DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 8 May 2003

 

THE OLD Royal Pavilion Hotel, now site of the Hotel Burstin, looked down on this steam railway scene in sidings which used to occupy land re-claimed from the sea by shingle thrown up by heavy seas against the 'walls' of Folkestone harbour. The photograph is in the paperback book "Kent Steam," by Michael Welch, reviewed in Memories recently.
RESIDENT in Folkestone from 1909 George Macklin, who worked for Messrs Clayton, of Lyminge before the Second World War, was the son of the proprietor of a travelling steam circus/fairground which found a permanent site in Canterbury.

George, 55, of Bonsor Road, Folkestone, was killed at Lympne’s RAF airfield on August 30, 1940, along with four other Folkestone men.

\ Officially the cause of death was given as J “due to war operations.”

But there lies a mystery, as far as his grandson is concerned.

Attempting to find out more about the incident Peter Turner, who lives in Norfolk, told me he has drawn a blank - and he is hoping there is someone still alive who can throw some light upon the situation.

“Perhaps a Memories reader could, help,” he told me in an e-mail message.

Peter can be contacted by phone, on 01263 824466, by e-mail, via peterO@tinyworld.co.uk or by writing to me at the Herald offices.
George Macklin was married in 1906 and had two children, one of whom was Peter Turner’s mother. “But George and his wife separated and my mother knew nothing of her father or, at least, told me nothing,” he says.

I have consulted several books about Folkestone and the War without success, although I did wonder if a reference in the book “Target Folkestone,” by Roy Humphreys, of Hawkinge, for August 30 1940 offers a clue. This states simply:

“A local farmer was charging the public a small fee to look at a huge crater in one of his fields. By his enterprise he raised 30 shillings for the Red Cross Fund.”

But its hardly likely if five men had died in the incident which left the crater, a charge would be made to look at it, even in a good cause. The Herald report said the men were “working near a village.”

Peter contacted Folkestone Library for help and they turned up a copy of a report of the
tragedy in the Folkestone Herald, dated September 7,1940, but wartime security prevented an explanation of the cause of tragedy.

Perhaps some light might have been thrown upon this in the years after the war by which time the need for such security had gone.

In the Herald’s long out of print book “Frontline Folkestone,” published in 1945, I notice the author states: “From August 1940 onwards long range and and coastal guns were installed along the coast in the vicinity of Folkestone .... to the north of town miles of tank ditches were dug.”

Perhaps enemy planes attacked the workers engaged in this work or were simply attacking the aerodrome and the men were hit.

The funeral was at Hawkinge, Canon Hyla Holden officiating, and mourners included brothers Frank and Bert Macklin, Mrs Mount and Mrs Warman.
George Macklin’s official occupation was given as a builder’s labourer.

The RAF Historical Society couldn’t help Peter, but suggested he should contact the Public Record Office.

Other victims of the incident were Frederick Townsend, of Dover Street, Alfred George Salmon, of Linden Crescent, Mr Burvill, of Beach Street and William G. Diwell, of Walton Gardens.

Mr Townsend, who came from Sawstone Cambridge, worked as a mariner on the collier ships which sailed from Folkestone to northern ports. He left a widow, two sons and four daughters.

Mr Diwell, 56, was a plasterer who had served three years in France in the First World War, returning home without a scratch. He was in the Cinque Ports Battalion Home Guard and had been 12 years a member of Folkestone F.C.
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National accolade for local artist-a boy aged five

*1 QAOKENNETH Shoesmith. five-year-old grandson of a Folkestone trader. John Stainer, a Sandgate Road chemist, earned accolades with his art in a national competition sponsored by the Royal Drawing Society and Princess Louise, the Duchess of Argyle, who offered an annual prize for 'snapshot' sketching from memory. Her Royal Highness herself adjudicated and was impressed by Kenneth's outlines of horses. The son of Herbert Stainer, he also exhibited the previous year when he was only four. The English Channel was the scene of a variety of costly experiments to make it more comfortable to cross the busy and sometimes very choppy sea lane, with a variety of very strange-looking steam ships, making their debut including the first catamaran. For what it was worth Herald writer Felix offered the latest 'cure* suggested for the dreaded mal-de-mer or seasickness while crossing the Dover Strait. A passenger claimed success for his brainwave, which was to "breath synchronously with the rise and fall of the vessel. Felix was calling for a little judicious advertising which, he believed, would work wonders for tourism.

 
Crows blacked out homes - with barbed-wire nest!

0* QmA PAGEANT of famous women was to JL700be staged as part of Coronation events in Shepway by Folkestone Townswomen's Guilds, and one or those taking part, as Florence Nightingale, was to wear an exact copy of one of the dresses worn by the famous nurse during the Crimean war campaign. Television viewers were frustrated when the BBC dismissed hopes in the short term, of a transmitter or other means of boosting reception of programmes beamed from Alexandra Palace. That local people could pick up good pictures on three or four nights a week was only because of the quality of television sets and the skill of radio engineers, wrote the Herald editor. Meanwhile a pair of broody crows were to blame for blacking out a targe area of Romney Marsh one Sunday. A large nest consisting of bits of barbed wire and fencing wire, all blended together with grass and straw had been built in a junction box where a cable went underground to the radar station at Brookland. This was fine until it rained and a short circuit blacked out homes! Local pipers welcomed 700 Railway Clerks Association delegates to their annual conference as a thank you for a donation for drums the orevious vear.
 
Saboteurs fail to halt BBC broadcast from Folkestone

"I QOQ SABOTAGE hit the BBC's carefuly laid .L7^0plans to broadcast a concert by Folkestone Municipal Orchestra from the Leas Cliff Hall. A serious attempt was made to stop the broadcast; four radio valves mysteriously disappearing during the concert and it was believed someone had tried to tap into the line to spoil the broadcast. Urgent calls to BBC headquarters saw four replacement valves rushed across London by car and put on a train to the Central Station whore they arrived in the nick of time. With radio still in its infancy there was much interest in the event. But local listeners had to cope with interference from Morse code messages sent by shipping etc and 'howling' noises which had nothing to do with the performance of the musicians. In fact there were several calls for encores during the performance. Weymouth's loss was Folkestone s gain when Eldridae Newman was appointed the town's new Musical Director, for it was widely held that Shepway had gained "a plum of the profession" in his appointment. It seemed inexplicable that Weymouth should dispense with his services.
 
Ambitious plans to convert airfield irtoadventire centre

<| Q*7QTWENTY.FIVE years ago there were f Ohopes that the officers' mess and land at Hawkinge aerodrome might be used to create a Youth Adventure Centre to be used by youngsters from all over the country. Herald writer Barry MacSweeney said it would be "a crying shame not to convert Hawkinge airfield into a youth adventure centre.” Scouts, Guides, the police, local clergy. Salvation Army, Sea Cadets, Folkestone Youth Club, the divisional youth of ficer and local probation officer back the scheme and plans were given approval by Shepway District Council with the backing of the KCC surveyor. It was possible Duke of Edinburgh award scheme activities could be based there. Not so universally welcomed, apparently, were plans for a 6,000 'twinning jamboree,' some residents attacking the entertainment of VIPs from Boulogne at the expense of ratepayers, but it was suggested the cost would drop a great deal if local people offered to accommodate some of the visitors. Reproducing extracts from its postwar book "Frontline Folkestone." the Herald recalled air raids which killed 61 local people during the Second World War including the mayor and mayoress, Mr & Mrs G.A. Gurr.

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:-

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