Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

From the Folkestone Herald Published 20 July 2000

Bert Ellse

Bert Ellse pictured in a North St party photograph in last week’s Memories holding the cakes was soon to have a special celebration of his own. His wife was about to give birth to daughter Irene, now wife of Geoff Bell, of Radnor Park Road!

V E Day

WHEN Germany capitulated in the Second World War the UK celebrated peace with V.E. (Victory in Europe) street parties. But for a while afterwards, the Allied Forces fought the Japanese in the Far East. This picture is of a Tyson Road party shown to local historian Alan Taylor by his Aunt Maisie Taylor. Her late husband Jim is behind their son Michael who is in the centre seventh from right.


Brave pilot.

THE BRAVERY of Pilot Officer Peter Dexter of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron and a colleague he tried to rescue, PO ‘Pip’ Cardell, impressed two Folkestone men who watched their exploits in the Battle of Britain.

The incident was referred to briefly in the Folkestone Herald, on July 6 in a special feature on the anniversary of the famous battle fought in the skies over East Kent and the Channel in 1940. The RAF’s formidable task was to stop the German Luftwaffe gaining control in the sky.

Had the Germans won it the UK was threatened with invasion by the power crazy Adolf Hitler, the German Fuhrer.

Writing from Hull, in Yorkshire, Alec McGarry, an ‘exiled’ Folkestonian said he read our feature and he revealed that he had a special reason to remember PO Peter Dexter although at the time, because of security, he did not know his name.

“How well I remember that day,” he says. “Ted Andrews and I were the two men that rowed out the rowing boat commandeered by PO Peter Dexter,” he says.

Readers of the Herald feature may remember that PO Dexter made a valiant bid to save his comrade. He force-landed his own Spitfire fighter on the beach at Folkestone and commandeered the boat in a bid to reach PO Cardell, who, it was reported, had baled out, wounded, over the sea. Alec says:

“The battle was at its height. We were building a shelter between the old Victoria Pier and the harbour when, all of a sudden two planes came into view.

One plane was alight, fire coming from the cockpit. The pilot we now know was PO Pip Cardell did NOT bale out of his plane as stated.

“It looked to us as though he was trying to miss the pavilion building at the end of Victoria Pier. He was well alight and seemed to be struggling to avoid the pier. His plane just missed it and he crashed into the sea at the end of Victoria Pier.

“The other plane swept over and the pilot we now know was PO Peter Dexter forced landed on the beach between the harbour and pier. He was lucky that the beach stones helped his plane come to a sudden halt.

“Ted Andrews and I were starting to get the boat into the water when Pilot Dexter came running up the beach. He gave us a hand to get the boat into the water and jumped in.

“He took off his trousers and tunic and when we were over the place where PO Cardell’s plane sank we dug the boat oars into the sea and found it.

“Dexter dived into the sea and came up with the parachute belonging to PO Cardell. He stated the pilot was that badly burnt he had no chance of survival.



“Of all my memories this is one of the bravest things I have ever seen.

“Ted Andrews and I did our best to help, but this was nothing to what these brave men did to save this great country of ours.”

And Alec McGarry added this postscript: “Sadly Ted Andrews has since died.”

Alec McGarry left, at 82, who had a narrow shave with death building gun site shelters on the coast in the war in his younger days. That's him right at the age of 24.

Young Alec McGarry

But he added, “Perhaps Mr B. Houghton is still alive to confirm what happened.”

Old pals can contact Alec at 52 Newstead Street, Hull, Yorks HU5 3NQ.

Incidentally another Spitfire crash-landed on the beach at Deal or Walmer and I am told by another Memories reader the pilot went on to become Air Vice Marshal Lyle.



Never absent never late in 9 years girl gets medal.

THE FOLKESTONE Herald a century ago was reporting a heatwave, that the public Library was going from strength to strength, with the borrowing of books at its highest ever. In the past year the total issued was 57.350. well over 4.300 up on the previous year. Tontine Street post office was set to move to other premises occupied by Dr Dove. Tribute was paid to the late George Wilks. 64. town clerk of Hythe 33 years and magistrates' clerk, under whose skillful guidance it was said the town had prospered and its rights over the seashore maintained despite claims on it by the Government. Out of his work in connection with the Cinque Ports and legal action over the seashore, had come the writing of an interesting book. The Barons of the Cinque Ports. Most shops and businesses in Hythe closed as a mark of respect. At his funeral High street was packed with people paying tribute to a man who had done much for the poor in a private capacity. In Sandgate Lady Sassoon presented medals for good attendance at Sandgate Schools, and in particular to Ellen Finnis. whose picture was printed with the caption "Never absent, never late, for nine years.”



Folkestone poster sparks a stir in national papers.

A CHAMBER of Commerce inspired tourism poster which extolled the virtues of Folkestone as a resort caused a stir which reverberated through the national daily newspapers and elsewhere bringing in some good free publicity for the town. But Southern Railway officials, worried about upsetting other resorts, objected to the wording of posters it was asked to display in trains and on stations. The offending wording, which did not claim Folkestone was better than any other resort, but was equal to the best, read "unsurpassed for health and beauty by any town on the South Coast." A letter from the railway's publicity department said it would be happy to accept 500 posters if the words "by any town on the South Coast” were omitted, on the grounds that other resorts might take it as a "challenge." Folkestone. Hythe and Sandgate Building Society held its 75th annual meeting at the Town Hall when another successful year was reported. Respected headmaster of St Mary's Higher Grade School, in Dover Road. Arthur John Hall died suddenly at 57, which came as a shock to many, not the least of whom was his only son, Ronald who had been on the way home from abroad to see him for their first meeting in 13 years. Sadly, he arrived too late, by half and hour. Arthur was an enthusiastic Freemason.



Council studies plans to reduce erosion of coast.

FOLKEST0NE Town Council studied an expert report on sea defence works required at Sandgate for a distance of 4.000 ft from Sea Point to Riviera Road and heard that the first step required was the re-establishment of an effective system of groynes to stabilise the beach levels and that ultimately it was necessary to completely re-construct the sea wall. It was agreed the borough engineer and contractors Sir William Halcrow and Partners should work together to prepare estimates of the cost. I was interested to read that Argentinian Antonio Abertondo was training at Folkestone in 1950 for Channel swim races. He made solo crossings in 1950, 1951 and 1953. Years later. I recall, he became the first man to swim the Channel both ways in an epic swim of 43 hours 10 mins, with only a 5 minute rest between: that was in September 1961. A story of smuggling days in the past was re-enacted on Romney Marsh for a full length feature film "Green Grow the Rushes” most of which was shot in the Marsh area. The story was adapted from Howard Clowes' best seller. Stars included a young Honor Blackman and Richard Burton. Local 'stars' included Phil Tate and his band from the Leas Cliff Hall, in suitable costume and playing brass band instruments!



Went to buy a table - and returned Lord of Manor!

AMBULANCE services were on an emergency standby only as a result of an industrial dispute over a new pay structure negotiated by their own union. David Duff, of Mermaid St, Rye, was looking through adverts in the Times newspaper for a dining room table when he saw an auction notice. A few days later he parted with 1,400 but it wasn't for a table. He bought instead the Lordship of the Manor of Newington Fee, and thus became one of 23 Lords of the Level of Romney Marsh, who date back to 1252. Their original function was to do with sea defences and drains, a job taken over by the government in 1930. The title fell vacant on the death of William Drake-Brockman. The town's publicity officer received a bit of a drubbing front the Arts Director. John Eveleigh, at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Arts Centre - for never, it was alleged, visiting the town's Arts Centre. Mr Eveleigh also complained the centre was not included in the list of amenities in the town circulated by the town's publicity department. Told of the complaints afterwards publicity officer John Whiting said "Rubbish I have been up there several times. I may not go to their ‘winey do’s’ but I have been to a lot of their shows." And he added that the Arts Centre was in the official list of town events. “I don’t quaff great gallons of wine and sometimes pay to go to shows. I think I am saving the ratepayers' money.”


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