DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 13 December 2001

Note from Bob. John Punnett died in 2003 soon after celebrating his 100th birthday.

 

 

MORE Memories readers have contacted me about the devastating war damage at Saffron's Place, Folkestone, in the Second World War. One who got in touch via his son who sent an e-mail message asking me to ring him, was John Punnett. At 98, he is the oldest Memories reader I have spoken to!

John lives in Downs Road, Folkestone, and still makes two shopping trips a week to Sainsbury's supermarket, although these days, he tells me he doesn't walk there any more, he goes by bus!

The son of a Folkestone fisherman John says he knew Saffron's Place very well for a very good reason - he was born there in 1903!

He says the family lived for a while at 2 Rosemary Villas, Saffron's Place, but the rent was too high, so they moved to l\lo. 3 Saffron's
Place where the rent was five shillings and three old pence (about 26p — but worth a lot more in those days of course.)

He too was bombed out in the Second World War, while living at Grove Road, in November 1940. He moved to Downs Road, and has been there ever since and has been very happy there -for over 60 years!

I interviewed John two years ago when he told he still drove a car he had then, and reckoned, with a bit of luck, he could probably climb to the top of Caesar's Camp!

A man with a remarkable memory one of his earliest memories was of watching the planting of a special oak tree in Radnor Park over 90 years ago as part of Empire Day celebrations.

John, who used to be a confectioner and tobacconist in Greenfield Road, also distinctly remembered seeing the devastation and great loss of life and injuries caused by the bombing attack on Tontine Street in 1917, having been one of the first people on the spot after the raid.

Began work at 13

He worked for years for confectioners A Pain & Sons, of Dover Street, starting at the age of 13.

I featured a picture of him outside the shop at the age of 19, in Memories, in January 1999.

John has one son - another John - several grandchildren and several great-grandchildren for good measure.

On the subject of Saffron's Place, author Roy Humphreys, of Hawkinge, dropped me a line to tell me that there is a photograph of war damage in the street after the shelling of November 1942, in his book "Target Folkestone" on page 108. This came from Alan Taylor.

The extensive shelling of Dover Street, Saffron's Place, Clarence Street, Tontine Street
and East Cliff, South Quay, he says, resulted in 20 casualties and considerable damage to homes.

"Police and ARP reports of the incidents were so numerous and complicated no clear understanding of the extent of damage sustained was ever made in official documents," he told me.

Writers Martin Easdown and Linda Sage, of Seabrook, who have just produced the Folkestone Local History Society booklet “Folkestone Under Water," told me the Saffron's Place shelling incident is detailed in Martin's book "Rain, Wreck & Ruin" which incorporates a
MURDER, romance, and smuggling stories are among subjects covered in a new book on Capei being launched on Saturday, December 15 in Capel church hall, in Albany Road, from l-4pm. There are 159 photos and it costs 7.50.

Capel Council produced the book, written by Susan Lees, of Alkham, with the help of Harold Francis, Aian French, Martyn Halls, Keith Hartridge, Bill Heath, Cherry Leppard, Olive Mann, Barry Mansfield and Rob Wray.
pretty full list of properties damaged in Folkestone during the Second World War.

"As regards Saffron's Place No.s 3-18 were destroyed by a shell which fell on November 9, 1942, while No. 19 was badly damaged and later pulled down. However, No.s 1 & 2, built in 1899, survive - the only houses in Saffron's Place."

The remainder of that road, says Martin has been swallowed up by the new houses which make up Harbour Way (formerly Dover Street.)

Several other readers also contacted me so I shall return to this subject again later.
ALAN Taylor, of St Michael’s Street, Chairman of Folkestone Local History Society lent me these pictures of damage in Folkestone in the Second World War - Saffron’s Place, above and Bennett’s Yard bottom left, both referred to in Memories on November 22, by Mrs Eileen Rees of Hythe, whose family lost their home in the 1942 shelling.
 

Harvey old boy gets VC for bravery in South Africa

*1 QHi HARVEY Grammar School was .L9U -L singing the praises of old boy Lieut W English, serving in the Scottish Riflos, who had just been awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery in South Africa. A company working to reach the vast reserves of coal known to lie deep under the surrounding countryside was reported to be having cash flow problems amid speculation over sales of shares in the exploration company, but the Herald reported that the boring of shafts was still underway at Shakespeare. Other profits of doom were predicting that the Folkestone Council would never go ahead with plans for a tramway in the town in conjunction with the Cheriton council, but the Herald warned that the Councillors would have egg on their faces if the money spent promoting a Parliamentary Bill had all been in vain. The town Council was pledged to the hilt to carry on with the plan, wrote the editor, adding that there was a time limit it which to make a start. Powers could lapse if they did not act in the very new future and Cheriton councillors urged action soon.
 
Popular move to invite Prince to open the Leas Cliff Hall

>1 QOCTHE HERALD backed a growing local lobby that the Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne should be invited to open the Leas Cliff Hall. Another great talking point in the town was the cost of building new houses in the district, with all kinds of figures being banded about and even claims that trade unions were making it impossible to build homes at reasonable cost by restrict ng bricklayers in the number of bricks a day they should lav. It was alleged that in a magistrates court a bricklayer said he laid 350 a day but, under cross-examination, agreed he could lay more. But if he did would be in trouble with his union. He also agreed some men could lay twice that number, and some many more. It was also revealed that demands for locally made bricks was exceeding supply, partly because of demands by the contractors building homes in the Kent mining communities. Popular Herald man "Felix" was writing with enthusiasm about a rare tradesman, a one-man industry. "Jimmy' Hams, who ran an old established business making clay pipes in a tiny 'factory' in Bridge Street. The bearded voter an beqan work at ten and still made pipes at 76!

 
Bus fares facing second rise after wage increase

m QE'I BUS FARES, which were increased J.99.L five months earlier, were set to rise again in the Shepway area, following a now wage award, if the application being made to the licensing authority succeeded. An arbitration tribunal award upped wages of drivers, conductors and garage staff by eight shillings a week while holidays with pay were increased from 10 to 12 days a year plus six bank holidays. This would increase the East Kent bus company wages bill 60,000 a year. Local fishermen were worried because their nets were filling up with an 'invasion' of pilchards instead of herrings which, they said, went elsewhere when pilchards appeared in large numbers. Pilchards were of very little commercial value, compared with herring. Diary writer "Townsman" commented that some strange things were happening with movements of fish in the Channel and even the experts were baffled. The Herald commented that the local coastline was being greatly changed by sea defence works, in the form of vast concrete aprons, which were wo 11 advanced in the Warren, to stop erosion and a new access road was approved.
 
Biggest ever porn ‘seizure’ from lorry load of steel

| Q^fiWHEN Customs officers at Folkestone / O searched a lorry coming into the UK by ferry they discovered what was described as the biggest haul of pornography ever detected being smuggled into the country - over 10,000 books, 2,000 magazines and 600 films, which would have fetched nearly 70,000 on the black market. The load came from Ostend in a consignment of steel. The 40 year old British lorry driver was jailed for 18 months. Two crew members of a 30ft British yacht missing in the Channel were presumed drowned after a full scale search, led by Prince Charles in the minesweeper Bronington, failed to find them. What they did find was wreckage from the yacht "Scamperor," sailing from Newhaven to Rotterdam. It was feared the yacht was run down by Channel shipping. Folkestone Arts Centre was anticipating future difficulties due to the economic situation posing a threat to future grants and membership of the friends organisation down from 850 i i IHGb to little more than half that. A challenge went out to 2.000 odd people in Shepway in arts and crafts. Art director John Eve-leigh urged more to back the friends group. The Herald said they could not afford to lose the centre

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