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First World War anniversary celebrations for 2014 in Kent

By Lesley Bellew

March 29, 10amGeoff Rambler walk
Eight-mile circular walk from Folkestone Central railway station to include Shorncliffe Cemetery and part of the route troops took to depart for the Western Front geoff.rambler@me.com

April 1, 7.30pm
A Nurse’s Life in France and Flanders
Talk by Sue Light
The Western Front Association (East Kent Branch)
A programme of talks throughout 2014. All welcome. May 6, Peter Hart, The RFC and the Battle of Arras 1917; June 3, Prof John Derry, 1914: Unreal Expectations and Flawed Strategies
Drill Hall, TA Centre, Sturry Road, Canterbury. Details from eastkentwfa.org or westernfrontassociation.com

April 1 - August 23
Quex Park VAD Hospital Exhibition
Welkom Vriend
Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington CT7 0BH
In October 1914, a telegram notifying the people of Birchington that wounded soldiers were in need of emergency accommodation marked the start of the Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital at Quex. The first patients were Belgian soldiers and this exhibition tells the story of the hospital that stayed open until 1919.

Army chaplain conducting a burial service in the field
Army chaplain conducting a burial service in the field

April 1 - October 31
Ashford Museum
Exhibition includes a trench complete with a periscope for children to view across No Man’s Land, and there will be an opportunity to learn semaphore.
Free admission

April 18 – October 17
Tenterden & District Museum
Display of artefacts and photographs from the Great War to show how it affected the lives of local people.
To June 30 1.30pm-4.30pm, July 1-Sept 30, 11am-4.30pm

May 17-18
Belmont House and Gardens
Throwley, Faversham ME13 0HH
WW1 Centenary Commemoration weekend.

May 27-30
Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive
Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham ME4 4UG
Time Bleeds: First World War Family Activities
Free re-museum.co.uk/events

June 1
Plant a REAL Poppy Day
Join thousands of people to plant Flanders poppy seeds. Brainchild of Greenhithe (Kent) Royal British Legion.

June 1 to July 2015
Folkestone Town Hall
Free exhibition: Your Country Calls: Enlistment to Embarkation. Discover the journey undertaken by millions of men as they left their civilian lives to take up arms. The exhibition draws on the rich collection of the National Army Museum and local artefacts.

June 2810am-3pmLiving History and Live Music Event on The Leas Folkestone, next to the bandstand Folkestone School for Girls and the Harvey Grammar School will join Step Short in recreating life in Folkestone during the Great War. There will also be music on the bandstand, with orchestra, singers and brass bands.

June 28
7.30pm - 10pm
Ightham Mote, Mote Rd, Sevenoaks TN15 0NT
First World War Poetry event, part of the Sevenoaks festival and literary celebration, BBC radio’s Gabriel Woolf & Rosalind Shanks read extracts from Behind the Lines
Tickets from 01732 450175 or stagsevenoaks.co.uk

British troops manhandling a field gun, World War I
British troops manhandling a field gun, World War I

Tuesday, July 1
Canada Day at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery
Commemorates the 296 Canadian soldiers from WW1 who are buried in the cemetery

June 28-29
Pack up your Troubles
Kent & East Sussex Railway,
Station Road, Tenterden TN30 6HE
The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group will mark a time when troops were massed in the South East before being sent by train to fight in the first few days of the Battle of the Somme. Visitors can take a steam train ride in the restored vintage carriages.

July 5 - July 6
Ightham Mote, Mote Rd, Sevenoaks TN15 0NT
Military Ancestry Roadshow
Find out more about your ancestors’ military history.
£5 per search and usual admission prices apply.

July 7 – September 21
Sassoon Room, Folkestone Library, Grace Hill
Folkestone in the Great War
Free Exhibition organised by Step Short with the Local History Society and Camera Club.

July 16 - July 20
War & Peace Revival
RAF Westenhanger Folkestone Racecourse
The greatest military show on earth. Action-packed days with military vehicle displays, re-enactments, book-signings, vintage village, Airfix model hall, schools’ day, bands, dancing and more. thewarandpeacerevival.co.uk

July 26 - November 30
Valour, Loss & Sacrifice; Chatham, the Royal Navy and the war at Sea 1914-1918

July 29 - August 30
Royal Engineers Museum,
Library and Archive, Gillingham ME4 4UG
First World War Family Activities (exc Mondays). Free

July 30 - August 3
Poetry and Poppies
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks, is joining the REAL Poppy campaign by planting a display in the shape of a huge poppy. riverhillgardens.co.uk

August 1
Lenham Community Hall
The 260 men of Lenham who served in the First World War will be remembered in a book, Lenham and the Great War. To attend launch contact Nick hayesview@btconnect.com, 07900 585733 or amy.myers@btinternet.com

August 4
Step Short unveiling of Commemorative Arch
The Leas, Folkestone
Step Short will be joined by a large Army contingent, bands, veterans and guests for the unveiling of the Commemorative Arch. The Dept of Culture, Media and Sport has highlighted the event as an occasion of national significance so it is likely a member of the Royal family will be present. There will be a parade along the Road of Remembrance to Folkestone Harbour, where the troop ships waited. A candlelit procession in the evening culminates at 11pm, the time that war was declared.

August 4
Ashford Centenary event
Ashford Council, REME, Royal British Legion at the WW1 tank in St George’s Square.

August 4
St Peter’s Church, Broadstairs
Guided tour of 37 WW1 graves. Booking essential.

Troops on the Western Front
Troops on the Western Front

August 16-17
Combined Military Ops, Headcorn Aerodrome
Family event with display of military vehicles and aircraft. headcornevents.co.uk

August 25-31
World War Zoo, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
Learn about what happened to the animals during the conflicts and how the animals helped to change the course of history. aspinallfoundation.org

September 6-7
On September 7, 1919, Newington saw the dedication of its war memorial in the churchyard. In 2014 there will be floral tributes, art, poetry and music. Everyone is welcome to contribute and attend. On Sunday, the Bishop of Dover will make a special dedication and there will be a presentation of a memorial book researched by Newington History Group. Details on 01795 842711

September 20-21
War and the Horse at Dover Castle
The Great War marks a turning point in the supremacy of the cavalry on the field of battle and this transformation will be charted in a series of arena displays featuring six horses and their riders. The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry earn their stripes administering first aid on the front line before transporting the wounded to field hospitals.
Family ticket £2.60 for English Heritage members and £48.10 for non-members. english-heritage.org.uk/dover

December 19

Faversham town centre
Memorial paving stones will be unveiled in the home town of Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Neame VC. The young explosives expert was awarded the Victoria Cross on December 19, 1915 for his valour and quick-thinking during the Battle of Ypres. faversham.org
For further details and a full list of events see kentonline.co.uk and visitkent.co.uk/frontlinekent

Permanent exhibitions

Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regimental Museum
Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery,
St Faith’s Street, Maidstone ME14 1LH
View WW1 memorabilia in the regiment’s own museum, from medals to uniforms, weapons and equipment.

Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive
Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham ME4 4UG
Exhibition: Valour – Display of 25 Victoria Crosses ephemera belonging to the VC recipients.

Dover Museum
Market Square, Dover CT16 1PB
First World War exhibition showing how the town became an important military centre with a thoughtful focus on the people of Dover’s contribution to the war effort.

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