Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 7 September 2000

War rescue
THUMBING through some old copies of the Grimsby Evening Telegraph which regularly publishes articles about the sea and in particular its famous trawler base, veteran former Folkestone boatman Fred Featherbe, of Earlsfield Road, Hythe, hit on a story about a heroic rescue in the Channel.
It told of an unforgettable visit to Folkestone by one of the Grimsby trawlers in wartime.

Skipper of that trawler, the Laforey, was Bill Mogg, who was quite a hero.

He had served in minesweepers in the First World War and got back into the service at the time little ships were needed for the epic Dunkirk evacuation in the early part of the Second World War.

And shortly after this he went to the rescue when German dive bombers attacked and set on fire the liner Domala, packed with Australian and New Zealand people, mainly women and children, she was taking home.

Skipper Mogg, ignoring: the Stukas dive-bombers, stayed with the liner throughout the attack taking women and children aboard during intervals between attacks and waited
until other ships arrived.

And when his trawler Laforey at last sailed into Folkestone it was described as "a floating creche" because of the great number of babies aboard who had been saved from the stricken liner.

One of the grateful mums later broadcast her thanks from New Zealand.

She said she would "never forget the sight of Skipper Mogg with babies under his left arm, firing a Lewis gun with his right hand, meanwhile expressing his thoughts aloud in a strong, rich vocabulary."

Skipper Mogg, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery, was later invalided out of the service, returned to fishing and subsequently awarded the MBE.

But there is a tragic postscript to the story in another supplement from the Grimsby paper.
It recalls the Grimsby Telegraph report, back in February 1954, which told of the wreck of the Grimsby trawler Laforey on a reef off the Norwegian coast.

It resulted in the loss of Skipper Mogg, 57, and all his crew of 19 - who included his son Kenneth, 32, himself a qualified skipper, who sailed as mate and had only recently got married.

The 609 ton trawler was found bottom up on rocks with no sign of the crew despite a widespread search.

Earlier a coastal radio station at Floroe had picked up Laforey's distress signal that she was ashore on Yttero and needed immediate help. Ten minutes later a desperate SOS indicated she was listing heavily and capsizing.

At the time she had been homeward bound with her catch.

By a coincidence the trawler Stockham, which

ERRAND of mercy trawler Laforey, from Grimsby, once likened to a 'floating creche' after she landed many babies and their mothers at Folkestone in the last War. They were rescued from a sinking liner attacked by German fighter bombers in the Channel.
picked up the radio message and headed ships in a rescue mission, was skippered by Mogg's son-in-law Tom Evans.

The Grimsby paper regularly publishes supplements with a theme similar to Memories, and with a piece recalling the tragic story of the Laforey was a photograph of the ill-fated
trawler and Capt Mogg, as well as members of his crew.

The Grimsby Telegraph has been publishing these historical supplements for years, exploiting what must be a massive archive of historic photographs.

I know because I have seen dozens of these interesting papers over the years, my wife having been born in
Grimsby. Members of her family still live in Lincolnshire and she regularly has the loan of the supplements which are circulated around family and friends.

TOP: Memories reader Derrick Lawson showed me this interesting photo of a Folkestone & District Road Car Co bus at the Central Station in 1914.




Massive entry for race meeting at town course.

ft Qflf\ EXCITEMENT was mounting among ^SUUthe racing fraternity with the news that there was a big increase of GO entries, from 131 to 193. for races at comparatively new Folkestone Racecourse at the August meeting. And, said the editor, once the Boer War troubles were over there would be the added support of the military. The Herald welcomed French capital investment In the Dover Colliery on the town's boundary and the confirmation that the "Dover Coalfield is ci'rtiim to be a great commercial success." In the will to succeed. It seems, the cost and difficulty of keeping water out of the shafts so they could be worked safely, was glossed over as well organised publicity promoted the sale ol shjres in the private concerns promoting the Kent Coalfield. Felix backed a plea by a local cyclist about the state of the town's roads. ‘It's time the powers that be took to a bike and sampled the conditions." The cyclist said there was hardly a street in town that could be ridden with any pleasure. "They are uneven, cut about, strewn with rubbish, and in every way badly cared for. Those driving in carriages must suffer with the jolting in no small way also."



Police orchestra entertain at annual cricket festival.

ft no C I'LL BET most Herald readers didn't know that Folkestone police once had their own orchestra. They apparently entertained at what was once the annual cricket match between the Morchall Motor Works and the Swingfield Cricket Club, at Swingfield. in 1925. So it was not surprising that the town's own Chief Constable, Mr A.S. Beesley and Mrs Beesley travelled with the Morehall team to watch the game. Director of the orchestra was Mr P Rowe. Mr E. Hambrook jnr. who was atciinip.inird by his father, entertained both teams and said how much his staff at the Morehall works looked forward to the annual fixture. One local paper carried two views of a smart looking sports car on a 30/98 Vauxhall chassis, produced by the town's own coachbuilders. Martin Walters and built on "fast chassis" such as Vauxhall, Delage and Bentley. The streamlining and hand-beaten panelling came in for much praise in the motoring, racing and sporting press. Quietly, without any pomp, a big change took place at Folkestone's sandy beach. A sewer outfall was switched to deeper water resulting in cleaner sands at East Cliff. And our man Felix said he had been astounded to find anything from 1.500 to 2.000 people packed on the sands. An old boatman told him it had been the same for weeks.

Channel swimming from Dungeness suggested


KCC objections threaten big Copt Point marina scheme.

>f Q7C A DEMAND by the KCC that entrepreneur JL*/ I 9 Sidney de Haan should carry out further feasibility studies into his 40 million scheme for a marina and leisure centre at Copt Point threatened the future of the plan, said Herald’s story of the week. The KCC asked him, in effect, to withdraw his outline plans. This Mr de Haan declined to do. a spokesman saying the county should rule on the .ipplic>itiun before it. Many thousands of pounds had already been spent on the project, he pointed out. No more studies could be carried out until the County Council decided whether or not to support Shepway Council in its outline approval to the project. The county's decision to advise that the scheme be withdrawn followed a site meeting and a further meeting In Maidstone. The county proposed to tell Mr de Haan of policy objections to development. Before overriding those objections the KCC wanted evidence of demand for development on such a scale, proof of the developer's financial ability to carry out the scheme, proof that the development wnulil not be detrimental to the cliffs, coast and sea bed. Councillors called for an impact study and a tide model to illustrate the effect on the coastline. The scheme was for a 5-star hotel for 1,200 people, two 4-star hotels, each for 600 guests and two 3-star hotels each for 300 people. Also proposed was an international conference centre, non-tidal marina, a casino and 200 marina apartments.



*1 QCrt4 CONTROVERSIAL suggestion was X9wwmade by a Herald reader that

Channel swimmers should make their bids from Dungeness and thereby cheat the Channel currents which have thwarted countless a marathon swim attempts. The writer, veteran Sandgate longshoreman Victor Foley, reckoned the distance between Dungeness Point and Cap Gris-Nez was 22 miles - "the same as from Dover to Calais." Postponed for a week due to the weather Folkestone Regatta rowing events were due to be held, with 11 clubs from around the South Coast as far as Southsea due to take part. One writer in the Herald letters columns backed the editor's Leader comment that the town's publicity department was not doing enough to publicise Folkestone and district, while another suggested there should be more areas lit up at night to draw attention to attractions more obvious in the day time. In particular reference was made to the magnificent Kingsnorth Gardens. Filming of "Green Grow the Rushes" by A.C.T. Films, some of which was on location at New Romney. was completed and due to be screened in November. Within a few weeks however, film cameras were rolling again, near Lydd for the film "Man Detained," based on Jeffrey Dell's story.


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