St Mary & St Eanswythe, Folkestone history
Statue
St Mary & St Eanswythe, Folkestone architecture and history
Marbel Architecture
St Mary & St Eanswythe, Folkestone and Kent history
David Railton
St Mary & St Eanswythe, Folkestone and Kent historical architecture and buildings
Interior
The unknown soldier, David Railton, a Church of England priest, born in 1884.

David Railton was a curate at the parish church of St May & St Eanswythe in Folkestone from 1914 to 1920. In 1911 he had become a temporary chaplain to the Forces and was given leave of absence to serve in France during the war. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1916 for saving an officer and two men under heavy fire.
 
It was while he was serving on the Western Front, in 1916, that Railton first had the idea of arranging for the body of an unknown serviceman to be transported back to England, and buried with full honours. Later in the War he wrote to Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig expressing this idea. He received no response, but felt reluctant to let it go.
 
In August, 1920 - by which time he was vicar of St John the Baptist, Margate - he wrote to Bishop Ryle, the Dean of Westminster, about the possibility of giving an unidentified soldier a national burial service in Westminster Abbey. Ryle took up the idea and with the support of Prime Minister Lloyd George, won over the initially hesitant King George V.
On 11 November 1920, King George V unveiled The Cenotaph in Whitehall. Standing by was a gun-carriage bearing the coffin of the Unknown Warrior which then processed to Westminster Abbey where it was buried in a special tomb - lined with earth from France - at the west end of the Abbey.  The stone over the tomb bears this inscription:
 

BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY
OF A BRITISH WARRIOR
UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK

BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG
THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND
AND BURIED HERE ON ARMISTICE DAY
11 NOV: 1920, IN THE PRESENCE OF
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V
HIS MINISTERS OF STATE
THE CHIEFS OF HIS FORCES
AND A VAST CONCOURSE OF THE NATION
THUS ARE COMMEMORATED THE MANY
MULTITUDES WHO DURING THE GREAT
WAR OF 1914-1918 GAVE THE MOST THAT
MAN CAN GIVE LIFE ITSELF
FOR GOD
FOR KING AND COUNTRY
FOR LOVED ONES HOME AND EMPIRE
FOR THE SACRED CAUSE OF JUSTICE AND
THE FREEDOM OF THE WORLD
THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE
HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD
HIS HOUSE

For a list of all the names of fallen soldiers found on the World War One Memorial Tablet can be viewed by following the link below.
St Mary & St Eanswythe, Folkestone
who we are
The Friends of St Mary and St Eanswythe Parish Church began on 21st March 2014 and is dedicated to the preservation of St Mary and St Eanswythe's Church.

REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER 1161358
Contact Us
E. info@friendsofstmaryandsteanswythe.org.uk


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what we do
Our sole aim is to raise funds all of which will be devoted to the upkeep of the building and to the furthering of public understanding of its history, architecture and significance.