DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 16 May 2002

Battle crew
BRIAN Morrish, of Calgary Crescent, found a photograph of the one-time Royal Navy sloop "Folkestone" and some of her crew, in a 10-volume set of books "The War Illustrated," which was published after the Second World War, and he wondered if any seamen from the Shepway area were serving on her.

Unfortunately the caption does not state when the picture was taken or where the vessel was serving at the time, saying merely that the "battle-hard-ened crew proudly boast of having the finest set of beards that have gone to sea in this war!"

Other pictures include one of a big gun which fired salvoes of shells at Channel ports from the French coast. Another is of a military camp, which appears to be St Martin's Plain, Folkestone, there is a view of shells falling on the town taken from across the Warren, and one of a harbour pier pillbox being demolished for postwar reconstruction.

Another photo featured a Spitfire shooting down a Messerschmitt which nearly hit the harbour pier.

Also on the subject of war (with apologies to those folk who prefer to forget them!) I have received a letter from Alfred T. Wright, living in faraway Tutbury, Burton-on-Trent, who tells me he served in the RAF Regiment at RAF Hawkinge during the war.

"In late 1944 or early 1945, I was in Folkestone when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (our sadly departed Queen Mother) came to meet the local people and nursing personnel etc, at the Folkestone football ground,

"I had stood at a corner of the road near the ground when the Royal car approached.

"Standing to attention I saluted the King and he returned my salute!
"A proud moment in my life," writes Alfred, who is now aged 90.

"I then went to the ground and took a close interest in what the Queen wore, to tell my wife. The Queen Mum was in blue, of course!" he said

But what Alfred wanted to know was the week this happened.

Well, happily I was able to write back straight away and give him the details.

I happened to have on loan a Memories reader's copy of the Folkestone Herald's postwar paperback, "Front Line Folkestone - The Story in pictures of Folkestone's Ordeal during five years of War."

Long out of print, the book - minus its cover unfortunately — is owned by Bob Cork, father of our Sports Editor Mick Cork. Thanks Bob!

He lent it to me after I mentioned in Memories that the Herald office only had a photocopy of the book, which many readers have told me in recent years they would like to see reprinted.

Sadly the Herald has none of the original pictures or negatives in its office files. I wonder if anyone else does?

Heroine in nightdress

Turning to page 58 I found a picture of King George VI chatting to a Civil Defence nurse during the visit to the Channel ports, on October 18, 1944. The visit followed the capture of all the enemy guns on the French coast, which ended the shelling ordeal of the Channel ports.

On another page the King and Queen were shown at the front of the football ground pavilion, the King saluting all the Civil Defence service personnel he said he was honoured to inspect during his visit.

No doubt they included some of the local heroes he had decorated for their brave exploits in the
I HAVE been having trouble down-loading my e-mails at my home since May 3 and would like to apologise to anyone who has been expecting a reply from me or my wife Kathleen. We know there are 20 odd messages mounting up that we cannot get access to, although we can still send e-mails.

Possibly the first of the backlog of messages is too long and is blocking up the system. If a message includes a large picture file this can sometimes stop us downloading them!
BATTLE-hardened crew of the Navy’s HMS Folkestone proudly boasted of having the finest set of beards that went to sea in the Second World War it was stated in the book caption to this photograph.

course of the long 1939 to 1945 war.

One of the heroines had been Mrs Annie Williams, aged 52, who lived in North Street.. She was a widow with two sons serving overseas. She received a Commendation from the King, which was published in the London Gazette.

An ARP warden, she had turned out wearing a Civil Defence overcoat over her nightdress during a heavy big gun bombardment, on the night of September 1, 1944, when two houses were demolished in the Fishmarket.

She clambered over rubble and wreckage to search for and comfort survivors, despite sustaining a nasty leg wound in the process and the fact that the bombing continued as she went about her work

- as no doubt did many other rescue workers.
IN MEMORIES on May 2, I put the names of those in Alan Taylor’s picture of a diver (above,) on the old Victoria Pier, in the wrong order, although Alan gave me the names correctly. Alfred Pace was on the left, then comes Chief Petty Officer A. Jackson RN (with white sweater), Capt Lawson Smith the diver and George Fenton is on the right. My apologies to the Pace family and to Alan Taylor!
 

Court room worst in the country says the Herald

t HAO COURT rooms have changed consider-.L7V/^ably since 1927 when Folkestone's “Palais de Justice." as Horald writer Felix called it. was possibly the worst in the country - according to him. Nowhere in the country he believed, did witnesses have to be urged to speak up so often, when giving their evidence, the acoustics of the room were so bad, when there was the noise of passing traffic, whether buses, motors, or one of the old open-top charabancs, just outside the window. What a contrast to the historic court room at Dover where one could hear a pin drop, wrote an exasperated Felix, who was no stranger to court reporting. A century ago the town's amusements season had begun with band concerts given by the "Brescians" at the old Victoria Pier, and by the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers at the Leas bandstand, with more to follow organised by the town's Amusements Association. But our writer Felix was lamenting the fact that for the working classes the holiday season itself did not begin traditionally until August — a time when "daylight hours were shortening and green foliage would soon be turning to russet tints.” he said.
 
Appeal for more men to try their hand in drama group

tf QQ7 EFFORTS were being made to form a local I amateur dramatic society, but there was a difficulty - all but one of the would-be founder members were women, presenting some difficulty staging many well known plays! Always fascinated by windmills and watermills I was sad to read of the collapse of one of Folkestone's oldest landmarks, the old mill which adjoined a miller's house, at the rear of Messrs Cam-bum, the builders premises at the junction of Foord Road. Dover Road and Bradstone Road. The whole of the gable roof on the northern half of the miller's house felt in. Did you know the bells of Folkestone’s parish church once rang in honour of a double success on the race course of one-time local MP Baron Meyer de Rothschild? The town was excited at the news he had won both the Derby and the Oaks and. so great was the enthusiasm the bells were set ringing - ostensibly because it was the Queen's birthday! Whether or not the Vicar received a sweetener, Felix didn't seem to know, but a Folkestone Chronicle writer had suggested the Baron might follow the example of sportsman Henry Chaplin, who sent his local vicar a cheque for 500 for church work after someone enthusiastically rang the bells of a village church without his consent!

 
Ex-Simon Langton teacher new Harvey grammar head

| Q pa CYRIL Ward B.A., Vice-Principal and _L9senior lecturer in history at the City of Worcester Training College, was appointed the new head of Harvey Grammar School in succcssion to Mr 0. C. Berthoud. One short of 160 people applied for the post. Mr Ward was for some time a teacher at Canterbury's Simon Langton School for Boys and accompanied teams coming here to play against Harvey Grammar. Wilfred Beazley. a workman who was buried and injured when a sewer trench he was involved in excavating collapsed on him. was awarded 1,600 damages, after a court in London heard there was some permanent disability. The accident was at St Martin's Plain. Cheriton, in 1949. There were said to be 250 items on the agenda of the 55th annual five-day conference of the Railway Clerks' Association held in the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone! This later became the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association. Another 150 delegates were booked in May for a convention of the British Furniture Manufacturers' Association at the Grand Hotel. A party of nearly 200 young men and women were to visit Middelburg, in Holland, for competitive events in a variety of sports being held over several days, together with dancing, in July and August.
 
10,000 local appeal marks Queen’s Silver Jubilee year

| Q“7“7SHEPWAY was planning to support the JL7 I I national appeal marking the Queen's Silver Jubilee by raising 10,000. The appeal had been launched in April by Prince Charles. A design for a floral carpet on the Leas as part of the local celebrations was revealed by the Herald with a drawing, incorporating a crown and sceptre, a royal coach, the dates 1952-1977, and the Queen's signature, '‘Elizabeth R.” A collecting box at the finished garden would aid the appeal which was to help young people to help others. One of the biggest fund-raisers of the events planned was expected to be a competition with a car as first prize. June was to be the peak month for events but there was such a heavy programme celebrations were expected to overlap into 1978. Attractions were to include a medieval banquet at Lympne Castle and the lighting of a giant beacon at Lydd. Late manager of the Carl Rosa Opera Company, John Edmund Jarratt, of Ingles Road, Folkestone, was urging more support for the Leas Pavilion Theatre which, he said, must be one of the most attractive of provincial theatres surviving. But he had some scathing remarks to make about some “rubbish” shows put on in Folkestone and some “ghastly productions by repertory companies.” He feared for the future of the old Leas theatre, he said, which was why he appealed for support for a new ali-the-year-round programme that was planned.

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