Remembering Edith Burvill, NAAFI Canteen Manager at Fan Bay Battery
On Wednesday 9th August 2023, members of NAAFI attended a special service of dedication at Hawkinge Cemetery, Folkestone.
Born on 28th June 1903, Edith Burvill was the NAAFI Canteen Manager for Fan Bay Battery in The White Cliffs of Dover. Not much is known about Edith’s early life but she is suspected to have joined NAAFI around 1939, after sadly losing her husband Roland to pancreatic cancer the year before.
Edith lost her life to enemy action on the night of the 9th/10th February 1943 as an Armed Merchant Cruiser attempted to pass through the Dover Strait. After the ship received damage, German Coast Batteries opened fire. It was during this time Edith was killed when the NAAFI building at Fan Bay received a direct hit.
For nearly 80 years, Edith’s remains lay in an unmarked plot in Hawkinge Cemetery, until National Trust volunteers Mark Chapman and Gordon Wise began to research her story and delve deeper into the events that night. Unfortunately, due to being a civilian, Edith did not have a headstone to mark her resting place, something Mark and Gordon were passionate about fundraising for so that future generations could honour her sacrifice.
NAAFI were priviledged to attend the headstone dedication and lay a wreath in remembrance of Edith, along with the Standard Bearers and bugler of the Royal British Legion, representatives from the National Trust and members of Edith’s family.
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