How many…?

There has always been a debate about how many people traveled from and to Folkestone during the Great War. It has been claimed that it was the principal route to France and Flanders. The other route was from Southampton to Havre or Dieppe. Today, we are adding another book to our Library page. British Railways and the Great War by Edwin Pratt provides a detailed analysis.

‘Eventually the number of persons embarking or landing at Folkestone between August 5th, 1914, and June 28th, 1919, was over ten and a half million, the exact figures being :

British officers and men and Allied officers and men . . . 9,271,726

Civilians engaged in Red Cross and other War-work . , . 1,233,177

German prisoners of war . . . … . . 2,010


The figure for Southampton is just over 8 million, though more material was shipped from there. Pratt’s book, in two volumes contains a mass of information, and includes some interesting accounts of Folkestone during the war, for instance:

‘Folkestone assumed the aspect of a cosmopolitan city. There were to be seen in the town, on the Leas, or passing along the Lower Sandgate Road, British, Dominion, Colonial, American, French, Russian or Serbian troops, together with contingents of Indians, Chinese, Kaffirs, West Indians and Fijians.’

(with thanks to Nick Spurrier for bringing this book to our attention)