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RAINHAM, BRITISH STANDARD CEMENT WORKS WORLD WAR 1 MEMORIAL

World War 1 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Andrew Marshall 2006
To the memory of my great uncle Private Reuben Roper CH/1813(S) Royal Marine Light Infantry who died at Passchendaele 26th October 1917.

The memorial is on public display in the visitor centre, Riverside Country Park, Lower Rainham Road, Gillingham, Kent

The British Standard Cement Works at Motney Hill, Rainham, Kent, opened in 1912 and closed in 1931. It re-opened for a short time in the late 1930's early 1940's, producing 'clinker' only, but then lay derelict until it was finally demolished in the 1950's and 60's. Whilst it was operational it acquired its chalk from the Rainham chalk pit, an area which is now Berengrave Local Nature Reserve. The site of the cement works now lies within the boundary of Riverside Country Park.

The memorial was previously in the possession of Gravesham Borough Council, who may have acquired it as a donation by Blue Circle Cement, although there is no evidence to prove this.

'Friends of Berengrave' (Local Nature Reserve) discovered the existence of the memorial whilst undertaking historical research into the area of the chalk pit and the cement works. Gravesham Council kindly gifted the memorial to the 'Friends of Berengrave' who obtained permission from Medway Council to display it in the visitor centre at Riverside Country Park. This site is only about 1 kilometre from where the memorial was originally placed, on the gatekeepers bungalow at the main entrance to the cement works. The memorial was formally unveiled in it's new site by The Worshipfuls The Mayors of Gravesham and Medway on Monday 18 August, 2008, in the presence of relatives of some of the deceased

The memorial takes the form of a wooden panel, shaped and capped, 1250mm high and 880mm at the widest point. This is painted with a dedication and listing of fourteen men. Most of the decorative beading is missing, there is some water damage to the bottom of the memorial and general wearing from the years. It is made from three panels, which are separating slightly. Friends of Berengrave took the decision not to attempt any refurbishment of the memorial, but to just display it 'as found', but in a modern protective display cabinet

Additional biographical information to that provided below by the original researcher, Andrew Marshall, has been researched by Friends of Berengrave and can be seen in the memorial book held at the reception desk in the visitor centre.

Photographs Copyright © Friends of Berengrave 2008

THE
BRITISH STANDARD
CEMENT WORKS.
A TOKEN OF RESPECT AND DEEPEST SYMPATHY
TO THE FELLOW WORKMATES WHO FELL
IN THE GREAT WAR. 1914 - 1919.

BUGDEN

Herbert Alfred

Gunner 179679 "C" Battery, 86th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Born Ramsgate. Enlisted Ramsgate, Kent. Killed in action 30th August1918 aged 27. Buried Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, Somme, France. Plot IV. I. 20. Son of Mr and Mrs Walter Bugden of Ramsgate; Husband of Harriet Alice Bugden of 14, Gad’s Hill, Gillingham, Kent

COMMBER

Ernest Edward

Master at Arms 158275 (CH) H.M.S. "Campania" Royal Navy. Born 17th June 1871 in Faversham. Date of death 28th May 1917. Buried Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Orkney, U.K. Plot D.15.

Note: H.M.S. "Campania" built for Cunard Line's Liverpool-New York service, Campania was holder of the Blue Riband 1893-94, losing to her sister ship, Lucania. Collision with barque Embleton 21st July 1900 sank the latter with loss of 11 lives. In 1904, a rogue wave swept five steerage passengers overboard, the first time in history the Cunard Line lost passengers through an accident. On 14th April 1914 she made her 250th crossing. Taken over by Royal Navy during World War I and converted to aircraft carrier, becoming first Royal Navy vessel to launch aircraft whilst underway. In 1916 her fore funnel was divided to allow a longer flying-off deck. Missed Battle of Jutland because of engine trouble. Dragged anchor in the Firth of Forth, 5th November 1918, and collided with battleship Revenge, sinking in two hours.

COUCHMAN

Edmund

Stoker 2nd Class K/23698 H.M.S. "Princess Irene" Royal Navy. Born 8th February 1895 in Sittingbourne. Killed by explosion 27th May1915 aged 20 years. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, U.K. Panel 12. Son of William and Maria Couchman, of 69, William Street, Rainham, Chatham.

Note: The steamship Princess Irene was built to the order of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company for their luxurious "Triangle Route" linking Vancouver, Victoria and the American city of Seattle. The ship was completed at Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1914 but, before she was able to leave for the Pacific, was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and converted into a Minelayer. She was 5,900 tons, 395'x54'x28' launched 20th October 1914. Based at Sheerness in Kent, she was in the River Medway on 27th May 1915 when she blew up as a result of a catastrophic internal explosion. There was only one survivor.

At about 11.14 on the morning of 27th May 1915, Sheerness witnessed the destruction of the minelayer HMS Princess Irene which was on No.28 buoy about 3 miles WSW from the town centre. The ship had been built in Scotland in the previous year to the order of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company but was requisitioned and converted for Naval use before she could sail to the Pacific. The Princess Irene had a complement of 225 officers and men, three of whom were ashore that morning as the mines were being primed on the ship's two mine decks. Also on board were a party of 80 or so Petty Officers from Chatham in addition to 76 Sheerness Dockyard workers who were completing tasks prior to the ship's planned departure to lay her mines on 29th May. Without warning, the ship was blown to pieces and her remains, and the remains of those on board, were scattered over a wide area of the surrounding river and countryside. One of the Chatham Dockyard workers, David Wills, amazingly survived the explosion but few bodies were found. Those that were located were buried in Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham.

A memorial to those lost in both this and the Bulwark disaster is situated opposite Sheerness Railway Station. The cause of the disaster was thought to have been due to a faulty primer (pistol)although evidence at the Official Enquiry showed that the work of priming the lethal mines was being carried out a) in a hurry and b) by untrained personnel. The lower decks and keel of the Princess Irene remain more or less intact and have caused a degree of navigational problems to the large ships now using the eastern end of nearby Thamesport. At present there are no plans to raise her remains.

GOODWIN

John Rayner

Deckhand 4477SD H.M. Trawler "Burnley" Royal Naval Reserve. Died at sea 25th November1916 aged 38 years. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, U.K. Panel 19. Son of George and Francis Jane Goodwin, of Lower Rainham, Kent

GOODWIN

Alfred Ernest

Stoker 1st Class 301046 H.M.S. "Bulwark" Royal Navy. Born 28th January 1880 in Bow, London. Died at sea 26th November1914 aged 39 years. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, U.K. Panel 4. Son of Henry and Emily Olive Goodwin, of 403 Old Kent Road, London. This is the only Alfred Goodwin on the C.W.G.C.

Note: On 26th November 1914 the battleship H.M.S. "Bulwark" whilst at anchorage in Sheerness harbour was completely destroyed by internal explosions in her magazine and shell rooms.  She sank with the loss of 730 lives

KEUTINIUS

James William

Trimmer 3034ST H.M.P.M.S. "Ascot" Royal Naval Reserve. Died at sea 10th November 1918 aged 34 years. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, U.K. Panel 31. Son of Edward and Jane Keutenius, of 223, Station Road, Rainham, Kent. Note spelling of the name is Keutenius on C.W.G.C.

Note: H.M.P.M.S "Ascot" was a "Racecourse" Class Paddle Steamer Minesweeper which was the last RN vessel sunk by a U-boat in WW1. She was torpedoed off the Farn Islands.

LOCKYER

William

Driver 92200, 287th Army Troops Company, Royal Engineers. Died 28th November 1918 aged 23 years. Buried Struma Militray Cemetery, Greece. Plot IV. A. 15. This is the only W. Lockyer in the R.E. On the C.W.G.C.

PACKER

John Edward

Deck hand 3183SD H.M. Trawler "Repro" Royal Naval Reserve. Died at sea 26th April 1917. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, U.K. Panel 26

RAYNER

Sidney Robert

Sapper 1000, No. 2 Kent Fortress Company, Royal Engineers. Born Chelsea, Middlesex. Residence Rainham, Kent. Died at home 18th November 1914 aged 20 years. Buried Gravesend, Cemetery,Kent, U.K. Plot 4900. Son of Mrs E.S. Rayner, of 1, Ivy Street, Rainham,

RUTH

Alfred

Private 32129 8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiemnt. Born Upchurch, Kent. Enlisted Canterbury. Residence Gillingham, Kent. Killed in action 23rd March 1918. Buried Chauny Communal Cememtery British Extension, Aisne, France. Plot 2. C. 10.

SKINNER

Percy Arthur

Private 128108 62nd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Formerly 45978 Suffolk Regiment. Born Rainham. Enlisted Rochester. Residence Strood. Died of wounds 3rd September 1918 aged 23 years. Buried Bac-du-Sud British Cemetery, Bailleulval, Pas de Calais, France. Plot III. F. 3. Son of Mr and Mrs G. Skinner, of 233, Station Road, Rainham, Kent

SMITH

Frederick

Private G/6454 8th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). Born Rainham. Enlisted Chatham. Died at home 14th September 1916 aged 19 years. Buried Rainham (St. Margaret) Churchyard, Kent, U.K. New Ground. Son of George and Ann Smith, of 35, Ivy Street, Rainham.

SWAN

Frederick Charles

Stoker 1st Class SS/104622 (RFR/CH/B/8411) H.M.S. "Raglan" Royal Navy. Born 15th September 1888 in Rainham. Died at sea 20th January 1918 aged 29 years. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, U.K. Panel 29. Husband of Ethel Emily Ashby (Formerly Swan) of 74, William Street, Rainham, Kent.

Note: H.M.S. "Raglan" was built by Harland and Wolff, at Belfast and laid down on the 1st December 1914, launched 29th April 1915 and completed and commissioned in June 1915. It went straight to the Dardanelle's (in company with the cruiser HMS Diana) to carry out bombardment duties and became part of the 1st division between September 1915 to January 1916. After the evacuation form the Dardanelle's HMS Raglan served in the Aegean. At Port Said she was involved in operation against the Turks in Southern Palestine, returning to Imbros in January 1917. Along with HMS Abercrombie her duty was to Guard against the possible breakout of the German ships Breslau and Goeben forming the 2nd detached Squadron along with some smaller monitors. On the Morning of the 20th January 1918. HMS Raglan was being shelled by accurate fire from the Breslau soon followed by shots form the Goeben. She quickly became engulfed in Fire and after being abandoned she sank in shallow water. She lost a total of 127 dead during the action. Later the Guns and other valuable equipment was salvaged.

YOUNG

Frederick

No connection can be made with this name and Rainham, there are 107 entries for Young in the Royal Navy and they have all been checked.

Last updated 19 September, 2008

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