Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 14 August 2003


BELOW: Veteran former railwayman Dennis Stone (see story below) showed me this Dover Road School photograph of a group of boys from the school who visited Ashford Railway Works with Headmaster Mr Blunt about 1947 and watched railway engineering craftsmen at work. That was not long before Dennis left school and began his railway service. He named Johnny Hazard as being on the extreme right, with Smythson next to him, while Dennis himself is third from the right.
RETIRED railwayman Dennis Stone, 70, of Cheriton, is keen to find out what happened to a gleaming silver model of a steam locomotive, named after railway magnate Sir Eustace Missenden, which was presented to Dover Road School years ago.

“I worked on the railway all my life, so it is of special interest to me,” he told me.

Sir Eustace Missenden joined the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company in 1899 and in 1949 became chairman of the nationalised railway executive.

Dennis also brought in to the office two photographs of classmates at his old school. One is of Class 4T in which he appears along with other boys who, for a large part of the Second World War had no school to go to, because most of the local schoolchildren were evacuated to Wales.

For a short time some classes were available, organised by St Saviour’s and then, in the latter part of the war St Mary’s School opened with classes for the youngsters left in the town together with those who had drifted back from South Wales.

But there is no doubt about it, he said, that for at least 42 boys he knew of, who were left behind in the town when their classmates were evacuated, their education suffered badly.

A man with vivid memories of the Second World War when youngsters like him wandered about where they liked among damaged properties and even in restricted areas where they could be in danger,
Dennis told me how they would shin along a water pipe to reach the end of the old Victoria Pier on the seafront.

That was the only link between the seaward end and the shore after decking was removed to prevent its use by any invading force that might arrive in Great Britain.

Dennis also told me how easy it had been during the Second World War for him and his mates to creep on to the RAF fighter airfield at Hawkinge and chat to the fighter boys as they rested between missions.

They used to take the pilots billycans of tea and bread pudding, he said. The airmen, in turn, would give them souvenirs in the form of pieces of perspex from crashed aircraft, which they could carve into various things, like a crucifix.

V2 memories
He encountered tighter security, he said when the Battle of Britain memorial at Capel was officially opened, in recent years. Dennis suffers from angina and tells of the trouble he had getting to the opening ceremony together with an elderly woman passenger he gave a lift to.

Although he had an official pass, the car parking marshals kept waving him on, away from the entrances nearest to where he wanted to go.

And Dennis was not slow to tell one of the “brass hats” at the ceremony how much easier it had been to get into the Hawkinge fighter base in wartime!

His memories also include the time a V2 wiped out the bottom of Bridge Street up
to Denmark Street. His family lived at nearby Greenfield Road and his mother had been extremely worried that he might have been hurt, he said.

“That was the second close call for me,” says Dennis. The previous occasion had been when the top of Archer Road was damaged in a raid. Again his mother feared for his safety.

Peter Turner, of Norfolk, whose mother was born in Folkestone, was delighted with the results of a recent appeal in Memories for information about a wartime tragedy at Lympne airfield in the Battle of Britain period. That was back in May.

One quite unexpected result was that Peter was presented with some First World War medals which had been earned by his grandfather, by Percy Mount, a former neighbour of the family. But Peter is left with a bit of a mystery on his hands.
Information obtained from Air Ministry Records by Peter gives the number of civilians killed by a direct hit on an air raid shelter at the airfield as six, including his grandfather George Macklin.

Previous information he had been given, noted only five people killed. So who was the sixth man? Peter can be contacted by e-mail on Peter Taylor is looking into the possibility of a memorial stone in the graveyard.

Aviation historian Roy Humphreys, of Hawkinge, believes the tragedy on August 30 may have been caused by a delayed-action bomb going off. “These were always a danger to anyone working on an airfield.

“Civilians were brought every day from Folkestone to fill-in bomb craters and generally tidying up after the August 15 raid. The airfield could only be used for emergencies,” he told me.
Silver riddle
Compiled by Bob Hollingsbee

Camp a quagmire as bad weather hits Volunteers

,f CkftQ "CANVAS City," was the name being ■LS/vFOgiven to Shorncliffe Camp where 10,000 volunteer soldiers were undergoing compulsory training. The encampment was one of the largest ever seen at Shorncliffe, stated the Hernia. Sadly, the camp was hit by some of the wettest weather for some time and, although the local trade generated was very welcome, some parts of the Plain becamc a quagmire with the movement of horse-drawn and other transport. Revelling in fine weather Herald man Felix said tea in the gardens of the Sailor should be recognised as a top Folkestone attraction. Researcher A. Randall Davis writing about the origin of the 700 skulls and other human bones in the Crypt of Hythe parish church, told of a similar collection once held at Folkestone's parish church. He also referred to a recent find of human remains in a good state of preservation in the old churchyard of St Nicholas, behind the Hythe School of Musketry. These had been added to those at the parish church. "The church fell into decay before the Reformation, so these burials must have taken place some 400 years ago," he said.

Blessing the Fisheries a major event at the port

(i QCO AN ESTIMATED 5,000 people gath-ered for tho traditional Blessing of the Fisheries ceremony at the Fishmarket on Seafarers' Sunday, when young and old took part in a procession through the streets to The Stade, which was suitably decorated for the occasion. The Bishop of Stepney, who gave the blessing, had for a 'pulpit' the back of a fish lorry - provided by fish merchant Mr Goddard. Conditions didn't favour competitors in the Billy Butlin's Channel Swim Race ail seven entrants having to abandon their bids, but Billy Butlin did award cash prizes to all seven, ranging up to £500, for some gallant attempts. The previous week Egyptians added more successes to their tally, setting up records for a relay race and a solo swim from France. Hythu Town Council outlined a plan which would enable council tenants to buy council houses. The council also decided to oppose KCC plans to promote a Bill which would mean the town's water company being taken over by the Folkestone Water Company. Some 600 members of the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, from the Midlands, were holding their annual camp at Lydd, alongside the A.A. Command School of REn/IE.
Big attraction in town -gramophone concerts!

*1 QOQTHE PRINCE of Wales passed through .LU^OFolkestone harbour to join others making a pilgrimage to First World War battlefields and was photographed by the Herald as he walked from nis train to a steamer. The same day the Duke of York paid a visit to public school and other boys camping at Jesson. between Dymchurch and New Romnoy and took an active part in events, acting as starter, pistol in hand, for the sports. You can hardly credit it today, but 75 years ago people were flocking to gramophone concerts. In Folkestone these were staged by Murdoch & Co, music shop owners, in conjunction with recording company His Master's Voice, at the Town Hall. The 'recitals' were held throughout the day and evening, drawing large audiences - predominantly of women. Local fishing families were mourning the death, at 88, of William "Billy" Spearpoint, of Saffron's Place, a real Folkestone character who had at one time practically run the Fishmarket in his capacity as a fish salesman. In his time as auctioneer he sold thousands upon thousands of catches of fish, worth many thousands of pounds.
No dice for casino idea at redundant Town Hall site

A 0*70 WITH court sittings about to be JL«7 I O switched away from the Town Hall to a new court complex councillors were looking for new uses for tho building and one idea, to build a casino on the site, horrified local residents, who cried "No dice!" A council management group favoured selling the building to make up nearly £6,000 in lost rent from the courts. Shellons Street drill hall site was also on the market and some councillors felt the area was ripe for redevelopment. Ex-Prime Minister Edward Heath opened a newly renovated station on the Kent & East Sussex Railway at Wittersham Road, 25 years ago and met a group of Harvey Grammar School boys from Folkestone who spent their spare time for 18 months working on the railway. They got a special thank-you for their efforts from Ted Heath and, standing beside a station barrow they had restored, were soon getting his autograph! Former Folkestone photographer Graeme Fuller, who once did work for the Herald, was shining as a windsurfer and there were high hopes of his qualifying to take part in the world championships in Mexico. Local rivals at that time were Barry James, Phil Coull and Chris Leonard.

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:-