The Headstone Mystery

Each Saturday morning our cemetery volunteers gather in the old Folkestone cemetery on Cheriton Road to clear away the scrubby weeds and bring a little order to this Victorian cemetery.

Some of our regular volunteers are ace ‘detectives’ and their excellent research skills and attention to detail often helps local people, and sometimes those from further afield, to find where the remains of their loved ones have been laid to rest.

I am more of a ‘wander around picking up litter’ kind of volunteer – but when Carole, Karl or Hugh get on the trail to find out something there is no stopping them.

On this occasion Carole was painstakingly updating Find A Grave website with details of burial plots that run parallel with the railway line – and she noticed that on one plot there was a commonwealth war grave to a young man who had died in 1916.

There are 44 commonwealth war graves in this old cemetery, so perhaps not surprising to find this particular one – except it appeared to be placed on the burial plot of two other people, who were not related.

Carole continued with her research and proved beyond doubt that the headstone for Lewis Harold Dilnot was indeed in the wrong place – and further research indicated where it needed to be.

Carole contacted the Commonwealth War Grave Commission who visited the cemetery quickly and once shown the evidence they agreed to move the headstone to the correct place.

Earlier this week the white CWGC van could be seen in the cemetery and the regulation CWG headstone was moved to its new, correct, position with details on Find A Grave updated accordingly.

A well known and a very popular character in the town, 20 year old Lewis Harold Dilnot was a cook on the TSS Queen when it was captured by a German destroyer, in 1916. The Queen was torpedoed and sunk by the destroyer and Lewis Dilnot died of scalds on board the Queen, just before she was sunk.

In front of the sturdy white CWG headstone – there stands a smaller memorial which bears the words:

The rock is a mark of respect

from the

Captain, Officers & Crew

TSS The Queen

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