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Newsletter No. 125 – June 2017

In our May meeting Christoph Bull told us about the parish of Stone, its history and how it has changed in recent years, particularly in size.  Did you know that Bean is the newest parish in Kent, as it was detached from Stone in the 1980s.  Stone has also lost other areas to Dartford, particularly along the Thames, but it is also home to Bluewater, which is now the UK’s 4th largest shopping centre.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 10th July at 8pm in the Horton Kirby Jubilee Hall (next to the Village Hall) and our Chairman Terry Moyle will be giving us a slide show entitled “Old Dartford & District” with a large number of images to show us.

Our 2017-2018 schedule:

11th September       Queen Victoria – Anne Carter

13th November        AGM a short talk by Malcolm Scott and the Cheese & Wine Evening

8th January             Gravesend- Gateway to the Thames – Christoph Bull

12th March              Kent and East Sussex Railway – Then and Now – Doug Lindsay

The full list of 2018 speakers will be announced in our next newsletter.

The new walking tour guide is very close to being ready, and we should have an update in our meeting next month.  One of our publications, “Sink the Link” is being used as a reference work for a talk at the Swanley History Group in August.  The recent proposed redevelopment plans for Swanley reminded members of their earlier protesting activities when the Channel Tunnel Rail Link route was announced and this talk will feature a lot of video footage taken at the Swanley protests and other local events.

We look forward to seeing you next month at our meeting,

Newsletter No. 124 – April 2017

Our March talk was by Steve Hookins, who has given us talks in the past, this time it was “To Wilhelm with Love – Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Somme”. Steve’s talks are always thought provoking, as he gave us a rounded view of the battle, which lasted several weeks, accompanied by a very well illustrated slide presentation. Steve also brought to the meeting a display of WW1 items which we all had time to look at before and after the meeting, and answered many questions.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 8th May 2017 at 8pm in the Horton Kirby Jubilee Hall (next to the Village Hall) and our speaker will be Christoph Bull, and this time his talk will be “The Incredible Shrinking Parish of Stone”.

Our 2017 schedule:
10th July                     Old Dartford & District – Terry Moyle
11th September       Queen Victoria – Anne Carter
13th November        AGM a short talk by Malcolm Scott and the Cheese & Wine Evening

The new walking tour guide to Horton Kirby and South Darenth is not quite ready yet (there have been significant issues with maps…) and the guide will be available soon. Work is also progressing on the history of the villages during World War One, and I am currently reading the bound volumes of The Dartford Express for 1914, 1915 and 1916, lent to me by a very kind member of the Dartford Historical & Antiquarian Society, and this is providing interesting additional information about the activities in the villages during this period which we will be using in the book.

Forthcoming local events:

British Legion Plant Sale – Saturday, 6th May 10.30am – 1pm.
At the British Legion Hall, Devon Road, with cakes, tea and coffee available

British Legion Quiz Night – Friday, 12th May 7.00pm for 7.30pm.
At the British Legion Hall, Devon Road, bring your own drinks and nibbles

Sutton at Hone Church Quiz Night – Friday, 19th May 7.30pm.
At Sutton Court (off Church Road), £4 per person and teams of up to six.


The Battle of the Somme – 100 years on, local men who fell

The Battle of the Somme started on 1st July 1916, and the first day is notorious for the number of men who died or were wounded on the first day, making it the worse day in the British Army’s history.

The following men are from Horton Kirby and South Darenth, and they died during this battle, which lasted from 1st July to 18th November 1918

Bombardier Robert Leonard Couchman, Royal Field Infantry, 58th Battery, 35th Brigade. attd. “X” 7th Trench Mortar Battery.

Robert died on the first day of the battle, and is described as killed in action, at the age of 27 and was buried at Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt.

Robert was a regular soldier and was in the Royal Field Artillery by 1911.  His parents and his siblings were living at Franks Farm Cottages, Horton Kirby, and his father was described as a Cowman in 1911.

Rifleman Percy Allen Bean, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 17th Battalion

Percy died on the 2nd July, the second day of the battle, and was also killed in action, and is buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue.

Percy was born in 1895 in Horton Kirby, the son of John and Elizabeth Bean, and the second of six boys. By 1911 the family were living at 3 Drays Cottages, Horton Kirby, where his father John was working as a horseman on a farm, Percy was working as a farm labourer, and his brothers Leonard and Lionel were working at the paper mill.

Percy enlisted on 22 November 1915 at Bromley, and gave his address as 6 Bexley Cottages, stating that he was a carpenter (working for Mr Fox, a builder in Horton Kirby), and he was 22 years  and 10 months old.  He went out to the front in France in April 1916, so did not serve for long.

Three of Percy’s brothers also served during the Great War, Lionel served as a stoker in the navy, Reginald was a rifleman in the Rifle Brigade and Lionel served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps before being invalided out.

British Legion Evening – Wednesday 19th August – St Mary’s Church

Royal British Legion on behalf of the St Mary’s Church Electrical Fund

On Wednesday, 19th August at 7pm in St Mary’s Church, Horton Kirby


A Talk & Tour of the Church – by Malcolm Green

A Talk about Wilfred Owen – by John Ward

The Hymn that never was – by John Williams

Refreshments will be available, and a Raffle will be held during the Entertainment

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Remembering Dunkirk – 75 years later

As the 75th Anniversary of the Evacuation of Dunkirk takes place,  there are two men on the War Memorial who did not come back from France.

William E Burberry was a Driver in the 17th Field Company, Royal Engineers, and died on the 1st June 1940 at the age of 25.  He was the child of Herbert and Ellen Burberry, of Horton Kirby, and is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial.

Donald L Gardner was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery, and was killed between the 22nd and 23rd of May, and is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial. Donald had been born in Malaysia, and had come back to England as a young child, his father Donald S Gardner lived at Kirby Hall in 1940.