It’ll Be Over By Christmas…

Despite the commonly-held belief that the First World War would be over by Christmas 1914, four festive seasons passed during the long and brutal conflict.

 

Vintage Christmas card image on homepage courtesy of Snapshots of the Past.

Image: Belgian Tourist Office
The Daily Mirror reports the infamous and poignant Christmas Truce of 1914.
Christmas postcard sent on Christmas Eve, WW1
A postcard sent on Christmas Eve 1915 by Kenneth Carter of the Canadian Field Artillery training at Shorncliffe, Folkestone, to his brother. Image: Step Short
Cameron Highlanders Christmas postcard, Metropostcard.com
A Christmas card made for Scottish regiment the Cameron Highlanders in 1917. Image: Metropostcard.com
German WW1 Christmas Card, Metropostcard.com
The German forces produced a huge number of military Christmas cards throughout the war. Image: Metropostcard.com
VAD Nurse Drawings WW1, British Red Cross
Festive sketches by WW1 Red Cross nurse Edith Maud Drummond Hay. Image: British Red Cross
WW1 Unit Christmas Card, Metropostcard.com
A melancholy Christmas message from the 7th Division in 1916. Image: Metropostcard.com
German WW1 Christmas Card, Metropostcard.com
Another striking German army Christmas card from the Great War. Image: Metropostcard.com
Mole Cafe signatures Christmas Day 1916
Signatures of those who passed through the Mole Cafe (Harbour Canteen) in Folkestone on 25 December 1916. Image: Step Short

The Directors of Step Short wish all our members and supporters a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Battle Of The Somme Centenary: Poppies On The Leas

School children at Poppies on the Leas, Folkestone, 2016
Sandgate Primary schoolchildren get stuck in, poppy planting on the Leas.

Folkestone children took part in a poignant commemoration of the last day of the Battle of the Somme last Saturday.

To mark 100 years since the end of the British army’s bloodiest battle, families and schools from the area came together on the Leas on the morning of Saturday 19 November 2016 to plant hundreds of steel poppies around the artwork Folk Stones.

Created by artist Mark Wallinger for the 2008 Folkestone Triennial, Folk Stones features 19,240 numbered pebbles representing the British servicemen lost on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Wallinger himself attended Saturday’s event along with the Mayor and Mayoress of Folkestone, Martin and Sheila Salmon, Folkestone and Hythe MP and Step Short’s Chairman Damian Collins, and organisers Roger Joyce of Shepway HEART Forum and Ann Berry of Step Short.

The local community turned out in their hundreds, including pupils from St Martin’s, St Eanswythe’s, St Mary’s and Sandgate primary schools.

According to Centenary News, Martin Salmon said: “Today’s proceedings are a fitting way that this town can remember the sacrifices made to enable us to live in freedom and peace 100 years later.

“At their peak, the three camps in the town were seeing in excess of 10,000 men passing through every day. The rest camps were a blessing for the men, for many of whom it was their final day on English soil.”

Roger Joyce, Chairman of Shepway HEART, read a poem written by Eric Berridge, an officer from Folkestone who died during the Battle of the Somme.

Damian Collins said: “What has been wonderful throughout this series of important and poignant centenaries is that people have demonstrated their interest, and their understanding, and their desire for remembrance and commemoration of these terrible events and the sacrifices that men made.”

The event was organised by Shepway HEART Forum (a local heritage and arts organisation), Step Short and the Shorncliffe Trust.

Ann Berry & Mark Wallinger, Poppies on the Leas, Folkestone 2016
Step Short’s Chairman Ann Berry and artist Mark Wallinger on the Folk Stones.
Counting the Folk Stones, Poppies on the Leas November 2016
Local children tackle the impossible task of counting the Folk Stones.
Mayoress Sheila & Mayor Martin Salmon, Poppies on the Leas, Folkestone 2016
Folkestone’s Mayoress Sheila and Mayor Martin Salmon.
St Martin's pupils, Poppies on the Leas Folkestone 2016
St Martin’s pupils preparing to plant their poppies.
Local children at Poppies on the Leas, Folkestone 2016
Folkestone’s young people mark the Battle of the Somme Centenary.
Schoolchildren at Poppies on the Leas, Folkestone 2016
Folkestone families get busy planting.
Local schoolchildren at Poppies on the Leas, Folkestone 2016
Children from St Mary’s Primary Academy help Folkestone to remember the end of the Battle of the Somme.

Bugler’s Last Post

On the evening of Remembrance Day, Sunday 13 November 2016, Bugler Bryan Walker played under the Step Short Memorial Arch for the last time before retiring.

Bryan has played the Last Post every Sunday at 7pm for Step Short, from the first Sunday in August until Remembrance Sunday, for the last few years. This event is timed to coincide with the Last Post played daily at the Menin Gate, Ypres in Belgium – a memorial to British and Commonwealth WW1 soldiers who were lost in battle on the Ypres Salient and whose graves are unknown.

Step Short would like to thank Bryan for his great commitment, and send him the very best wishes for retirement. We look forward to continuing this moving service next year with a newly appointed bugler.

Bugler Bryan Walker Step Short Arch Remembrance Day 2016
Bugler Bryan Walker plays the Last Post on Remembrance Sunday, for the last time.

Folkestone Remembers

Child & Poppy Armistice Day Step Short Arch Folkestone 2016

Step Short’s annual Armistice Day service took place under the Memorial Arch on the Leas at 11.00am on Friday 11 November 2016.

The event was well-attended by the local community, including schools Stella Maris Catholic Primary and Folkestone Primary Academy.

Bugler Kevin Bradley played the Last Post and Reveille; and Piper Ben Millbery played the Lament Flowers of the Forest. Wreaths were laid and poppies attached to the railings close to the top of the Road of Remembrance.

Piper Armistice Day Step Short Arch Folkestone 2016
Piper Ben Millbery playing alongside bugler Kevin Bradley, Royal Marine Cadets and veteran Philip Jones.
Laying of wreaths, Armistice Day Step Short Arch Folkestone 2016
Wreath being laid by WO2 Guy Sargent REME.
Local schools & attendees, Armistice Day Step Short Arch Folkestone 2016
Attendees at the Step Short Armistice Day service 2016, including children from Stella Maris Catholic Primary and Folkestone Primary Academy.

Remembrance In Folkestone, 2016

Step Short Memorial Arch Folkestone
Folkestone’s Memorial Arch. Photo:UpSticksNGo Crew

Folkestone Remembers

Don’t forget that there are a number of events taking place in Folkestone this November to remember the servicemen and women lost during past and more recent conflicts.

Armistice Day on 11 November 2016 will be marked at Cheriton Rd Cemetery, Folkestone. The Machine Gun Corps Ceremony consists of a short service and two minute silence held at 11am.

Step Short will also hold a service at the Memorial Arch on the Leas between 10.30 and 11.30am.

A live webcast of the Royal British Legion’s ‘Silence in the Square’ event on Armistice Day from Trafalgar Square, London will also be available on the British Legion website.

The annual Remembrance Day Parade in Folkestone takes place on Sunday 13 November at the War Memorial on the Road of Remembrance from 10.45am to 11.30am.

On Saturday 19 November at 11am, Poppies on the Leas will mark 100 years since the end of the bloody Battle of the Somme. Local schoolchildren will plant 1,000 symbolic metal poppies close to the Folk Stones artwork on the Leas. Mark Wallinger’s piece features 19,240 numbered pebbles representing the British men who died during the first day of the battle.

Poppies On The Leas, 19 November 2016

Folk Stones by Mark Wallinger, Folkestone, Kent
Folk Stones by Mark Wallinger. Photo: Avidly Abide

Commemorating the end of the Battle of the Somme

After five bloody months, the devastating Battle of the Somme finally came to an end on 19 November 1916. To mark the 100th anniversary of the event, a special ceremony will take place on the Leas in Folkestone at 11am on Saturday 19th November.

A symbolic planting of 1,000 metal poppies by local schoolchildren is planned close to the ‘Folk Stones’ artwork by Mark Wallinger. This piece represents the 19,240 British men who were lost during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The planting will be followed by a short ceremony to be attended by Folkestone Mayor Martin Salmon, the artist Mark Wallinger and town councillors. The event is open to the public.