Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 5 June 2003



BELOW: The crew of the “Mary Ann” about 1914, with Capt Wood, who is at the wheel, third from left. The name is just visible, inscribed on the wheel. The photo is from Christine Cook, who named the others pictured as mate W. Milton, E. Hart, Allen, A. Moore, Clark and Cummings. The other picture shows Marcia Louise Cook when she served aboard the “Malcolm Miller.” She now boasts an able seaman’s certificate.
CAPTAIN William Stephen Wood, once the Folkestone master of at least a couple of sailing ships which used to sail to the Channel Islands, Scandinavia, Flushing, Newcastle and Murmansk, to name but a few ports, was the grandfather of “Memories” reader Mrs Christine Cook, of Foreland Avenue, in Shepway.

Memories of the captain came flooding: back to Christine over a number of weeks thanks, she told me, to interesting photographs in “Memories” of the harbour and old sailing ships.

The old pictures reminded her of lots of
things her grandmother used to tell her.

“My grandma was Mabel Florence Wood, the sixth and youngest child of Captain Wood and Mrs Elizabeth Ann Wood (nee Hall.) She was born at The Stade, Folkestone, in 1894, in one of the old houses, No. 6, which was right by the waterside,” said Christine.

Young Mabel would eagerly await the opening of the old Swing Bridge to let the ships into the inner harbour alongside where the Hotel Burstin now stands.

“Then she would run along to meet her Dad, who captained several ships in his time, including “The Luz,” and “The Mary Ann.”

On one long voyage to Murmansk he took with him his only son, young Bill, who was only about 12 years old.

“Young Billy could never forget the ‘below-freezing temperatures’ of that journey,” she said.

“Capt Wood was away from home on one occasion, for two years in Canada, helping the War effort for the Government.

“The “Mary Ann” was a Brigantine, built in Sunderland in 1870 and registered at Folkestone in 1894, the same year as Grandma Mabel was born.

“Grandma’s brother Bill Wood was a for a time a ship’s carpenter and later, a house and boat builder, constructing several houses around Stelling Minnis, including
“Orchard Villas” and the “Former Bakery, ' as well as in Elham.”

Curiously, said Christine, the love of the sea within the family seemed to skip a generation, as only two of Capt Wood’s thirteen grandchildren seemed to have a liking of the sea. These were PCs Stanley and Will Maycock. Keen swimmers, one swam in a Channel Relay swim team, the other was a former president of the Channel Swimming Association.

Operation Ulysees

“However, two of Capt Wood’s great-grandsons have earned their living at sea -first cousins Capt Colin Wood (retd), of Walmer, formerly of the ferry St Christopher and other cross-Channel ferries; and officers Paul Wood, of Bossing-
ham. currently with the “Pride of Calais.” "Ut the great-great grandchildren of Capt Wood, so far it’s the young ladies “going aboard” — Paul’s eldest daughter, Amy Wood works as a stewardess while taking her degree course.

“My own daughter, Marcia Cook enjoys yachting,” said Christine. “She has sailed on the “Sir Winston Churchill” sail training ship and also its sister vessel, the “Malcolm Miller - and is a Royal Naval Reservist (communications.)

“She works full time for HM Customs and Excise in various departments and has crewed ‘RIBs,’ launches and cutters.

“Recently she was one of 12 crew who took part in ‘Operation Ulysees,’ with five other EU nations on Mediterranean Patrol,” she said proudly.
T radition

Mayor reveals a threat to assassinate the Queen

1QnOALDERMAN William Salter. JR. who JL^UOwas mayor when Queen Victoria visited Folkestone in 1898 9 revealed how security was put on full alert that year after an anonymous letter warned there would be an attempt on Her Majesty's life. Mr Salter, with 27 years of public service behind him, was being honoured with a public thank-you for his work by the Town Council. At a ceremony in the Tuwn Hall, the alderman, in failing health, was presented with a fine oil painting of himself, as tributes came from all sides of the chambor. Mr Salter who Ciime to the town about 45 years before, said the letter had been received by the Chief Constable on the eve of the Queen's departure for Franco. It was taken direct to Parliament and every step was taken to protect the Queen both on her journey to the port and while she was in the town. Every yard of the railway track from London was protected. He also told how an attempt to de rail a royal train on another occasion was foiled when the Princess of Wales came to England from Copenhagen. A metal obstruction had been |il,n ed on the tracks, but was spotted and removed in good time.

Co-operation averts clash threatening Venetian Fete

a qm FARMERS on the Marsh were fighting JmijOO plans to allow Silver City Airways to acquire 83 acros of farmland on Romney Marsh for an airfield. There was a round of street parties in the district as the nation celebrated the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. More than 500 delegates from all over the country, as well as Canada and the Colonies attended the annual conference of the Royal Institute of British Architects at the Leas Cliff Hall, with lectures, a conference, an outing to Canterbury and tours of the county. In Hythe they were celebrating the fact that with the Cooperation of Folkestone Regatta Committee a clash between events had been avoided with a change of date for the Regatta to July 15. Had this not been agreed there would have been a clash caused by revival plans for Hythe Cricket Week, in August, incorporating the annual Venetian Fete, on the Royal Military Canal. The Herald published a photo of the first "Man of Kent" steam train to run Irum Folkestone to London. One man who travelled up on the train was Cllr H.G. Taylor, who served more than 48 years on the railways, over 30 of them as an 1 iver on the London route.
Town welcomes a Calais party of 2,300 strong

n<)Q FOLKESTONE entertained 2,300 >L7210 excursionists arriving from Calais in two specially chartered Channel steamers, the Engadene and Invicta. They spent a day in the town as part of a major French event, laying a wreath at the War Memorial, and touring local attractions, while Calais Town Band entertained by giving a concert on the Leas. Senior members of the party were guests at a civic luncheon at the Grand Hotel. St Martin's Church. Choriton was seeking help to acquire a church hall where young people could have club meetings, and where social meetings and concerts might be organised. The hope was that this could serve as a memorial to the late Rector, the Revd G.A. Lewis, the cost being estimated at "well over 120!" Musicians using Folkestone maker Alfred Dixon's violins, exact reproductions of Paganini's famous "Joseph Guarnerius" instrument of 1737 and the "Messiah Stradivari," of 1716, won four first and four second prizes in musical festivals in Chatham, Hastings, Folkestone and the Kent Festival, adjudicators remarking that their superb tone was like that of the original instruments.
Horrific port tragedy cost life of talented policeman

• Q^QSURGEONS battled for nearly seven JmSj I O hours in a vain fight to save the lifo of Detective Sergeant Charles Brisley, 47-year-old father of two teenage sons, who died after having a leg amputated. The Special Branch detective sergeant had been crushed under the back wheels of a transporter lorry and dragged 30 yards in a horrific accident in the marshalling yard at the harbour. He had earned conimenda tions five times for his work. For 43 years Etchinghill had a village shop, a great favourite with children - until competition from town supermarkets, it was claimed, forced it to closc. The picturesque property, said to have been built in Tudor times was one of the most photographed in the village, with heavy beams. Antique Models, a nationally known railway enthusiasts' model shop in Hythe, was an old property due to come down to build an improved through road for the town to save the ancient High Street shopping centre from from ever growing traffic. Another four business premises were also affected. Horse riding enthusiasts were being blamed for leaving open farm gates which allowed farmstock to escape and also dis turbinq sheep about to have their lambs.

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