The Dover Cruise Terminal annual Service of Remembrance was held on the 8th November 2019 at the Western Docks. The memorial at the terminal was erected in 1922 in memory of the 556 South Eastern and Chatham railway men who lost their lives in the Great War – it now also commemorates those men who gave their lives in World War 2.
There were 15 regimental and association standards on parade, including the RMA standard carried by ‘Dusty' Miller and that of the GBA carried by Paul Hardy. The Service was conducted by several Chaplains, including those of the Southeastern and British Transport Police, the Port of Dover and the Chaplain of the Duke of York’s Military School.
The Service includes the ‘Remembrance Torch’, which is lit in Westminster Abbey at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and taken via Dover to several memorial sites in Belgium, ending with the Armistice Service at the Menin Gate in Ypres on the 11th November. Music was provided by a Gurkha piper from Folkestone Barracks and Buglers from the Duke of York’s Military School.
Several wreaths were laid, including those by the Chairman of Dover District Council, the Mayors of Deal and Folkestone: a wreath was also laid on behalf of the GBA by our own RMA branch member Bob Davies.
At the end of the Service immediately after the National Anthem, the standard bearers and piper led the way to the memorial plaque inside the main building – this plaque commemorates the homecoming of the unknown warrior on route through Dover to its final resting place in Westminster Abbey. A wreath was laid at this site by a representative of the Dover Society.
Brigadier General Wyatt, born in 1874, was a professional military man, having joined the army soon after leaving Aldenham grammar school. He joined the North Staffordshire Regiment in 1895 and fought in the Boer war, being injured at Jackfontein in 1900. He disembarked in France in 1914 as a major, and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in 1916. By 1920 he had been promoted to the post of general officer in command of British troops in France and Flanders, as well as director of graves, registrations and enquiries.
It was in this capacity that, just after midnight on 8 November 1920, in a makeshift chapel at St Pol in France, Wyatt chose the body of a soldier to represent the Unknown Warrior.
Tracie Thomas – RMA committee
Photos courtesy of Bob Davies