WW1 Film Festival in Folkestone

WWI Film Festival – In partnership with Silver Screen Cinema in Folkestone, the National Army Museum and Folkestone Town Council have organised a series of FREE screenings of classic and contemporary films inspired by the First World War, with related talks. The Programme is as follows:


·        Gallipoli (1981) 23 January 2015, 7.30 – 9.30 pm.

·        War Horse (2011) 24 January 2015, 10.30 am – 1.00 pm

·        Joyeux Noel (2006) 24 January 2015, 2.30 – 4.30 pm

·        All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) 24 January 2015, 7.30 – 10.00 pm

·        My Boy Jack (2007) 25 January 2015, 12.30 – 2.30 pm

·        Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) 25 January 2015, 3.00 – 5.30, pm

·        Nurse Edith Cavell (1939) 25 January 2015, 7.30 – 9.30, pm

Films will be shown at the Silver Screen Cinema, Town Hall 1-2, Guildhall Street.  Related activities will take place in the Town Hall over the weekend between 10am – 4pm, including an opportunity to handle some of the National Army Museum’s Collections.

Speakers include Mark Connelly from the University of Kent, TV historian Andy Robertshaw, author Diana Souhami and experts from the National Army Museum who will introduce the films and host Q & A sessions.  Related activities at the Town Hall will appeal to families and younger visitors.

For more information and to book tickets please follow the link www.nam.ac.uk/film-festival or google “Your Country Calls: First World War in Film”


Prince Harry in Folkestone for WW1 Centenary 4th August 2014

Buckingham Palace issued the following Press Release today: ‘HRH Prince Henry of Wales will attend the “Step Short” commemorative event in Folkestone.’ The Chairman of Step Short, Damian Collins MP, and his fellow Trustees are delighted with this news and will look forward to joining the people of Folkestone in welcoming the Prince to the town on the occasion of our annual commemorative march and the official unveiling of the Memorial Arch on The Leas on 4th August 2014, 100 years exactly since Britain entered the First World War.

Click here for Buckingham Palace link.

More details will be announced shortly.

Military March Music Competition in Folkestone

9th May 2014

Military March music composed by the Army and the Royal Air Force in honour or those who took part in the First World War will be aired for the first time next month at a competition in Folkestone.


Educational charity Step Short invited the Directors of Music of the three Armed Forces to ask their musicians and student musicians to compose a military march called Step Short to be played at the unveiling of Folkestone’s new commemorative arch on 4 August.


Step Short was the order given to millions of men and women to allow them to shorten their stride as they descended the steep slope of Folkestone’s Road of Remembrance on their way to the harbour and a boat to the Western Front during the war.


The Directors of Music of the RAF and Army have now each put their two best entries forward for a Step Short judging panel that will meet on Friday 9 May at Sir John Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe, near Folkestone. The Royal Marines were unable to compete due to other commitments.


The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas is hosting the event and will play the four entries for the judging panel, which will be advised by Major David Cresswell (Retd), the Director of Military Music at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School in Dover.


The winning composer of the Step Short March will be presented with a prize of £1,000, thanks to a private Sponsor, and the music will be played by the Gurkha Band as part of the parade and march that will take place on 4 August during the unveiling of the commemorative arch on The Leas.


Judges will be competition coordinator Alan Warren, from the Step Short events group, Ann Berry and Ben Millbery BA.

Black Soldiers in WW1. Can you help?

We know most of the nations and nationalities that passed through Folkestone during the First World War. We believe that among these soldiers of the British West Indies Regiment might be included as several battalions of the BWIR served on the Western Front. Do you know of any black soldiers, ancestors perhaps, who boarded the troop ships at Folkestone Harbour? If so please do contact us urgently at [email protected]

Walk & Talk

We will soon be announcing a series of guided WW1 walks around Folkestone, to be led by Step Short Guides. In the meantime, we are delighted to highlight the work being done by Geoff Rambler.  

With considerable experience, Geoff ‘s walks are relaxed, informative and healthy. Add to that the fact that they are free (any donations most welcome and these will be passed on in full to the Royal British Legion), and it is no wonder that we are pleased to support Geoff.

Below is a link to his website, but do please note that Geoff will be leading a Folkestone walk on Saturday 29 March. Taking in many of the sites and events that make the town a ;must’ for anyone with an interest in WW1, the 8 mile circular walk starts at just before 10am at the Central Station Car Park.

For more information click here

An Online Feast!

With the launch of the Folkestone Harbour Canteen Visitors’ Books at the end of the month, we also learn that The National Archives have launched the first tranche of digitised WW1 Unit War Diaries. These consist of the diaries of the original BEF  (that contemptible little army)   made up of three cavalry and seven infantry divisions. To find out more, follow this LINK

BBC announces Centenary plans

In what will be a monumental piece of broadcasting, the head of the BBC  has announced details of how it will commemorate the centenary of the Great War:

Dear All, 

This morning we’re launching the most ambitious season of programmes we’ve ever commissioned, to mark the centenary of World War One.   

The war touched the lives of millions across the country, across Europe and the world over.  Over the next four years, the BBC is going to have a profound impact on the way we all look at the conflict.   

I feel passionately about our role in education.  I want 2014 to be remembered for our national commemoration of all those who served on the battlefield and on the Home Front – and a chance for us all to learn something new about a war we think we know well.

On television, on radio, and on digital, we’ll be telling the extraordinary stories and legacy of World War One in whole new ways.    

Here’s a film of some of the highlights.  It moved me when I saw it this morning – and I hope you like it too:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/ww1/

Best wishes 

Tony Hall



Well done to Roy Eastland

At the bottom of our Home page we feature work of Kent artist, Roy Eastland. His series of silverpoint drawings of the victims of The Great Air Raid of 1917 have won critical acclaim and have been included in the Jerold Drawing Prize exhibition for 2013, Roy’s work will be displayed at The Jerwood Art Space, Union Street, London until 27 October 2013. It will then tour, including the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury in March 2014. We are hoping that Roy will be able to come to Folkestone next summer to exhibit at one of the Centenary exhibitions being arranged by Step Short. Click HERE to read a review in The Independent and Here to visit Roy’s blog.