F W Critchley, 1918
F W Critchley, 1918 in Hit, Mesopotamia (now Iraq)

In 1914 the 3rd Kent Battery left England for India – this website is a collection of their memories and of the now historical information and mementoes they collected during their wartime travels.

Frank William Critchley – my Great Grandfather – kept a diary and photographs of his time with the battery between 1914-1919 – they were found as a collection of papers, books, medals and scraps in his belongings when he died in 1988.

Frank’s diary begins on 29 October 1914 – the day the 3rd Kent Battery (RFA) left Dover for Southampton to embark troopship Grantully Castle.

My Grandfather gave me much of the collection, including the diary and photographs, and I am extremely honoured that they are in my possession, but many of the pieces are very fragile – opening them up is a very delicate procedure indeed!  Rather than have them boxed up and hidden away in the attic as they have been for several decades, I decided to document and share them through this website.

Frank lived most of his early years in Broadstairs where his mother ran a boarding house – we have many postcards that he collected during those years, many were sent to him by lodgers and guests.

Married to Elizabeth Ellen Christian (always ‘Ellen’), they had two sons – Jack and Frank (my Grandfather) – and lived in Ramsgate and Margate throughout their married life.

Frank William was also a talented artist, carpenter and well-respected teacher.  Later in life he moved to live with his son and daughter-in-law, who cared for him at their home in Cottesmore, Rutland.

We also have many postcards, photographs, notes and artwork – where possible I will match them up with the diary entries, others I’ll also share on the website.

Lisa Batty