These small postcards (some of which were hand stitched by Belgium and French refugees, and later made in factories) are moving evidence of the human story hidden within the brutality of war.
Harry Friend lived in St Margarets Bay, but at the age of 43 was called up to fight. He was lucky and returned home safely.
Reading his delicately penciled message to his wife shows how caring and polite a man he must of been, his main concern was on his families’ welfare back at home.
These objects are some of the few physical items the museum’s collection hold which demonstrate the connection of this village to World War One. However speaking to Museum Curator Christine Waterman and Tracey Brunt from the Bay Trust I realised that not just Dover, but also St. Margarets Bay played a huge role on defending and supporting those who were fighting over the Channel.
Here are just a few of the leads and facts I picked up whilst on my first visit;
Alex Little who lived there was a famous flying ace, he died at the age of 22yrs.
Swingate Airfield is nearby;
Convalescent Soldiers stayed in the old school in the village.
In 1913 Henry Royce ( of Rolls Royce) lived in the village with his mistress. In 1915 he designed the eagle engine which powered the first transatlantic flight.
60% of the aircraft enigines used during the war were designed by Rolls Royce.
In WW1 volunteers in the village knitted for the troups over 8500 garments. There is still a very strong W.I in the village.
The under sea telegraph and telephone cables came in at St Margarets.
Alongside the small museum and tearooms is a very beautiful garden. I wondered through this space with my son, who spend most of the time catching small animals. It is a great juxtaposition and contrast to the museum and provides a space for other outdoor activities.
For example on 13th & 14th September there is a 1940’s Weekender, in which i am planning to run workshops. There will be a mixture of vintage vehicles, stalls, music and dancing, sounds like my cup of tea.
My mind is buzzing with all sorts of responses. I need to do some more reading , any excuse to buy more books!