Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 6 March 2003



HERALD reader Stan Houghton, of Silverlands Road, Lyminge, is one of several people who have contacted me by e-mail or letter about recent Memories references to a German airship appearing over Channel ports just before the Second World War.

“Reference the airship questions in your column on Jan 30 and Feb 13,” writes Stan, “I saw it over Folkestone from the bottom of Shellons Street — where the roundabout is now.

“Almost overhead, it was going’ roughly north — towards the viaduct.

“I have had confirmation that it was the Hindenburg. By chance, last night, I saw a documentary on the Hindenburg disaster. It went on its maiden flight in 1936.

“It caught fire on landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6 1937. The whole scene was covered by newsreels — I think they said two thirds of tho passengers and crew survived.”

Stan, who left Dover Road School aged 14, in 1934, and used to live first in Victoria Grove and later in Cheriton, says the Hindenburg documentary was repeated on Tuesday and he recorded it.

I found a dramatic photo of that disaster in a mighty tome I was once given as a Christmas present - “20th Century Day by Day," a lavishly illustrated Millennium edition of Chronicle of the 20th Century,
In Abyssinia Italian troops sent in by Mussolini, head of a Fascist empire, were alleged to have caused widespread horror using mustard gas.

Meanwhile, in Palestine, Arabs and Jews were slugging it out. In Spain, Fascists sparked a civil war. Russia was in turmoil and a firing squad executed 16 of Stalin’s opponents.

And it could have been worse - in Japan an Army coup d’etat collapsed, its leader surrendering as the Imperial Guard surrounded a thousand young officers.

But at least Jesse Owens made his mark for the West in the Nazi Olympic Games that year winning his legendary four gold medals!

Next to contact me was Doreen Tindale,
first published in 1995 by Dorling Kindersley Ltd, of London, and subsequently reprinted a number of times. It has over 1,550 pages!

An account of the explosion, which followed a thunderstorm as the airship came in to land, said that 33 of the passengers and crew were killed.

1936, which was when several readers told me they saw an airship over Folkestone and Dover, and outlying areas, was a difficult time for world peace. The Nazis invaded the Rhineland, on the orders of Hitler.
Mustard gas
CHERITON: A tranquil scene at what is today an extremely busy junction, not far from a modern superstore. The picture postcard view dates from nearly a century ago. Shown to me by a Folkestone local history enthusiast the picture depicts an early open-top car with solid tyres, heading in the Ashford direction.

of Sturdy Close, Hythe, who told me:

“I saw the Zeppelin fly over Folkestone. At that time I attended St Mary’s School. I was, as far as I can remember, walking down Dover Road on my way back to school after ‘dinner.’ I was opposite Hook’s the chemist, near to where Usher’s florists shop is today.

“Everyone just stood still to look. Even now I can remember the feeling of fear and amazement. As I remember, the Zeppelin was flying right to left, as I faced down the road, over the school and on towards Dover.

“I also remember seeing the Blackshirt symbol carved on the hills - and being very surprised that it could disappear so quickly!”
VIDEO feature maker for television, Barry Fletcher is appealing for volunteers willing to be interviewed about their memories of Folkestone, its harbour, Leas etcetera, from the 1920s onward, for a planned feature film. Barry, of Hawkinge, is producer/director for MVS Productions, and can be contacted on 01303 892830. He is also on the look out for cine film footage taken in Shepway which could be used in the documentary. The offer of one piece of film at least has persuaded Barry and his production team to go ahead so, if you have a story to tell, what about it?

Dramatic scenes as storm sweeps Channel coastline

•a EARLY March saw tie Channel coast

^^sUOhit by another storm and Herald writer Felix wrote "Looking seaward nothing could be seen through the dim light but countless galloping 'white horses' coming towards the shore," as heavy seas swept Folkestone pier, rebounding to throw up majostic columns of spray. Gazing out of a storm door "seething, boiling water could be seen as the crew and 30 passengers on steamer Princess of Wales prepared to sail. As she nosed out into ‘broken water' the Princess was repeatedly hidden by foam and spray sweeping her from stem to stern and it seemed at first as tho' she must he forced back, but man and steam were slowly conquering." This was the daily scene, but for once there were no mishaps worth rocording. At Hythe the horse-trams were sus pendod for a time as tons of water swept over sea defences "Waves rolled in with such force it seemed at least part of the town must be engulfed. Water thundered against foundations of buildings and walls, spray rising to enormous height being swept sheer across the roofs of houses." Flood water was up to knees of horses hauling local buses but their drivers pressed on.

‘Witch-hunt’ fear stalls move to ban ‘Commies’
a qpaA MOVE to bar communists from hold •L/Oi3ing office on Folkestone Trades Council failed when tho transport branch of tho Transport and General Workers' Union moved to exclude communists or fascists. It was feared this would lead to 'witch hunts' like those of the USA's Senator McArthy which caused a storm attracting world headlines. Voting was 32-16 against the motion. The Herald had a photo of ex King Michael of Roumania at Lympne airport when he left the UK for a holiday in Franco. Hum of electrical transformers in Shorncliffe Road area was bad enough 50 years ago to win a rate reduction for at least one property in the street at a valuation appeal. A Railway and Traders conference in London was told of the restoration of a fast train service to Folkestone, taking 80 minutes, following postwar renovations. Restrictions on national power consumption meant that plans for decorative street lighting during Coronation festivities in each town had to get Ministry approval and Folkestone's plans were approved subject to the supply of technical details, the Town Council heard. Work was under way on extensive sea defence improvements at Sa
Greyhound racing plan with track off Cheriton Road

*1 QOQ'FROM Pit boy to World's Jester: Harry JL/^OLauder tells his life secrets in The Sunday News - laughter, poverty, thrills, friend of lungs and queens, adventure, tears, world-famed, ho sits down to tall his story - 'Roamin in the Gloamin' - the most gripping human story ever revealed exclusively in the Sunday News. Tins was the flavour of one of the largo advertisements, with a photo of Sir Harry, the entertainer, in the Her.ild 75 years ago. On another page there was a diagram of a planned Cheriton Road greyhound stadium adjoining Danton Road and a report of a presentation to legendary Hythe and Kent cricket star A.P.F. Chapman, one of over 60 Mackeson's brewery staff at the firm's annual dinner. The gift marked his departure from Hythe and his active contribution to sport in the town, including both cricket and football. A Herald photo illustrated the changing shape of the coastline and particularly Shakespeare Cliff near the old Channel Tunnel workings where there had been a major cliff fall, carrying away part of the cliff path and leaving a massive pile of debris at the foot of the cliffs about 150ft wide.
Government cuts put back road plans 50 years - claim

• Q^QURGENTLY needed Shcpway town .L*7 * Oand village bypasses were set to be delayed for up to 50 yoars, it was feared, duo to Government spending cuts. The shock claim was made by the British Road Federation at a conference in Tonbridge attended by a hundred representatives of local authorities, industry and road user groups. The federation said around 20 important schemes in the county were unlikely to start before the mid 1990s. A report warned the delay could have a serious effcct on industry commerce and agriculture. Because of cutbacks it was feared the A20/M20 trunk road to Folkestone, set to become the main artery to the Channel ports, might not be completed until 1985, although work on completing a three-lane motorway between Ashford and Folkestone was all set to go ahead. This included a Cheriton bypass. The Federation also criticised severely sub standard routes to both Folkestone and Dover harbours which threatened to seriously overload the M2/A2 motorway route. Meanwhile, a councillor complained rising bus fares were tho ‘dead hand of restriction' on local shopping cen tros, Cllr Win Pine called for a flat rate system to help those living in outlying areas.

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:-