a vital, permanent record of these brave men who set off almost 100 years ago on what was, for many, to be their final journey.

To contribute, click the link to the Contact page and get in touch. You can also become a Friend of Step Short by following the link here or at the top of the page.

A busy weekend for Step Short

Geoff Tolson at Folkestone War Memorial
Step Short's Geoff Tolson lays a wreath at the war memorial

While the nation looked back at the bravery of the country’s armed forces on Remembrance Sunday, members of Folkestone’s Step Short project were also looking forward.

The group used the weekend to launch this new website that showcases the projects that are now underway and that will focus the nation’s attention on the anniversary of the start of the Great War in 2014.

They include replanting and renovating the Road of Remembrance, down which every one of those millions of men marched between 1914 and 1918, and adding a ‘time line’ highlighting the main events of the war from the top of the road to the bottom.

“We believe Folkestone should be at the forefront of the commemorations in 2014 as it played such a vital role in the Great War, and we felt it was appropriate to launch the website during Remembrance Weekend,” said project vice-chairman Ann Berry.

Ann was re-elected as vice chairman of the group at Friday’s annual meeting, where chairman Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone, looked back at a very successful year for the project.

He highlighted close and growing links with the Imperial War Museum in London, Shepway District Council and the Folkestone Harbour Company as evidence that the group’s plans were being taken on board as a focus for the centenary celebrations, not just locally but nationally.

The meeting also agreed to go ahead with plans to digitise the visitors’ books that were signed by soldiers who stopped for refreshments at the Harbour Canteen on their way to the front line.

The 42,000 names will eventually be made available on this website and are expected to provide valuable information for genealogists and anyone interested in the Great War.

The annual meeting also saw the launch of a new Friends organisation, while on Sunday, Step Short’s Geoff Tolson laid a wreath on behalf of Step Short at Folkestone War Memorial.