THE STEP SHORT MEMORIAL ARCH, FOLKESTONE, KENT
THE MEMORIAL ARCHThis rather beautiful arch stands on the Leas on the cliffs to the west of Folkestone harbour. On the Folkestone side a steep road leads down to the harbour, which in WW1 was a major port of embarkation for France. This road was called Slope Road at that time and is so steep you have to shorten your stride to walk down safely.
In WW1 the thousands of soldiers who assembled on the Leas or marched to the harbour along the Leas from Shorncliffe Military Camp were given the order “STEP SHORT” at the top of the road.
After the War the road was renamed The Road of Rememberance in honour of all who marched down it. The Step Short Arch was erected in 2008 and the plaques behind the seats beside it tell the story of this town′s war and the soldiers who passed through.
Close to the Arch there is a fine RFC and RAF Memorial to the airmen and women who served in both wars. Poppies adorn the railings nearby.
SHORNCLIFFE CAMPThe camp was established in 1794 and extended in 1796 and 1806. Shorncliffe was used as a staging post for troops heading for the Western Front during the First World War and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division was formed there.
The Canadian Army Medical Corps had general hospitals based at Shorncliffe from September 1917 to December 1918. On three occasions there were German air raids which killed soldiers on the camp. On 25 May 1917 Planes attacked Shorncliffe Camp causing 18 deaths including 16 Canadian Servicemen, and there were further deaths in nearby Sandgate and Cheriton. In WW2 the camp was again used as a staging post for troops going overseas. The camp closure was announced in 2016.
This connection with the Canadian troops might explain why local children celebrated Canada Day between the wars.
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