Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 25 October 2001



WRITER Stephen Nash, of Hook Close, Folkestone, is currently researching the history of air ferries which operated a car-carrying service across the Channel from East Kent airports.

Stephen is keen to discover all he can about car ferry aircraft - Bristol 170 and Douglas DC-4 'Carvairs' - that used to operate from both Lympne aerodrome and Lydd Airport, and he is looking for photographs.

I can recall very clearly joining one of these early flights, on a press trip with a former Folkestone Herald editor whilst a young reporter with the Dover Express. This flight, back in 1964 marked the opening of British United Air Ferries' new service to Liege, in Belgium.

And we were treated right royally on the three-day trip! I shall never forget the food (!) and wine dished up - particularly the fresh salmon with a memorable shrimp sauce!

I still have a copy of a journal in which I wrote of my impressions of the trip. The Dover Express magazine was called “Dover Review," and it was the brainchild of its editor, the former well known sports writer, the late Stan Wells who for an all-too-short period was a Southern Television personality reporting on Kent sport.

The same edition of the magazine carried a picture feature on the staff of the Dover Express in those days.
I remember that the short-lived publication exploited the capabilities of a brand new Heidelburg offset printing press installed at the former Dover Express printing works in Snargate Street, Dover.

Little did we know then, that the new York Street dual carriageway, now linked to the new A20 trunk road through Snargate Street, was to run through the site of those works.

We had no inkling either that the paper would soon be merged with the Folkestone Herald group, then owned by F.J. Parsons Ltd, with printing works in The Bayle. Now, they too have gone, to be replaced by a block of flats and the newspapers have had several new owners since the old building was demolished!

But to get back to Lydd Airport. Shepway, says Stephen has a port and airport, "but has allowed both to fall apart. What a waste!" he comments.

Stephen adds that Lydd can be seen in its heyday in a British made 'B' movie, “The Birthday Present," starring Tony Britten and, he told me, "I seem to recall that a car ferry aeroplane appears in the classic film “Goldfinger," - although I don't know if this was at Lydd or Lympne."

If any readers can help Stephen I will pleased to put them in touch with him.

Pictured left is a Carvair air ferry like the one my press party flew in from Lydd, loading a vehicle towing an outboard motor boat.
Air ferries
CHERITON - It is hard to credit the picture below is of the main road through Cheriton about 75 years ago. Left is the old Baptist church and right, a small open-top charabanc trundles along at a leisurely pace with an outing group. The ladies all wear large-brimmed hats. The photograph was shown to me by local postcard collector Peter Hooper, of Dover Road.
PETER Bamford, of Folkestone & District Local History Society, is seeking Memories readers' help in his search for information about Francis Ridley Baker, a private in the East Kent Regiment, of The Buffs (East Kent Regt) who is believed to have died as a PoW in the Second World War. He is buried in The Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery, at Brandenburg.

Peter says he died on February 27, 1945, aged 33. He was the son of George Henry and Amine Caroline Baker, of Folkestone. His regimental number was 787042. He was in the 4th battalion and he was awarded four medals for his service during the war.

The Herald used to publish weekly bulletins
about our local servicemen serving during the war, detailing casualties and often publishing portrait photographs of casualties, or men who were missing, presumably provided by their families back home.

Peter poses these questions:

Do any readers remember Francis Ridley Baker, where did he live, go to school, and was he serving in the army before the war?

What were the medals that he would have received for his service? Is there a photo of him? Was he taken prisoner at Dunkirk?

Any information he says would be much appreciated. Readers can contact Peter on 07710 724 304 or via e-mail -

Herald hacks plan to step up coastline sea defences

■ Q/\f THE Herald warned that the choic-cst portion of the town's local scenery w;\s doomed to obliteration by the sea unless West Cliff defences and East Cliff improvements were carried out as proposed by the M<iyor. There was only one point on which the editor disagreed. He warned against what seemed a threat to cliff base defences by selling off shingle and he sought reassurance from qualified engineers that this did not pose a threat. Every winter, he pointed out, erosion posed a threat to the foreshore. The Lower Road and gardens were in serious danger from the ravages of the sea. he wrote. It would be folly to ignore it. Although the route to be taken through town by Boer War hero Lord Roberts during his forthcoming visit had not been decided Saiulyato Council was drawing up plans early in October for a huge triumphal arch over the road, from the shop of a Mr Fitche, to welcome the Commander in Chief of British troops, as well as the decoration of homes along the chosen route to Shorncliffe Camp.

MP tells of concern over conflicts in the Middle East

QE<| THERE was trouble in the Middle ^*7 East 50 years ago and the newly re-elected local MP Brigadier H.R. Mackeson, of Hythe, told public meetings of British subjects in danger in Egypt, due to "government procrastination" and of an even more serious problem in the Sudan. "We must not let the corrupt Pasha government gel control of the Sudan," he declared. “We have been paying money to the Egyptian Pashas for the right to defend them at Alamein and have been giving them jets and Centurion tanks since the Suez Canal was closed," he went on. But he opposed to intervention by "Uncle Joe" - that is to say the United States. The Brigadier also referred to the slate of the railways since nationalisation, saying they had lost 20mil-lion in 1949 and double that in 1950, in spite of increased Fares and freight charges Martin Walters' all purpose "Utilecon" vehicles were due to make an impact at the National Motor Show. It was said they were finding markets in practically every major overseas country, apart from those behind the Iron Curtain. Sadly the coach builders later lost their way some how, and now the firm has gone.
Drama as gas works repair sparks a serious flare-up

*1 THE gas works in Folkestone they

^v/^Owere still counting the cost of a blaze caused by an electric spark which set fire to gas escaping from the largest gas holder, now demolished, one Saturday morning in October. The spark came from welding equipment being used to repair the steel plating of the gas holder. Flames reached a considerable height and traffic was diverted and some people evacuated their proper ty, while firemen dealt with the blaze. Some plating was buckled in the heat but soon repaired. The town's oldest established inn, the Rose Hotel, was about to be wiped off the business map of the borough after being acquired by an adjoining firm of tailors. The inn existed before the railway reached Folkestone in the mid-1900s. Did you know a stained glass window in Brabournc Church was considered such a fine specimen it was temporar ily removed so that it could be exhibited in the First International Exhibition in Paris? Thn church also, wrote Herald writer Felix, had monuments to the Scott family, one of whom, Sir Thomas, was Commandor of Kentish forces sent to protect the ccast against invasion by the Spanish Armada.
Judge to decide blame over ‘damp’ council office block

. Q7aA HIGH Court judge was being asked to ^*7 / O settle a dispute over who was responsible for faults in the district's new Civic Centre. The first writ was issued by the council in 1971 and the bill to put things right had risen to 68,000. The main problem was dampness. A prolonged battle was going on behind the scenes to try to determine whether the architects or buildors were to blame. It was recommended the single-storey buildings be re pointed and not white-rendered like the 100ft tower block. The assistant club steward of the Red and White (football) Club was left bleeding and shocked after be was mugged by two men, all over the modest takings of 100. The steward was heard crying for help from the car park by football club officials attending a meoting. Happily his head injuries were not serious but he was detained in hospital overnight for observation. Shepway District Council recommended approval for temporary gipsy camp sites at Jury's Gap Road, Lydd and Botolph s Bridge. West Hythe, Lydd being the councillors' first choice. Protesting, on behalf of the Army, was Colonel Roger Noath, commandor of the nearby Cinque Ports Army Training area, while local home owners also mounted their own protest.

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:-