The Airmens' Memorial
There is a Memorial to the 16 airmen who lost their lives
while stationed at Walmer Aerodrome at Hawkshill in World
War I. Presented by the Countess Beauchamp in 1920, it
stands at the edge of the Freedown.
A report of an unveiling and dedication ceremony held on
the evening of Saturday, 7 August 1920, appeared in the East
Kent Mercury local newspaper, as follows:
"The memorial stands on a site
given by Mr F W Leith in a field forming part of Hawk's Hill
Farm, in the occupation of Mr C May, which was used for the
purposes of the air station during the war. It is in a railed
enclosure facing the Downs, over which roadstead the gallant
airmen so often flew in the course of their duty to protect
the shipping in this vitally important examination anchorage
from air attacks by the Germans.
"It was a beautiful August evening,
the rays of the setting sun casting their glow on the wooded
grounds of Walmer Castle, and on the ripe grain of the cornfields
in Walmer's charming Glen, as a representative company assembled
for the dedication of the memorial.
"From the Castle grounds a procession
made its way across Hawks' Hill to the site of the memorial.
A cross-bearer walked first followed by two robed clergy,
the Chaplain-in-Chief; Royal Air Force, and the Vicar of Walmer,
Rev. N C W Radcliffe, DD. Earl
Beauchamp, in the uniform of the Lord Warden of the Cinque
Ports, was with Air-Commodore C L Lambe, CMG,
DSO, who unveiled the memorial."
"Flight (Aircraft Engineer and Airships)"
magazine, dated August 12, 1920, refers to the event and also
records the presence of "... Lord and Lady George
Hamilton, Lady Helen Grosvenor, Lord Elmley, the
Ladies Lettice, Sibell, Mary, and Dorothy Lygon, daughters
of Lord Beauchamp, Lady Sargent, and Sir William Pearce
MP and Lady Pearce".
The East Kent Mercury report continues:
"On reaching the site the Air
Commodore was received with the 'general salute' by a smart
guard-of-honour furnished by the 5th Cadet Battalion Queen's
Royal West Surrey Regiment, under the command of Col C E Bartholomew,
OBE., and Capt. Trevarthen, Adjutant.
Within the railings of the memorial the clergy, the Lord Warden
and Air Commodore Lambe took their stand for the brief but
very impressive service. It was an interesting coincidence
that as the words of the lesson, 'and as a ship that passeth
over the waves of the water' were being read, a destroyer
came into view and passed through the Downs in front of the
During the ceremony Air Commodore Lambe gave a short history
of the aerodrome and had the following message from the Duke
of York for Lady Beauchamp: "I am very glad to hear
that you are dedicating a memorial for Walmer Aerodrome. Please
convey to those of the relatives who may be present my sincere
and deep sympathy for the sore loss they have suffered in
the deaths of the gallant men who gave their lives for their
country and Empire in the Service to which I have the honour
to belong. "
The guard-of-honour was called to attention and Air Commodore
Lambe removed the Union Flag covering the memorial, with the
words: "In the faith of Jesus Christ, I unveil this
memorial to the greater glory of God and in memory of those
officers of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Air
Force who served at Walmer Aerodrome, and who gave their lives
for King and country in the Great War. " The Chaplain-in-Chief
dedicated the memorial "in the faith of Jesus Christ
to the Glory of God, in the name of the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Ghost. Amen." Wreaths were deposited on
the memorial steps by Lady Beauchamp and by Mrs. Little accompanied
by her son.
The airmen commemorated by the memorial are:
Flt Cmdr. F C Armstrong, DSC - Missing
(believed killed) 25/3/18.
Flt Sub Lt. F E Bayley, DFC - Killed 23/10/18.
Flt Sub Lt. E J K Buckley, Two Foreign - Killed in action
Flt Comdr. S T Edwards, DSC and bar - Died (Aero accident)
Lieut. J E Green - Killed 5/11/18.
Flt Lt. E T Hayne, DSC - Killed (Aero accident) 24/4/19.
Lieut. C R R Hickey - Accidentally killed.
Flt Lt. R A S Hill - Missing 12/8/19.
Flt Comdr. R A Little, DSO and bar, USC and bar - Killed in
Flt Lt. J G Manuel, DSC - Dead 10/6/18.
A/FIt Comdr. R McDonald - Died 8/5/18.
Flt Lt. L A Sands - Missing 23/3/18.
Flt Lt. A J B Tonks, DFC and bar - Died 14/7/19.
Sqd Comdr. T C Vernon - Died of wounds 15/9/17.
Flt Comdr. R R Winter - Killed in action 3/2/18.
Flt Sub Lt. D R C Wright - Killed 23/12/17.
When unveiled in 1920, the memorial stood in a railed enclosure
planted with flowers, resting on two stone steps. It was described
"... as of English oak, with thatched roof. Between the
two uprights is a glazed panel, on which are inscribed the
names of the officers commemorated together with appropriately
selected verses and prayers. Above is a red lantern, which
Lady Beauchamp has kindly arranged to have lighted on the
birthday, where known, and on the anniversary of the death,
of each of the officers whose names appear on the memorial.
Trees form a leafy background to the memorial enclosure. A
coloured figure is painted on each upright of the memorial,
on either side of the inscribed panel, one figure representing
'Waiting' and the other 'Watching'."
On the side of the panel facing the sea is an inscription,
surmounted by the crest of the R.N.A.S.: "We pray you
remember in the Lord these gallant airmen, who gave their
lives in France, and who were stationed at this aerodrome
- April 1917-October 1918". Also on the panel is the