CAPEL MEMORIAL COTTAGES
On Sunday 15th August 2021, a memorial service was held at the Capel Memorial Cottages to mark 100 years since their opening almost to the day on Sunday 14th August 1921.
Then as now, the event was attended by local public servants, religious officials and residents of the parish who gathered to pay their respects to those that lost their lives in the War but also to thank those responsible for this truly unique building and monument for their foresight, hard work and dedication.
The service was especially poignant as Don Foreman, the Capel History Society Chairman, had passed away only two days before. As Hugh Patterson, Chairman of Capel Parish Council, remarked in his address, Don had been instrumental in impressing upon the Council the value of holding the centennial memorial.
Don had written a speech for the day on the history of the Memorial Cottages. This was read by Andrew Stanley of the Capel History Society who revealed that his paternal great grandmother, Mary Keel, was the first occupant of number 9 Memorial Cottages. Mary was the District Nurse for Capel and known locally as 'Granny Keel'. Her sons Frederick (born 1894) and Jesse (born 1896) were both killed at Gallipoli in August 1915. In addition, Andrew's father spent the first five years of his life living with his grandmother at the Cottages following the death of his mother giving birth to him in 1923.
"The memory of their tenacity, their valour, their love of country, their sacrifice, can never fail. For in every village and every township, in some prominent place, where all can see, we have erected memorials to them, "Lest we forget." We of this generation shall not forget, but our desire is that day to day and year to year, future generations shall be reminded of the sacrifice made for them that they might remain citizens of a free, liberty-loving and unconquered country."
Colonel Cornwallis, Chairman of Kent County Council, from his address at the Dedication Ceremony, Sunday August 14th 1921
The Memorial Cottages are a building of which all in Capel should feel rightly proud. They provide a unique link between the men of Capel that died in two world wars and their sacrifice being honoured and remembered through these homes as their legacy for future generations in the Parish.
The links below will take you to:
The Kent and Sussex Courier report on the Opening Ceremony in August 1921:
and Don Foreman's history of how the Memorial Cottages came to be built: