Chalky’s Tale: William ‘Chalky’ White – Crayford’s Unknown Warrior

Two days were spent running animation workshops, training volunteer artists/animators, in two primary schools – St. Paulinus and St. Joseph’s, in Crayford, as well as two days at the Danson Festival in Bexleyheath, where I worked with family groups in the summer of 2011.  Giles Thacker ably assisted me during the Danson Festival workshops.

Some of the artwork was later scanned into Photostudio and Photoshop, and animated by me, in After Effects.

The soundtrack was created using loops in Garageband and the film was edited in iMovie HD.

The story was written by Peter Daniel, who has written the following about the project:

The First World War ended with an armistice at 11am on the 11th November 1918. The war, which had begun in 1914, had claimed the lives of 908,371 British men, whilst 2,090,212 came home wounded. At this exact time and date in 1920 the Cenotaph in Whitehall and tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey were unveiled as an act of national remembrance.

On the 14th July 1916, at the height of the terrible Battle of the Somme, William ‘Chalky’ White became the first local soldier to be buried at home. In doing so, he became Crayford’s ‘Unknown Warrior’ as his funeral symbolically allowed other families a chance to grieve for a loved one who died many miles from home. Chalky was just an ordinary lad from Crayford, whose death took place nearly a hundred years ago. However, the war that claimed his life did more to change his home town then any event before or since. This was largely due to the presence of the Vickers Armaments factory that once stood on the site now occupied by the Tower Retail Park.

This year (2011), the two minutes silence on Remembrance Day will fall on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of the century.

The Crayford Town Archive has put together this project, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, to
mark this unique anniversary to not only tell the tale of a forgotten local hero, but to tell the story of how their town changed forever.

Almost everyone in Crayford lost someone. If you go into St Paulinus Church you will see their names on a wooden board at the back of the church. Nobody who knew them is still alive so they are easily over looked. We hope Chalky’s story will make sure that each year children from where they all grew up will read their names aloud on Remembrance Day and in doing so make sure that they are not forgotten.

Peter Daniel May 2011!prettyPhoto/0/


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