Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 20 March 2003


FOLKESTONE & District Local History Society’s next diary date is April 2, 2003, when Bob Ogley, former Kent newspaper editor and now author of a series of books recording- historic county events, will be the speaker. The Society meets at Holy Trinity Church hall, in Sandgate Road, at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. New members and visitors are welcome. More details about the Society’s meetings this year can be obtained from the secretary, Peter Bamford, on 01303 223337.
Michael Renteii ba, of Folkestone, who is secretary of the Airship Association, was very interested to read the recent references in Memories to airships flying over Shepway, from the First World War onwards.

“There are several stories of Zeppelin airships flying over Folkestone. I heard from one sage, that St Martin’s Plain camp, in Shorncliffe, was bombed by a Zeppelin in the First World War, but I have never been able to find any confirmation of that.

“I wondered if he was confusing the Gotha bomber aircraft raid in 1918, which struck the railway station and Tontine Street.

“Those planes came in from the west and would have flown over Shorncliffe first.

“Concerning the airship sightings, I am somewhat surprised by your correspondent reporting that the Hindenburg ever flew over any part of the United Kingdom. There was a standing order at Zeppelin, in Friedrichshafen to avoid this, particularly as Britain was so anti-airship after the loss of the British R-101 in October 1930,” Michael told me. And he added:

“What is generally not known is that there were two airships of the Hindenburg class. The first, built in 1936, was the Hindenburg, serial number LZ-129. After a very successful trans-Atlantic season that
year it underwent a refit during the 1936-37 winter and began its second season in May 1937, when everything went so tragically wrong at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

“There were actually 97 on board, of whom 62 survived and 35 died, plus one American ground crew man - and two dogs. A 64 percent survival rate in a modern aircraft disaster would now be called a miracle. Hydrogen, although not now permitted in airships, is not so bad as it has been painted.

“The second of the class was LZ-130, which received the name Graf Zeppelin.

Radar probe

“That was unfortunate for historians because there was already a Graf Zeppelin in service (LZ-127) but that was in regular use on the South America service. LZ-130 was commissioned after the loss of the Hindenburg and never went into airline service.” And, from what Michael says, this may have been the airship Herald and Dover Express readers report seeing. He explains:

“It was commandeered by the Nazi high command and completed a long sortie along the English Channel and up the North Sea in 1938 manned by naval signals personnel. It was carrying out a secret reconnaissance programme directed at investigating the fledgling radar stations along England’s south and east coasts.”
letter from Andrew Beale, who is researching his family history and wonders if any reader can help him. He says his greatgrandfather was a military man, Regimental Sergeant Major Beale, who was discharged from the 19th Hussars on completion of 22 years’ service.

Mr Beale says he has a press cutting about Major Beale leaving the army, from the Folkestone Herald, but unfortunately it is not dated. “It mentions a farewell concert in the Sergeants’ Mess, and that songs were contributed by Messrs Howard, E. Turner, and Sergeants F.C. Turner, W.
and Bromage. The toast was proposed by Troop Sgt Major Chislett.”

“The following morning, a Saturday, my gt-grandfather was leaving his quarters for the railway station in a cab. But the vehicle was stopped and, admidst cheering and good wishes from nearly 600 non-commis-sioned officers and men, he was dragged in triumph through the camp to the station! The date must be between 1903-12.”

Mr Beale can be contacted on 01946 824543. I discovered the 13/18th Hussars were stationed locally in 1928.
Spy in sky

‘Gallop’ hopes for Cherry Gardens Avenue dashed

f Q/VJ FOLKESTONE was about to get an I/O attractive asset in the form of a tree-lined Cherry Gardens Avenue upgraded to an 80ft wide thoroughfare, thanks largely to a gift of land by Lord Radnor. Final discussions were taking place leading to the widening of the road. But hopes were dashed that it might be even wider, with a continuation of the 'gallop' being constructed at the foot of the hills by the Earl, ft would have required a 100ft wide strip of land to creatc a gallop for riders along a reservation in the centre of the highway, which some had hoped for. However, declared the Herald, the town should be grateful for an 80ft wide amenity, which would be "magnificent advertisement" for Folkestone. The council had been opposed to meeting the extra cost of ii 100ft wide strip of land. A brass tablet memorial to Capt L.A. North and men of the 3rd Shorncliffe Company Mounted Artillery, Bugler C Chequers {Buffs), Privates G. Ansell (Buffs), Dyer (Royal Sussex), and F Huggins (Royal West Kents), was due to be dodicated at the Camp Garrison Church by General Franklyn, Commander of the 5th Division Second Army Corps.

High key plans to boost Coronation festivities

ii ncOSUCCESSFUL Folkestone Motor Cycle .LUOOClub, with 60 odd members ana all set to organise a motor cycle gymkhana as part of the district's Coronation celebrations, was opening a new improved racing circuit on the Western Heights, offering the prospect of some attractive summer race meetings. But there was more to the club than racing and it also planned a special road safety display and treasure hunt, together with a Concours d'elegance' at the Folkestone Cricket Ground. An appeal went out from the Chamber of Trade to Folkestone traders for help to fund Coronation struct decorations on town lamp-posts. Hillside Secondary School was renovating a memorial plaque to boys of the former Dover Road School who fell in the First World War and school Head W.A. Parks was appealing for help in restoring the full list of names, those of three soldiers and one marine having, through the years, become indis^ tinct. Local people were mourning the death of Miss Isabel Divers, of Newingreen, believed to be the country's only woman haulage boss with as many as 20 vehicles. Aged only 47 she took over the running of the business from her father Thomas when he died 22 years before.
Town sreyhound racing plan -with 60 meetings a year

m QOQTHE Folkestone Greyhound Racing Co ^/&Otook a large advertisement in the paper giving a full prospectus of its plans for a track at Cneriton under the guidance of Lt-Colonel Jack Robert Yelf, of Banbury, a well known breeder of greyhounds, as Managing Director of the kennels and training. It was proposed that in the first year there could be 68 race meetings, with the somewhat 'ambitious' forecast that there would be an average attendance of just over 3,100 punters at a meeting and a capacity of 10,000. Company secretary was Basil Ninnes, of Radnor Chambers, Folkestone, and share capital 6,000, divided into 120,000 shares at one shilling each. A large airliner, "Normandy" was forced to land in a field midway between Hythe and Lympne on the old Lympne road after engine trouble while flying over the Channel. The aircraft was badly damaged but the eight passengers escaped injury. The pilot flying very low, appeared to line up the aircraft as though to land at Lympne airport but hit the ground and ran for some distance over a ploughed field.
Falling standards blamed on size of school classes

•f Q“70 SIZE of school classes was being ^*7 f Oblamed for falling academic standards in the district's schools, while teaching staff, experts and parents were divided over the question of behaviour and discipline. Some parents doggedly insisted that the use of the cane in schools deterred unruly and violent behaviour. At Hythe there was controversy over the danger of powerboats, following a plan: to use the fishermen's beach as a launching point for these craft. Worried parents pointed out that families from all over the district used the beach, the comings and goings of fishing boats being just one of the; attractions, and one councillor, at least, pointed out the danger of powerboats to swimmers and other boat users. On the soccer front Neil Cugley took a step nearer his ambition to play Southern League premier division football when he gave notice to quit Folkestone to sign on at Margate for a 3,000 fee. New Folkestone Society proposed a compromise development of about 28 maisonettes and two flats on part of Langhorne Gardens. Plans by Lord Radnor for a higher number of homes, it was said, would be visually detrimental and destroy nearly all the

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