First World War - Kent & Medway

This timeline is compiled by Julia Booth, a Time2Give volunteer at the Kent History & Library Centre, Maidstone. She is using sources in the collections of Kent County Council - Libraries, Registration & Archives.

For further details contact: ;xNLx;;xNLx;Kent History & Library Centre, James Whatman Way, Maidstone ME14 1LQ ;xNLx;;xNLx;email:;xNLx;;xNLx;[Kent Archives and Local History](;xNLx;;xNLx;[Kent Libraries](

1914-04-13 00:00:00

Binding up wounds in Faversham

Voluntary Aid Detachments stage a large-scale mock rescue operation near Faversham.

1914-05-16 00:00:00

Sham Fight at Penenden Heath

A "sham fight" is staged at Penenden Heath, Maidstone, at the start of a week-long recruiting drive for new members of the Royal West Kent Queen's Own Territorial Army.

1914-05-25 00:00:00

Empire Day at Sandgate School

Children at Sandgate Church of England School welcome the Mayor of Folkestone to their school to watch an elaborate commemoration of Empire Day.

1914-05-25 10:00:00

Recruiting week in Faversham

A “Grand Recruiting Week” is being held in Faversham.

1914-06-15 00:00:00

Fleet firing exercise off the East Kent coast

3 aeroplanes are sent from the Isle of Grain to Westgate-on-Sea to observe a fleet firing exercise being held off the East Kent coast.

1914-06-17 00:00:00

Ladies prepare for action

Members of Kent's Territorial Force Voluntary Aid Detachments hold a 10-day camp at Herne Common.

1914-07-01 00:00:00

Eastchurch now a major aircraft base for the Navy

On the Isle of Sheppey, Eastchurch Air Station has expanded rapidly since 1910 and is already established as the centre for flight training for the Admiralty as well as a centre for experimentation.

1914-07-07 00:00:00

Red Cross Field Day in Kent countryside

Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachments from Brenchley, Matfield, Pembury and Speldhurst demonstrate the treatment of war casualties at a mock clearing hospital. Casualties are transported to a temporary base hospital.

1914-07-20 00:00:00

Guard of honour for new Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

Lord Beauchamp is installed as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports at a colourful ceremony in Dover.

1914-07-27 00:00:00

Kingsnorth Airship Station developing rapidly

Personnel and newly completed airships are moved from Farnborough to Kingsnorth Airship Station.

1914-07-28 00:00:00

Westgate seaplane station acquired by Royal Naval Air Service

In response to the threat of war, land around the seaplane base at St Mildred's Bay, Westgate-on-Sea, is requisitioned by the Royal Navy Air Service.

1914-07-29 00:00:00

HMS Attentive fires gun and hoists Blue Peter

In Dover Harbour, HMS "Attentive" gives the signal that warships in the harbour are preparing for immediate departure.

1914-08-01 00:00:00

Medway Boom installed

A boom has been placed across the entrance to the River Medway, to protect the Royal Navy dockyards at Sheerness and Chatham from the German Navy.

1914-08-02 20:00:00

Convoy of buses carrying troops passes through Dartford

In the evening, about 40 buses full of troops are seen passing along Watling Street, heading towards Dover.

1914-08-03 00:00:00

Royal Flying Corps planes arrive at Swingate Down, near Dover

Swingate Down, formerly a private airfield, in a field on the cliff top, provides a final landing ground for planes bound for France.

1914-08-04 00:00:00

Government takes control of all railways

The Government takes control of all railways, including the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway.

1914-08-04 00:00:00

Cross Channel Services suspended at Dover

The last boat from Calais, SS "Engadine", brings less than 20 passengers into Dover; the last boat from Ostend, PS "Rapide", brings nearly 1,000 passengers.

1914-08-04 23:02:00

War declared by Government

At 11.02 pm, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, sends a telegram commanding the Fleet to commence hostilities against Germany.

1914-08-05 00:00:00

Territorial Buffs mobilised for Home Defence

Throughout the county, large crowds turn out to wave farewell to the Territorials.

1914-08-05 00:00:00

Dover is declared a restricted area

Notices are issued warning the public that entrance into Dover will only be allowed under strict restrictions.

1914-08-05 12:00:00

West Kent Yeomanry mobilised

The West Kent Yeomanry assembles at Maidstone County School.

1914-08-05 12:00:00

Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles mobilised

The Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles assemble in the Canterbury area.

1914-08-05 13:00:00

Queenborough Council School requisitioned

The Queenborough Boys’, Girls’ and Infants’ Schools have been commandeered by the War Office for the use of the Military.

1914-08-05 14:00:00

Boy Scouts released from school

Boys are released from school after requisition requests for their services are made to Head Teachers by the Chief Constable of Kent.

1914-08-05 20:00:00

German photographer accused of spying

Franz Heinrich Lösel, a photographer of German origin, is arrested near Sheerness Harbour on suspicion of taking photographs for use by an enemy state.

1914-08-06 00:00:00

Queenborough prepares for action

Captain E W Jaffray, Mayor of Queenborough, appoints a committee to organise emergency action to protect civilians in Queenborough in the event of an invasion.

1914-08-07 00:00:00

Voluntary Aid Detachments appeal for help in Ramsgate

Voluntary Aid Detachments in Ramsgate are preparing to receive sick and wounded patients.

1914-08-07 00:00:00

Panic buying causes food shortages

Despite Government advice to the contrary, many people are now stocking up with large quantities of food.

1914-08-08 00:00:00

Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) introduced

Large areas of Kent become Restricted Areas, with only those holding an official pass allowed entry.

1914-08-08 00:00:00

Kent Voluntary Aid Detachment formed

All Kent branches of the St John Ambulance Society, the British Red Cross and the Territorial Force Voluntary Aid are amalgamated to work together as the Kent Voluntary Aid Detachment.

1914-08-08 09:00:00

Special Constables needed

Every Parish Council in the county is asked to call a public meeting to obtain the names of men who will consent to act as Special Constables.

1914-08-08 10:00:00

Tankerton Military Hospital

The London Hospital Convalescent Home in Tankerton, near Whitstable, is being fitted out to cater for military and naval wounded patients.

1914-08-09 22:00:00

Horses commandeered by the military authorities

Over 1,000 horses have been commandeered by the military authorities in the Maidstone district.

1914-08-10 10:00:00

Kent War Relief Committee set up

At a meeting at Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, the Kent War Relief Committee is set up to deal with problems caused by distress arising as a consequence of the war.

1914-08-10 17:00:00

Children at Chilham National School sow extra seeds

Additional seeds are to be sown by the boys of the gardening class at Chilham School to augment food supplies in case there should be shortages.

1914-08-11 10:00:00

Germans detained in Folkestone

200 young German men are detained when they attempt to leave Folkestone and return home to Germany.

1914-08-11 10:00:00

St Augustine's College, Canterbury, becomes a hospital

St Augustine's College is used as a temporary hospital for men from local troops.

1914-08-11 22:30:00

Planes over Tonbridge

At least 20 aeroplanes are seen passing over Tonbridge during the night.

1914-08-12 12:00:00

Kent Cyclists request clothing and comforts

The Kent Cyclists Battalion is currently engaged in the task of watching the Kent and Sussex coast, spending long periods in exposed positions.

1914-08-12 15:00:00

Crowded meeting on War Relief in Tunbridge Wells

The Mayor of Tunbridge Wells addresses a meeting in the Great Hall to deal with the organisation of war relief.

1914-08-13 15:00:00

Mayor of Deal "arrested"

"The Times" reports that the Mayor of Deal, Councillor C Hussey, is arrested on Dover Cliffs on suspicion of spying.

1914-08-14 08:00:00

Work at Chislet Coalfield comes to a halt

All the German miners employed by the Anglo-Westphalian Company near Chislet have been forced to leave.

1914-08-14 09:00:00

Dover Cricket Week abandoned

Dover Cricket Week is abandoned "in consequence of the war".

1914-08-14 15:00:00

General Sir John French departs from Dover

General Sir John French embarks from Dover on board the light cruiser HMS "Sentinel."

1914-08-15 14:00:00

Pigeons offered for War Service

Members of the Folkestone and District Homing Pigeons Society have offered their birds to the Government for conveying messages.

1914-08-17 18:00:00

Volunteers from Cliffe

Cliffe Parish Council holds a meeting in the Infant School in the evening to consider Lord Kitchener’s appeal for men.

1914-08-18 00:00:00

Tilling-Stevens factory adapted to produce military vehicles and munitions

The Tilling-Stevens motor vehicle factory in Maidstone becomes a controlled establishment under the Ministry of Munitions.

1914-08-18 09:00:00

Whitstable Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association

Immediately after the outbreak of war, local volunteers are recruited by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association so that help can be made available when needed urgently by the wives and children of men on active service.

1914-08-18 12:00:00

Ambulance Brigade in Sevenoaks

50 people attend a meeting in the Central Hall, Sevenoaks, to set up a local Ambulance Brigade.

1914-08-18 18:00:00

Shipping restrictions on the Thames

On Tuesday evening, 18th August, the Admiralty orders that no boats may leave the Thames Estuary.

First World War - Kent & Medway

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