DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 4 October 2001

 

PAUL Sindell, of Morehall Avenue, is researching the history of his home and would welcome any information about the houses and to hear from any survivors of the devastating raid on the street on May 29, 1941, when the Mayor, Alderman George Gurr and his wife Kate Gurr, were killed by the first of several parachute mines dropped that day, which hit their home at 30 Morehall Avenue.

It was in the early hours of the morning that parachute mines were dropped on Morehall Avenue and Cherry Garden Avenue, killing twelve men and women and a child, injuring 43 and destroying or partly destroying 26 homes.

Some of these, including Paul's present home were later rebuilt.

It is hard to credit it, but altogether, 600 local homes were damaged in this raid.

Next door to the Gurrs, at No. 28, an 18-month old baby boy, his mother, Betsy May Knott, aged 24 and Daisy Crump with whom they were living, also died.

Rescuers were hampered by the need to maintain the blackout, since enemy aircraft were overhead for some time.

Drama was added by the plight of another young woman and her baby marooned at the top of a house, the mother perched on the smallest of ledges above a chasm which was once the front of the building.

And, at the back of the building, a crippled woman was trapped in the debris.

The German bomber crews' target, says Hawkinge writer Roy Humphreys, in his book “Target Folkestone," was the Folkestone West Station.
They missed by 1,000 yards and Roy comments: "The net result of their special skills was one of carnage when sleeping civilians took the brunt of the attack." Each mine dropped contained 500 kilo of explosive.

Roy records that Police Sergeant E Swann, who was staying in the home of Mr and Mrs Gurr, was taken to hospital unconscious after the raid. Another policeman. Special Constable Charles Jones, died in the same attack.

The first of the houses in the street, Paul discovered, were built about 1902, and he understands there is at least one survivor of the raid still in Folkestone, a Mrs Duske, of Holland Avenue.

Paul, who is also seeking photographs of the street, can be contacted on 01303 277778.

The photograph on this page was published in the Folkestone Herald's paperback book “Frontline Folkestone - The Story in Pictures of Folkestone's Ordeal during Five Years of War, 1940-45."

Long out of print, it was printed soon after the war, the foreword being dated July 1945. It cost a modest three shillings (15p) and contained many photographs taken by Herald staff. Sadly, not a single photograph is left in our archives, and no one seems to know where the negatives went either, which is a great pity because they represented a unique record.

A copy of the book may be seen in the public library.

There have been a number of calls for the book to be reprinted over recent years, but where are all the photographs, I wonder.

The Herald has only a photocopy of the book -plus one page torn out of a book, and that happens to be this picture of Morehall Avenue!
e-mail: hollingsbee@bigfoot.com V

Photo plea
MEMORIES reader Rachel Williams, who lives on the Leas, was very interested in the aerial photograph of the Metropole Hotel and The Grand, which, from a pencil note on the back, appears to be one of the first aerial views of the town, the year given being 1919.

The picture was used in Memories on September 13.

"I note with interest on the photograph the very well worn tennis courts in Turlington Gardens, outside my windows," she explains. Rachel is keen to get a copy of the picture.
MOREHALL Avenue showing the devastation caused by a parachute mine attack on the night of May 29, 1941. Thirteen people died in the raid, including Folkestone's Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman & Mrs G Gurr.

Memories reader Miss Eileen Martin, whose home is in Court Approach,

Folkestone, wrote to me in response to my August 30 reference to Second World War aircraft crashes in the Shepway area.

"I was delighted to see the name of Oscar Hopkins," she writes.

"It brought back such happy memories, as Oscar used to play with my sisters, Jean and Thelma, before the war, in
'Such happy days'
South Street, Folkestone.

"Oscar will surely remember Dick Chard, who married Jean just after the war.

"John Donovan and Betty Balm were two more playmates in those such happy days.

"I'm sure Oscar will remember too, the Martin family, who lived in the dear old True Briton public house. He used to come
in to play with Thelma," adds Miss Martin, who wanted to get in touch with Oscar for a chat about old times.

"I am 84, but hip problems limit my mobility. I think Oscar must be in his seventies.

"Thank you for another happy Memories," she adds. I was delighted to put the two readers in touch with each other.
 

Herald tribute to ‘martyr of duty’ killed at station

A Qfkxf THE Herald paid tribute to Robert .L9UJL Walton, a Travelling Inspector, who gave his life trying to hold back crowds from the railway line during Folkestone Races at Westenhanger when he was pitched forward to his death under the wheels of a railway locomotive by the excited people. Described by the Herald as "a martyr to duty" he had earned high praise for his work only the previous year when he organised tho arrivals and departures of special trains chartered for use of Volunteers and the Militia coming to the coast for an cxcrcise. His death, at 45, left a widow and four children under 12. And the Herald urged readers and fans of the turf to help the care fund set up to help them by local Stationmastcr Thomas Butler. At the Queens Hotel London auctioneers offered for sale 50 housing plots on the 52 acre West Cliff Estate, near the Metropolc Hotel, realising £17,070. Fronting Baldric Road, Bathurst Road, or Turketel Road, they were sold in 80 minutes at prices ranging from £160 to £500.

 
Heaviest ever motor coach traffic at Folkestone port
m QPii MOTOR coach traffic to Folkestone .L99J. harbour during the summer was reported to be the heaviest on record, it's attractions proving a draw to be reckoned with by other local resorts. The Herald's midweek sister paper, the Folkestone & Hythc Gazette printed a colourful cartoon across eight columns featuring characters responsible for organisation of Hythe Venetian Fete, following up this with another of personalities involved in the Folkestone Regatta and then of ATC youngsters learning to fly at the then Hawkinge Gliding School. It was the work of the then well known artist signing himself only as "Mac." Herald writer The Roamer wrote that someone must have a grudge against the British Legion because whenever they decided to organise a 'do' it rained, and rained. And this resulted in a loss of some hundreds of pounds in the previous year's Legion organised Carnival. In 1951 it rained again, but at least thero were takings of £150! A Folkestone Rowing Club junior-senior fours crew won their event at Eastbourne Regatta after a re-row of the event followino a
 
Local man who pioneered post and phone services

*1 OOCA GEM of information from the pen of XS&O Herald man Felix was the revelation that we owe the original penny post system to two men, one of whom was John Morris, who once lived at the big cliff-top house at Abbots Cliff. Ho worked with the better known Rowland Hill, on introducing this regulated postal service and, wrote Felix, went on to launch the telephone service too, together with 11 partners, each taking up £1,000 worth of shares in a private company. Felix chatted about it with the old man when John Morris celebrated his golden wedding in his home at Capel. In 1926 there were still reported to be living in the town people who could remember the primitive headquarters of the coastguard "back in tho old days." It was an old sailing brig known as "The Pelter" which had, apparently, become stranded, high and dry on the shore between Folkcstono and one of the original Channel Tunnel sites. And it had been set up as their combined base and married quarters, for wives also lived there with their children, between the decks - a curious and lonely home! You can see a sketch of the "The Pelter" in the public library.
Fastest typist in UK struck a blow for 'Women’s Lib’
 
(f FAMOUS local author H.G. Wells, who

.Lę7/0 lived at Spode House, was one of the first clients of Miss Edith R lllenden, later Mrs Clough, a joint founder of that old Folkestone secretarial school of Cloughs. In September 1976 the Herald featured the college and its offset-litho printing business, the firm being an essential part of the community for many years. It was founded a century ago. In setting up her own business Mrs Clough struck a blow for women's lib. Born in 1879, she left St Mary's School, in Dover Road, at 14 to become a pupil teacher at the Wesleyan church school at Grace Hill. She joined the staff of a London commercial college, returning to Folkestone aged 21 to open up her typewriting bureau in her parents' home in Dover Road, later moving to Shellons Street. H.G. Wells, she once commented, was aloof and critical and his writing microscopic! Fastest typist in the country at 90 words per minute, sho met. In 1910, Mr J.S. Clough, a commercial teacher and they exchanged love Tetters in shorthand before marrying a year later. The successful Clough's Commercial College opened at 62 Guildhall Street. Other colleges followed, in Canterbury, Eastbourne and Southampton.

If anyone should have any a better picture than any on this page, or think I should add one they have, please email me at the following address:-

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