BEFORE THE RAID
Civilians have always been directly affected by wars, whether they were the grieving relatives of men who had died in action, or as the victims of siege, famine and displacement. But the First World War brought a new threat - attacks on non combatants from the air.
The first raids made by Germany on the UK were by "Zepps", airships which dropped bombs on Norfolk on 19th and 20th January 1915, causing death and injury.
But by the end of 1916 the British people were not feeling as vulnerable as they had in 1915 and 1916. The airships or Zeppelins were no longer such a threat, because a good line of defence had been installed against them: a wireless warning system, gun crews, searchlights, and aeroplane patrols.
Indeed the attention of the British government turned to the threat of U Boat attacks on merchant shipping. Gun deliveries were diverted from home defence against air attacks to the mercantile marine, and two squadrons of RFC pilots were sent to France, relieved of their Home defence duties.
The Germans realised that the Zeppelin was now a limited weapon and when a new Gotha twin engine plane was produced in autumn 1916, bombing attacks using aircraft became a real possibility.
Until this time Folkestone had escaped from the air raids and shelling by the German Navy that had affected other towns and cities, despite being a prime target. Folkestone harbour was one of the main embarkation points for troops headed for the Western Front. Many of the larger houses in the town were being used a rest camps for soldiers from the battlefields. At Shorncliffe Military Camp thousands of men were camped, including a large contingent from Canada, and the main line of communication from the Western Front to London ran through the town.
25th May 1917 was a Friday. It had been a warm and sunny late Spring day, and the shops in Tontine Street were still doing a brisk trade, although it was nearly six o clock. It was Whitsun Bank Holiday on Monday and many wives were purchasing extra provisions for the long week end. Mothers chatted as they queued for the green grocer or fruiterer, while their children played in the sunshine. An aeroplane circled overhead but few were alarmed, as most thought it was 'one of ours' from Dover. There were a series of crashes in the distance but again it was thought to be gun practice from one of the army camps in the vicinity. So the people of Folkestone were taken completely by surprise when the Gotha 'planes swooped down on the town, dropping their loads of high explosive bombs.
The aeroplanes approached the town from the west at about 14,000 feet. Some attacked Hythe and Shorncliffe Camp, others the west end of Folkestone itself, around Central Station and Bouverie Road East. They then made their way to the town centre and here the majority of the fatalities occurred when one of the bombs made a direct hit outside STOKES' Brothers greengrocers in Tontine Street.
The greatest number of killed an injured was caused by the bomb which fell on Tontine Street. Nearly 60 were killed instantly, many others died later from their injuries and over 100 suffered wounds. For those who witnessed it, the carnage was so appalling it could never be forgotten.
The Fire Brigade, Red Cross, Ambulance Corps, and Police were soon swamped by calls for help, and the Canadian Army Medical Corps and the Special Police were brought in to help with the removal of the dead and to rescue the injured. The cemetery and Royal Victoria Hospital mortuaries were soon filled, and the military hospitals at West Cliffe and Shorncliffe were also used for the injured.
The total number killed was 71: 16 men, 28 women and 27 children The total number injured was 96, but certainly this is a minimum number as there were many with minor injuries who did not attend hospital and were therefore not counted.
Outside Folkestone itself other bombs fell; 19 at Lympne, 19 at Hythe, 2 at Sandgate, 16 at Cheriton, and 18 at the military camps at St Martin's Plain, Dibgate and Shorncliffe.
At Shorncliffe a total of 18 soldiers (16 Canadians) were killed and 90 were wounded (86 of these were Canadians)
The death toll is shocking to us now, but was greeted with disbelief in 1917. Dover had been air raided 18 times, but the death toll had been 22 in total, although nearly 190 bombs had been dropped.
Reporting the wars news in the press was a precarious business. When the Defence Of the Realm Act (DORA) was introduced in 1914, restrictions were placed on many aspects of day to day life, but one of the most pervasive was the control of the press. The reporting of news items liable to cause alarm and despondency was an offence punishable by law, and descriptions of events were sketchy. When the attack on Folkestone was reported in The Times on Monday 28th May the headline read: DAYLIGHT AIR RAID - 76 KILLED AND 74 INJURED - 17 ENEMY AEROPLANES. But the locality was given as the South East of England, which gave rise to huge speculation. The Times reporter in Folkestone commented that not releasing the name of the town 'caused endless anxiety to people' and two days later it reported 'We are now permitted to announce that the town is Folkestone'
In fact the German report of the successful raid had been widely disseminated on the continent and had even reached Canada.
Why was there no warning?
One of the first questions asked after the raid was how had the Germans managed to attack? The attackers had approached not from the sea but from the land. The squadron that attacked Folkestone left is aerodromes in Flanders and flew over Essex, crossed the Thames Estuary at Gravesend, via Maidstone and Ashford towards Folkestone. There were 21 aircraft each carrying up to 6 50kg bombs. The official report after the war stated that 163 bombs with a total weight of 9257 lbs fell, causing £19,405 damage.
Folkestone and Shorncliffe received no warning although the Dover observers had reported the bombers approach 1 ½ hours before the attack.
Both the RNAS and the RFC took to the air after the raid, 37 craft in total, but they were not capable of reaching the height at which the new Gothas flew.
The attack showed the inadequacy of the country's defence against aeroplane attack and aroused deep feelings across the country. As a result urgent steps were taken to protect.
It was later revealed that as the Gothas had flown over North Kent, they were heard at Maidstone, but not seen until they attacked at Folkestone. The jury at the inquest for the victims added their own opinion of the authorities "the jury condemn in the strongest possible manner the negligence of the local and military authorities in not having made arrangements by where the public could have been warned." It appears that the military authorities knew an attack was in progress, but did not warn the borough authorities.
As a result new anti aircraft guns were installed at Westenhanger, Cherry Garden Avenue and Earls Avenue. Search lights and warning sirens, dug-outs and shelters were provided. Some people left the area, and many of the private schools in the town closed for the duration. The frequent alarms and the fear of another attack caused stress and tension, and resulted in tired irritable adults and sleepy children in the schools. But although there were daylight and moonlight alarms, Folkestone never suffered another day like the Great Raid of 25th May.
Mrs Lily Caroline BOWBRICK, wife of Mr W BOWBRICK, a builder's foreman of Ashley Avenue, Folkestone. Paralysed from the waist down, but her spirit and fortitude have been remarkably heroic. Seriously ill on occasions, she finally passed away on Tuesday. Died aged 55. Admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital on 25th May 1917 with compound fractures to the right leg, numerous shrapnel wounds and a very bad bruise to her back. Her death was caused by heart failure due to septis from wounds suffered in an air raid.
Mr G W HAINES the Borough Coroner said 'After a lapse of over seven years we are ringing down the curtain on our wounds and sorrows. May those who were spared not be unmindful.'
Carlile, John Charles Folkestone during the War 1920
Folkestone Express and Advertiser 2nd June 1917
Folkestone and Hythe Herald 2nd June 1917
9th June 1917
16th June 1917
As mentioned above, there were restrictions placed on the reporting of incidents such as the Folkestone Air Raid. It is possible that some names have been omitted or incorrectly reported by the press. The author would be grateful for any clarification offered by readers, in particular the names of those Canadian soldiers who died, and who were not recorded at the civilian inquests.
Further details concerning the actual injuries suffered by those who were killed are also available from the author. These were omitted to save space, but were reported in the local press who attended the inquests.
28th January 2001
|SURNAME||FIRST NAMES||AGE||RESIDENCE||PLACE OF DEATH||DATE OF DEATH||NOTES|
|Arnold||May Alexandra||21||19 Bouverie Road East||injured 19 Bouverie Road East, died Moore Barracks Hospital||25th May 1917||widow of a soldier, Bombardier F Arnold, CFA|
|Banks||Harold Hayward||25||20 Victoria Grove||injured in Bouverie Road East, died Westcliffe Military Hospital||26th May 1917||chauffeur|
|Barker||Mrs Eliza Mary||33||29 Bradstone Road||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917|
|Bartleet||Maggie Grey||24 or 34||27 Connaught Road||Jointon Road||25th May 1917||wife of Sgt. Major Joseph J Bartleet RAMC|
|Beer||Annie||28||90 Blackbull Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Ernest Beer, marine fireman|
|Beer||Annie||2||90 Blackbull Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||daughter of Annie and Ernest Beer|
|Beer||Arthur Stephen||11||67 Bridge Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Henry Beer, coal porter|
|Beer||William James||9||67 Bridge Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Harry Beer, marine fireman|
|Bloodworth||George Henry||26||injured 21 Bouverie Road East, died Westcliffe Military Hospital||25th May 1917||private soldier|
|Bowbrick||Gertrude Elizabeth||12||81 Ashley Avenue||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||daughter of Mr Walter Bowbrick, builder's foreman|
|Bowbrick||Lily Caroline (Nellie)||55||81 Ashley Avenue||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||24th March 1925||wife of Mr Walter Bowbrick, builder's foreman. She remained in the hospital from 1917 until her death in 1925, paralysed from the waist down.|
|Bowbrick||Mabel Esther||9||81 Ashley Avenue||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||daughter of Mr Walter Bowbrick, builder's foreman|
|Brockway||Sidney||63||17 Peter Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||Corporation outdoor employee|
|Burgin||Dorothy Lillian||16||21 Oak Road, Cheriton||Royal Victoria Hospital||31st May 1917||laundry worker, daughter of Mrs Mary Ann Ellender|
|Burke||David John||42||29 St Winifred Road||21 Bouverie Road East||25th May 1917||a boot and shoe repairer.|
|Burvill||Hilda Elizabeth||20||The Cottage, Blackbull Road||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||26th May 1917||daughter of Mr Albert Burvill, estate labourer|
|Butcher||George Edward||44||27 Alexandra Street||injured near Castle Inn, Foord, died Royal Victoria Hospital||6-Jun-17||a coal carter|
|Cason||Annie Elizabeth||46||24 Military Avenue||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Arthur C Cason, barrack warden|
|Castle||Albert Edward||41||27 Wear Bay Crescent||Grange School, Shorncliffe Road||25-May-17||naval pensioner and gardener|
|Chapman||Kathleen||16||Bates Hotel||injured 21 Bouverie Road East, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917||housemaid at Bates Hotel, daughter of Alfred Chapman of Chilham Lees|
|Clark||William||12||24 Mead Road||injured Tontine Street, died at Westcliffe Military Hospital||boy scout, son of Stephen Clark|
|Considine||Francis Henry||5||27 Oaks Road||son of a Canadian soldier|
|Cooper||Phyllis Amies||10||3 Warwick Terrace||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||26th May 1917||daughter of Mr Albert Wallace Cooper, butcherís assistant|
|Daniels||Albert Dennis||12||Coombe Farm Hawkinge||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Mr Albert Daniels, farmer|
|Day||Frederick||52||4 Linden Crescent||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||grocerís assistant|
|Dicker||Edith Agnes||13||13 Richmond Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||daughter of Sarah and George Wilkie Dicker|
|Dicker||Sarah Jane||41||13 Richmond Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Mr George Wilkie Dicker, manager of the Maypole Dairy Co.|
|Down||Alfred Durrett||54||52 Royal Military Avenue||painter|
|Dukes||Florence Edith||18||3 Devonshire Place, Horn Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||daughter of Mr Henry Barfert Dukes, mercantile clerk, a housemaid home for her holiday|
|Dukes||Florence Elizabeth||51||3 Devonshire Place, Horn Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Mr Henry Barfert Dukes, mercantile clerk|
|Eales||Edith May||18||27 Dudley Road||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||26th May 1917||daughter of Mr Arthur Eales, marine porter, bookeeper at Stokes Brothers. Died one day before her 18th birthday|
|Feist||Nellie||50||Coombe Farm, Hawkinge||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||married woman|
|Feist||Stanley Albert||5||Coombe Farm, Hawkinge||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Mrs Nellie Feist|
|Francis||Florence||33||46 Foord Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917|
|Gould||Edward or Ernest Stephen||40||not known||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917||coal carter in the employ of Anderson and Co.|
|Graves||Richard Ashby||40||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917||stable man, Pavilion Shades Stables|
|Grimes||Edith Mary||24||14 Tontine Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||typist|
|Hall||William Henry||68 Tontine Street||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||27th May 1917||pork butcher|
|Hambley||Johannah Mary||67||32 Radnor Park Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||widow of Capt. Edgar Hambley, R.N.|
|Hambrook||Ethel||12||1 Invicta Road||Tontine Street||daughter of Mrs Hambrook|
|Harris||Caroline||35||144 High Street Cheriton||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Joseph or James Harris, Cyclist Corps|
|Harrison||Fanny or Annie||39||15 Bournemouth Road||Tontine Street?||25th May 1917||spinster, no occupation|
|Hayes||Dennis William||2yrs 9 months||25 East Street||son of Martha Hayes, his father having been killed a year ago|
|Hayes||Martha Godden||30||25 East Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||widow of a soldier|
|Hayward||Louisa Alice||37||38 Thanet Gardens||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Pte. W Hayward, The Buffs|
|Hickman||Arthur David||5||93 Military Avenue||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Sgt-Major Hickman, Royal Scots|
|Holloway||Mary Philhemina||9||13 Burrow Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||daughter of Mr Frederick Sidney Holloway, merchants clerk|
|Holloway||Veronica||1yr 3 months||13 Burrow Road||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917||daughter of Mr Frederick Sidney Holloway, merchants clerk|
|Horn||Edward||43||8 Radnor Cliffe, Sandgate||Station Approach Road||25th May 1917||butler to Sir Thomas Devitt of Radnor Cliffe, Sandgate|
|Houdart||Constant||33||99 Linden Crescent||25th May 1917||Belgian soldier|
|Hughes||Rose||34||46 Foord Road||spinster, school teacher|
|Jackman||Dorothy Bertha||14||12 Connaught Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||Daughter of Mr James Jackman, electrician|
|Jenner||Company Quarter Master Sargeant Oron Alfred||26||Shorncliffe Camp||Shorncliffe Camp||25-May-17||Soldier in the 3rd Reserve Bn, canadian Infantry, (Central Ontario Regt.). From Toronto Ontario.|
|Laxton||Katherine Euphemia||72||19 East Cliffe Gardens or East Street||widow|
|Lee||William||3 Marshland Road, New Eltham||general dealer, in Folkestone to make arrangements to take his donkeys to Dymchurch for the season|
|Lyth||Daniel Stringer||52||Craigside, Castle Road, Hythe||injured Hythe Churchyard, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917||verger of Hythe Parish Church|
|Marchment||Jane||50||21 Manor Road||21 Manor Road||25th May 1917||cook to Mrs Callaghan, killed in the basement.|
|Maxted||Elizabeth||31||5 Grove Road||25th May 1917||wife of William Arthur Maxted, butcherís manager|
|McDonald||Agnes Curren||22||lodging at 12 Connaught Road, with Jackman family||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||1st June 1917||Canadian lady stenographer, waiting to proceed to France for ambulance work|
|McDonald||Albert Edward Charles||11||30 Stuart Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Mr A Mc Donald, seaman, errand boy for Timothy Whites chemist in Tontine Street|
|McGuire||Ernest Henry||6||15 Linden Crescent||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Mr Harry McGuire, marine fireman|
|Moss||Jane Charlotte||20||204 High street Cheriton||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Pte George Moss, Labour Battalion|
|Moss||Walter George||2 months||204 High Street Cheriton||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Pte George Moss|
|Norris||Florence Kathleen||2||30 Blackbull Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||daughter of Alfred Norris, car mechanic|
|Norris||Florence Louise||24||30 Blackbull Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of Alfred Norris, car mechanic|
|Norris||William Alfred John||10 months||30 Blackbull Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of Alfred Norris, car mechanic|
|Reed||Mabel||12||37 Mead Road||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917||daughter of Mr Charles Reed, cabdriver|
|Robinson||John Walter Francis||6||64 St Michaels Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||son of John Robinson, a soldier|
|Rumsey||Florence (Florrie)||17||29 Blackbull Road||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||26th May 1917||daughter of Mr Rumsey, fish merchant, bookeeper at Stokes Brothers|
|soldier||21 Bouverie Road East||25th May 1917||companion to Kathleen Chapman and George Henry Bloodworth|
|Stokes||*William Edmond||14||33a Harvey Street||injured Tontine Street, died Shorncliffe Military Hospital||28th May 1917||son of William Henry Stokes, greengrocer|
|Stokes||William Henry||46||33a Harvey Street||injured Tontine Street, died Royal Victoria Hospital||25th May 1917||greengrocer and fruiterer|
|Terry||Edith Gwendoline (Gwennie)||14||12 Connaught Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||school girl|
|Vane||Alfred||36||8 Bradstone New Road||Westcliffe Military Hospital||25th May 1917||jobbing gardener|
|Verschueren||Hyppolite||41||Sandgate Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||Belgian soldier at Staff Quarters|
|Walton||Doris Eileen Spencer||16||The Mount School, Julian Road||Athelstan Ladies School Shorncliffe Road||25th May 1917||school girl, home address 25 Bernard Gardens, Wimbledon|
|Waugh||Elizabeth Charlotte||48||47 Dover Road||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||wife of John Waugh, a soldier on foreign service|
|Wilson||Isabelle||80||11 East Street||Tontine Street||25th May 1917||widow of Mr James Wilson, gardener|
* Since this list was published on this page Jancie has been contacted by Maureen CARE, a descendant of the STOKES family. Maureen informed Jancie that the newspapers printed the wrong name for the younger STOKES son who died in the bombing. His name was not infact William Edmond but was Arthur Ernest. Maureen has recently written a book entitled Stokes and Co 1907 to the Present
The Injured - a list published in the Folkestone Express and Advertiser and Folkestone Herald 2nd June 1917
|Allen||Mrs||14 Castle Hill Avenue|
|Anslow||Clara (Mrs)||17 Fernbank Crescent|
|Anslow||Frederick||child||17 Fernbank Crescent|
|Ash||W T (Mr.)||42 Pavilion Road|
|Back||William||28 Blackbull Road|
|Banks||Matilda||11 Bouverie Square|
|Batchelor||John||24 Radnor Park Crescent|
|Birkett||F||5 Connaught Road|
|Bosmans||Elizabeth||7 Copthall Gardens||Belgian|
|Bowbrick||Nellie (Mrs)||81 AshleyAvenue,Cheriton||died 24th March 1925|
|Brooks||Leonard||child||27 St Johnís Street|
|Brooman||Horace||33 Morehall Avenue|
|Brown||Miss||9 Radnor Bridge Road|
|Burgin||Rose||21 Oak Road, Cheriton||died 31st May 1917|
|Bury||Beatrice||82 Linden Crescent|
|Butcher||George||27 Alexander Street|
|Cadwell||Eileen||12 East Cliffe Gardens|
|Caplin||Cissie||41 Tontine Street|
|Challis||Mrs||16 Ethelbert Road|
|Chantler||Grace||24 Darlington Street|
|Chittenden||Hilda||child||28 St Johnís Street|
|Clark||John||26 St Johnís Street|
|Clarke||Mrs||16 East Street|
|Cloke||Sidney||child||20 Linden Crescent|
|Coleman||Lily||28 St Johnís Street|
|Collar||William Henry||Red Cow Inn Foord Road|
|Considine||Mrs||27 Oak Road, Cheriton|
|Cooper||Mrs||3 Warwick Terrace|
|Croucher||Harry||38 Garden Road|
|Davey||Ernest||46 Military Avenue|
|Drury||Beatrice||82 Linden Crescent|
|Duff||Mrs||43 Queen Street|
|Dunk||W (Jnr)||92 Cheriton Road|
|Eadie||Jeannette||West Cliff Shades Inn|
|Fagg||Dorothy||17 Fernbank Crescent|
|Featherbe||Kate||68a Marshall Street|
|Flower||Maud||3 Pavilion Road|
|Francis||Palmer||1 Mill Field|
|Friend||Edward||8 Gloucester Place|
|Goldsmith||Miss||60 Coolinge Road|
|Gosnold||George||69 Tontine Street||Proprietor of Gosnold Brothers Drapery Emporium|
|Harvey||Mrs||93 Dover Road|
|Hayes||Peter||5 Blackbull Road|
|Higgins||Albert||49 Tontine Street|
|Hoad||Alfred||10 Ethelbert Road|
|Holloway||Alice (Mrs)||13 Burrow Road|
|Houlden||Walter||72 Tontine Street|
|Iden||Annie||39 Greenfield Road|
|Jaion||Mrs||102 Radnor Park Road|
|Jenner||Annie||21 Manor Road|
|Jones||John||9 Radnor Bridge Road||Councillor and proprietor of Brewery Tap Public House, Tontine Street|
|Jones||S (Miss)||10 Dover Road|
|Jordan||Mary||56 Tontine Street|
|Larkin||Lily||child||9 Thanet Gardens|
|Leadbrates||Margaret||59 Bournemouth Road|
|McDonald||Madge||12 Connaught Road|
|McGuire||Mrs||15 Linden Crescent|
|Marsh||Beryl (Miss)||29 Castle Hill Avenue|
|Merton||Paul||child||7 Copthall Gardens||Belgian|
|Miller||James||child||3 Garden Road|
|Milton||Lily||6 South Street|
|Murphy||Mary Ann||6 Grimston Gardens|
|Nash||Edward||63 Dudley Road|
|Nicholls||Emily||12 Albert Road, Hythe|
|Nicholls||Jane||12 Albert Road, Hythe|
|Osborn||Miss||child||3 East Cliffe Villas|
|Patrick||Daisy||107 Canterbury Road|
|Ramsey||G||44 Grimston Gardens|
|Reed||Mrs||32 Mead Road|
|Reich||Francis John||74 Tontine Street|
|Robinson||Mrs||124 Sandgate Road|
|Savage||Charles Vernon||31 Shellons Street|
|Scrivens||John||19 Watkin Road|
|Shelver||Florence||62 Blackbull Road|
|Sherran||Mrs||5 Harvey Street|
|Smith||Sarah||16 Palmerston Street|
|Van Den Broele||Eugene||Belgian|
|Waite||John||confectioner of Tontine Street|