Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 14 June 2001





Big welcome
NO TOWN in England sent more Volunteer soldiers to South Africa than Folkestone to augment regular troops fighting in the protracted Boer War, a century ago -according to a Folkestone Herald writer in 1901.

And staff man Felix, armed with copies of the Folkestone Herald, was at Southampton to meet Capt Graham Gosling and the Folkestone Volunteer Company of the Buffs when they arrived home from the battle front in the liner Avondale Castle in the early hours after a 6,000 mile voyage with 1,300 troops. They came from all over the UK.

Capt Gosling, referring to the reception he was expecting his men to receive back in Kent, said “All they do for them in Folkestone will not be too much.

“They deserve every consideration. A better lot of fellows do not exist!”

Stirring scenes

Once ashore the troops waited until their particular train arrived, the Folkestone contingent soon spotting a “Canterbury” sign over some of the carriage doors, indicating their train home.

And Felix was delighted to be allowed to accompany the men on the seven-hour journey.

Needless to say there were scenes of rejoicing both at Canterbury and in Folkestone at the return of “their boys” and, wrote Felix, they were the most stirring events he had experienced in 10 years with the Herald.
There was a welcome at the Town Hall and at the Volunteer Club in Tontine Street, another celebration at the Pleasure Gardens, a banquet in the Pavilion Winter Gardens, and even a wedding.

Colour Sgt William Cushion, a mounted infantryman of the 1st Yorkshires, recently invalided home from the Boer War, was the lucky man!

And at Hythe, George Chapman, in peace time a local post office worker, who had been serving 18 months with the Buffs in Africa, was given star treatment - a ride through the town in an open carriage.

His colleagues took the places of horses in pulling the carriage in a procession through the streets.

The home coming of the volunteer troops of the East Kent Regiment of the Buffs was the cause of great celebration for weeks in the district.

Apart from a special picture supplement showing the Avondale and troops home from Africa in Southampton, the Folkestone Herald also carried a rare picture on its normal news pages, of Trooper Charles Davis, on horse back. He was a member of the Folkestone troop of the Royal East Kent Yeomanry (also known as the Mounted Rifles.)

The son of Adolphus Davis, a major shop owner in Sandgate Road, Charles, no doubt inspired by the exploits of volunteers fighting in South Africa in the Boer War, had joined the Yeomanry and took riding lessons under Lieutenant Connell at the Shorncliffe Camp Riding School._
TOP: Folkestone parish church at The Bayle - a postcard view of about a century ago. And, above a Llama does a pony’s work giving children rides near the port nearly 100 years ago.
And he won the Troop Prize, given by Major Mackinnon, as the top man of 25 riders.

A close second was Trooper A White, of the Martello Hotel, Folkestone.

Charles Davis went on to complete the ‘double’, taking the regimental prize as well.


Folkestone Local History Society is presenting a photographic display called “Folkestone’s disappearing Churches,” at the parish church. It is open I0am-1pm, Mondays to Saturdays inclusive, for three months.
FORMER Shorncliffe groundsman Ron Dutt was interested to see the review of the book Kent lighthouses and Lightships in Memories recently. He has a special interest in the subject because his grandfather Jim Dutt - pictured left with his wife Kate (nee Ramsden,) who was born on Romney Marsh - helped build one of the earliest of the Dungeness lighthouses. The couple are pictured outside their onetime home in Lower Hardres, at Street End. Ron's mother, Sarah Frances Dutt, was born at Lydd. She was one of Jim and Kate's 11 children.

Folkestone soccer squad tops East Kent League

tt Q/\'f FOLKESTONE FC teamsters were into JL9UJ. the medals, having finished top of the East Kent League. MP Sir Edward Sassoon made the presentation at a celebration concert at the Artillery Drill Hall attended by Volunteers home from Africa. The Beach Rocks Convalescent Home in Sandgate, “borrowed’' by the War Office for care of wounded soldiers from the Boer War. was transferred to the governors of the Morley House Convalescent Homes, in St Margaret's Bay. near Dover. It seems strange to read of the problems being caused by traffic noise in Guildhall Street, a century ago. Traders were complaining that they were having great difficulty serving their customers because they could not hear their orders over the din of "all the buses, chars-a-bancs. wagonettes, and motors, from Cheriton and Hythe" passing through. And they were calling on the Council to pave the road with wood blocks to deaden the sound. And the Herald editor told of new legal powers to control charabanc excursionists who annoyed locals by blowing horns or simply shouting.

Local swimmer trains for Channel swim race
QC<| ELIMINATING heats were being held ^/9Jin Folkestone by swimmers hoping to enter the Daily Mail cross-Channel Swimming Race. Several had to drop out through sickness. Those completing successful test swims included Elna Anderson, Danish physical training teacher at Brampton Down School, Folkestone and Miss Nora Goldsack, 51, a cook, from Dover. A few days later Miss Anderson learned that she had been eliminated from the s<| ts compete In the race. But. she said, she would still make an attempt at the Channel marathon later in the year. And she did. but she had to give up after a swim lasting 12hrs 30m. She made another unsuccessful bid a year later. She had hoped to become the first woman to swim from England to France. Herald writer "Roamer" wrote of his disappointment in seeing the recently renovated Stelling Minnis windmill reduced to one pair of sweeps. It was only a few years since a major renovation as a memorial to Canterbury woman's brother. The sweeps were 15 years old and the miller, Mr S Davidson, aged 86. said they should have lasted 40 years. But later lightning damage may have caused a weakness, leading to loss of a swccd in a recent
Council rejects objections to sea defences scheme

•f QQ/J LOSS of shingle at Sandgate and plans for X9&U a new groyne to prevent erosion was causing controversy and nearly 270 people signed a petition against the plans and disposal of shingle. But Sandgate Councillor J Maltby said people had short memories. A few years ago there had been a great deal of trouble and expense caused by a build up of shingle which heavy seas sent flying everywhere. The result was they had to spend a large amount of money to clear it. particularly off the roads. Disposal of ‘surplus' shingle was a useful source of income. Local residents could bo assured, he said, that they would not let the beach go if there was any risk to sea defences. The Council rejected the petition and called on owners of groynes at the Riviera be asked to put them in order. It was also agreed to ask the Bevan Hospital to repair a badly holed groyne in front of their property. Herald writer Felix wrote about the Black Bull Hotel and an early painting which depicted the tumble-down original inn surrounded by nothing but bare fields. Some of the ancients, he wrote, shook their heads at the decision to go ahead and build a new public house there, but it had become the centre-point of a whole new township built around it.
Heard the tale of the cheese and soap clock at Hythe?

•"I Q7> HERALD “Around and About" writer •L*7 f O Stroller told of the friendship between two racing motorists which led to the birth of the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Light Railway. Those two men were Capt John Howey and Count Louis Zborowski, of Bridge. Both shared a love for both motoring and miniature railways and. in 1924, the Count ordered two 15" gauge steam locomotives. Within months, however, the Count had been killed driving for Mcni'dcs ir the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and Capt Howey was left to pick up the pieces — and the two locomotives. Howey found a new partner and the result we know, the first part of the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Light Railway was finished in 1927. Heard the tale of the cheese and soap clock at Hythe Town Hall? Twenty-five years ago the Herald told how Cecil Capon, for many years a tailor in Stade Street, described how Jack Grifley. a signwritcr and notorious practical joker, once made a rather special clock. Frustrated by the long time it was taking to deliver the Town Hall clock he made one! Taking a girl's wooden hoop, two cakes of soap and a hollowed out Dutch cheese he fashioned the unusual clock and one night fixed it to the Town Hall. Attached was a rhyme - "The clock is here - it goes quite easy; The weights are soap and the pendulum cheesey.”

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