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Tunbridge Wells Area War Memorials


westkent78
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Hello Forum,

I'm transplanted here in Minnesota USA, but I've been bitten by the WW1 research bug and would like to research the men on the war memorials from West Kent where I grew up.

Specifically, I'm interested in the memorials within the Tunbridge Wells, Southborough, Pembury, Tonbridge, Frant area. Sadly I won't be able to get over to visit them in person for some considerable time.

If any Pal has transcriptions or readable photos of these memorials I would be most grateful if they could post them or pass them along to me.

Thanks for any information forthcoming.

Regards,

Matthew

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Hi Matthew,

will be spending some time down there next month, see what i can do, is there any specifics you are looking for???

Andy

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Tunbridge Wells, Southborough, Pembury, Tonbridge, Frant area.

Matthew,

It may be worthwhile getting the info from SDITGW for , born in, resident in, the above places as well for comparision with the Memorials.

Just a thought.

Aye

Malcolm

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Matthew,

I am working – slowly – on Southborough. My family is represented on the memorial by Oscar Maier, my father’s eldest brother. My mother pointed the name out to me before I could read. That was more than 60 years ago, in the dark days of another war. The Maier family lived in Southborough for 100 years until my mother died in 1995. My father lived there all his life. My brother and I were born there and we both went to the tiny school behind St Peter’s church, little more than a hundred yards from the memorial. The headmaster of that school, WFA Cox, chaired the war memorial committee at the end of the war. He had been at the school for some time and had taught so many of the dead boys.

My avatar is the cross on the top of the memorial, and the picture shows the whole thing, with WWII additions.

post-19-1083804997.gif

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Malcolm,

Thanks for the advice. I hadn't realised that the SDITGW cd was so detailed or versatile. At 200 British pounds (why can't US keyboards have a sterling symbol!) it'll have to wait at present, as I'm in hot pursuit of an expensive 4 bar Crimean medal to complete a group I have, but I can see it's going to be an important new addition on my already over-long wish list.

Matthew

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Andy,

Thanks for the offer. All I would like at present :) would be a list of names and regiments if the memorials mention them. Whether this comes from a transcription or just pictures that I can decifer myself, it all depends which is most convenient. In order of preference of memorials:

1. Tunbridge Wells

2. Southborough

3. Tonbridge

4. Pembury

5. Frant

But realistically any of these would be great. I'm just looking for a starting point really.

Hope you enjoy your trip down there.

Matthew

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Clive,

I'm relatively familiar with the memorial as well. I used to play cricket for Southborough, for a season, so I spent a fair amount of time contemplating the memorial and church. But I never got around to noting down the names.

Do you happen to know if men from High Brooms are included on the Southborough memorial or are they on Tunbridge Wells'?

Do you have a list of names from the memorial that you would be willing to pass on to me?

Good to hear from you, and thanks for the drawing.

Regards,

Matthew

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Matthew,

You probably know that getting names on a particular memorial was quite a hit and miss affair. Surprisingly, at Southborough I found this was just as true after WWII as it was after the Great War. It depended to a degree on who remained in the district to speak for the dead person, and how au fait they might be with the ways of – and the people on – the war memorial committee.

I have not yet researched the memorial at Tunbridge Wells nor the Garden of Remembrance at Tonbridge. I am quite sure that I could make a case that some people on these memorials should rightly be on the Southborough memorial. Southborough people are also commemorated on the memorial gates at Judd, my old school, and I think we can say with virtual certainty, on the honours board at Skinners.

I have not got a comprehensive list of memorials in the Tunbridge Wells area but in addition to those you mentioned, I know offhand of examples at Hildenborough and Rusthall. The latter is notable for its architect, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

So I am pretty sure there will be High Brooms names on the Tunbridge Wells memorial but in principle, the intention was to place them on the Southborough memorial. The two places were closely linked and High Brooms station was formerly known as Southborough station. They were linked by disaster too. When the troopship Hythe went down off Cape Helles, it took with it 155 men. Of these, 129 were from the 1/3 Kent Field Company Royal Engineers. Southborough memorial lists 28 men of Southborough and High Brooms who died in this accident. The local toll was so heavy because the company was raised in Southborough and the surrounding towns and villages largely at the instigation of Sir David Salomons. You probably know Broomhill, the grand Salomons family house in Speldhurst Road, Southborough. His only son, Captain Reggie Salomons, was among those lost. The men are also commemorated on the Helles Memorial, and on a marble memorial plaque placed in their drill hall in Speldhurst Road by Sir David. This was rescued when the hall fell into disuse and eventually made its way to St Matthew’s church in High Brooms. I have yet to see it. They are also remembered by a housing development built on the site of my father’s old home in Southborough and now known as Hythe Close. There a commemorative wall plaque recalls the Hythe disaster.

Southborough memorial carries the names of 250 men and one woman who fell in both wars; about 43 of these are from WWII. I will pass on a list of names but I fear it will have to wait for a day or two while I grapple with deadlines in my business.

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Chris,

I had found that website a couple of months ago, but then forgot about it, so thank you for reaquainting me with it. It definitely has lots of useful information.

Thanks,

Matthew

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Clive,

I thought that High Brooms probably was considered part of Southborough for memorialisation, so it's good to have that confirmed. I can see that this project has the potential to expand enormously, as I'd have to include Skinners and Judd as well as Tonbridge School -my place of learning, and probably all the prep schools around which have memorials.

It's strange how interests develop. Having grown up in the area for twenty-odd years with access to the memorials but only now am I really serious about researching the local area's participation in WW1 and I'm separated by the Atlantic ocean from the source material.

Many was the day I'd sit in the Garden of Remembrance at my prep school during breaktime looking at the names on the boards while talking with friends, but it never struck me to copy them down. It'll certainly give me an excuse to visit all my old haunts when I do get a chance to visit England again.

With regard to your passing on of the names. I certainly don't want to inconvenience you so whenever you get a chance is absolutely fine. It is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Matthew.

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Matthew,

Will see about getting some digi pics for you whilst i am down there and e mail them to you. Shoud be there towards the middle of next month with work.

Andy

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Andy,

Great! Thanks for doing this.

Regards,

Matthew

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Hi,

I have been transcribing all the war memorials in the Ashford (Kent) area for the past 2 years. This area goes from Ashford to Chilham near Canterbury and down to the Kent/Sussex border. If you want any information on these areas, I can let you have everything I have. Of course this is not the area you are intrested in. The closest I have got to Tun/Wells is Rolvenden and Biddenden.

My research covers the Ashford Borough Council area which has the largest local authority area in Kent. To date I have traced nearly 1,700 men, 600 of whom are not commemorated locally at all. My guess is that the TUN/Wells area will be the same. Many War Memorials contain errors and mis spellings, be aware of this!

I took the surname and initials on the War Mems and turned them into -

Full Name

Rank

Regimental Number

Regiment or Arm

Date Died

Where buried etc..

What the unit was doing when killed and where it was

Any additional info such as family ect..

The local papers often show photographs of the men and give information on how they died.

Good luck

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Neil,

Thanks for the kind offer of the Ashford rolls you have compiled. I'd definitely like to take you up on that, as I know that my research would inevitably widen in scope and the Ashford area is a logical progression within Kent.

I'll probably end up having researched the whole of Kent one day in the distant future, as while I'm most eager researching my immediate home-turf at present, I do like visiting all those small villages in Kent. When you've been away from Kent for a while you certainly develop an appreciation for the countryside there.

Hopefully we can share information when it's relevant to our areas of study.

Regards,

Matthew

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Hi,

To properly research the WHOLE of Kent is a truly massive task. I would imagine that it would be next to inpossible for one person to do this. It has taken me nearly 2 years to research the Ashford area. My advice would be to pick a local authority area and stick to it. Co-operation through this medium will ensure that eventually all areas are documented. I wish you all the best. If you want the rolls I have please Email me with your Email address and I shall send it. To date my research goes to nearly 500 A4 pages. Its all on MS Word and I will never copyright the information.

Good Luck

NEIL

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