11th November each year we remember the War Dead at the Cenotaph which
represents those soldiers who did not return home when World War One
the Great War ended.
Reverend David Railton M.C. (1884-1955) in 1914
was a Curate at the Parish Church of St Mary & St Eanswythe in Folkestone,
he joined up becoming a chaplain an Army Chaplain on the Western Front
in the 2nd Battalion of the Hon. Artillery Company during the 1914-18
war. In 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross for saving several men
under heavy fire. One evening in 1916, in a back garden at Erkingham
near Armentières in France, he noticed a grave
upon which was a rough wooden cross on which were pencilled the words
'An Unknown British Soldier of The Black Watch'.
simple message on the grave of this Unknown Warrior would disturb him
for the rest of the war. Who was he and who were his parents? He wrote
that he wanted to ease the pain of the father, mother, sister, sweetheart,
wife and friend?
the war he became vicar of Margate in Kent and in August 1920.
He wrote to Herbert Ryle, Dean of Westminster, suggesting a permanent
memorial to the fallen of the Great War who had no known grave. Reverend
Davis Railton idea was that an unidentified body could be repatriated
from the battlefields in France and Flanders to lie in the heart of
London to represent the British Empire’s one million dead, and
especially those whose bodies were not located or identified.
Unknown Warrior was one of four unknown bodies disinterred
in from the battlefields of the Aisne, the Somme,
Arras and Ypres. They were taken to St Pol
and one was blindly selected to return to Britain. This warrior was
transported across France to Boulogne and onto HMS Verdun.
The ship landed at Dover and the coffin was transferred to a Railway
wagon to transfer the body of the Unknown Soldier to London which arrived
at platform 8 in Victoria Station at 8.32 on 10th November 1920. This
Railway wagon that was used for bringing the remains of the Unknown
Warrior to London to be buried in Westminster Abbey in November 1920.
The wagon has recently been restored and was in Folkestone harbour and
was put on show to the public till 28th October 2018.