Local History books

Contributed by localrags on Nov 05, 2002 - 06:18 PM

Order your Local History books here...

  • A Pictorial Study of Hawkinge Parish

  • RAF Hawkinge

  • Hawkinge 1912-1961

  • Target Folkestone

  • Kent Airfields in the Second World War

  • Images of England - Dover

  • Lympne Airfield

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A Pictorial Study of Hawkinge Parish


Roy S. Humphreys

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Kent Airfields in the Second World War

Robin J. Brooks 

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Paperback - 288 pages (September 1998) 
Countryside Books; ISBN: 1853065234


RAF Hawkinge



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Paperback (31 December, 1991) 


Hawkinge 1912-1961


Roy Humphreys

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Target Folkestone


Roy Humphreys

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Paperback ( 7 December, 1990) 
Meresborough Books; ISBN: 0948193514


Lympne Airfield

D. Collyer 

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Paperback (24 September, 1992) 
Sutton Publishing; ISBN: 0750901691


Images of England - Dover


Bob Hollingsbee 

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Paperback (1998) 

John's "over the moon" as Work begins on community centre......28 March 2002

Contributed by localrags on Nov 05, 2002 - 06:15 PM

After months of delay work has finally started on the new Village Community Centre.

The contractors moved in on Monday and although the first concrete foundations were laid today, Shepway Council had to inspect the work to give it their seal of approval.

That has now been given, and Cllr Trevor Johns and Parish Council Chairman John Heasman are happy to have the project "up and running".

If there had been a further delay, new building regulations, which come into force in April would have had to be satisfied. The cost of this could have meant the Centre would never have been built.

Cllr Johns said: "John Heasman is over the moon".

Notice boards will be erected at the site showing the artist's impression of the building.

Cllr Johns hopes for a big turnout at the Annual Parish Council Meeting on the 24th April, when Architect Roger Joyce together with Project Manager Nick Hamer from GSE will be there to speak to villagers.

Grahame Green Airfield Campaigner

Contributed by localrags on Nov 05, 2002 - 06:07 PM

Former Hawkinge resident, Grahame Green, has been trying to warn the authorities of the presence of bombs on the former airfield for more than 10 years. He has been called a troublemaker and a scaremonger, and has been indirectly accused of planting devices on the airfield himself in a bid to draw attention to his cause.

But, he says, all he's trying to do is continue his father's work by saving a piece of the historic airfield in memory of "The Few" who fought and died in the Battle of Britain.

Grahame Green's love affair with Hawkinge airfield goes back more than 30 years when he played in the disused hangars as a child.His father, Len Green, joined Brenzett Aeronautical Museum in the 1970s and took the young Grahame along with him on trips to visit the sites of downed aircraft, sparking a life-long interest in aviation history.

The family moved to Hawkinge when Grahame was a teenager. Mr Green, now 46 and living in Folkestone, recalls visiting the airfield frequently with his metal detector, and regularly discovering aircraft fragments, bombs and ammunition.

He also claims to have found remnants of an Iron Age settlement on the airfield.

When plans to develop the airfield were first announced, Mr Green was one of 100,000 people worldwide who signed a petition opposing such development.

He said: "Like many other people I regard it as a historic site which I would like to have seen preserved as a memorial to all the pilots who flew there during the war. It's also a beautiful area in its own right." In the 1980's two public inquiries were held to examine the issues but, much to Mr Green's disappointment, failed to stop the developers from moving in and transforming his beloved airfield into new housing estates.

His father supported the idea of opening a museum at the airfield in order to preserve something of the area's history and also attempted to warn the authorities of the existence of bombs on the site. But no-one listened.

When his father died Mr Green felt it was up to him to continue his work to preserve the site and warn local people of the potential danger from undiscovered bombs.

He said: "I have been out there hundreds of times and found bombs all over the place. I have reported these finds to the police and the local council, but nothing was ever done.

"I even tried to get myself arrested out there so that I could have my day in court, but I had to walk away instead.

"I have tried to warn the parish council about the danger on numerous occasions. First they told me it was the responsibility of the landowner, then they said I was the only person who was finding bombs and once they just told me to sit down and shut up.

"I have written to Shepway Council and been to see MP Michael Howard on a number of occasions. The council said it was the landowner's responsibility and Mr Howard seemed indifferent.

"At the beginning of last year, when a bomb was discovered, developers Smith Wooley & Perry said it was found on a pile of topsoil, which surprised them greatly and suggested it had been put there recently."

Over the past ten years or so other voices have joined in warning of the danger of unexploded devices on the airfield.

In 1990 David Brocklehurst, chairman of the Battle of Britain Museum, warned that the land was "peppered with cannon shells".

In 1991 RAF veteran Charles Mynard, now deceased, who served at Hawkinge during the war, said he had seen bombs falling "all over the place" and offered his services to anyone who wanted help recovering them.

In March 1999 the Folkestone Herald published a story in which Mr Green once again warned of the danger. Developers Smith Wooley & Perry responded by saying two professional surveys of the area had been carried out.

In August last year Mr Green found a further ten bombs whilst out on the airfield with his metal detector. Truck Inns director, George Mickleborough told the Folkestone Herald that the site was safe.

Asked why he thought no-one heeded the warnings, Mr Green replied: "Greed, pure and simple. They don't want anyone standing in the way of progress. "But I don't think anyone can continue to deny that there are bombs out there. "Those of us who opposed the development knew all along that the day would come and I derive a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that I was right all along.

"The next stage for me is to try and save a few acres of land either side of the museum, and if anyone out there is tough enough to help me then they're most welcome."

Hawkinge history

Contributed by localrags on Nov 04, 2002 - 02:41 PM



The village of Hawkinge known as Hawkyngge goes back to Saxon times.

Uphill became part of the Hawkinge parish on 25th March 1886 when Hawkinge merged and moved west of its original location near to the ancient church of St Michael.

Saxon Roots

To the east of the Canterbury to Folkestone road, is an early Saxon settlement, documented as Havekyng, Hawkynge or Hawkyngge.

It is on the edge of down land overlooking the Alkham Valley and medieval track ways branch out from this point.

The knight's service, and ward to Dover Castle was provided by a family who had taken their name from the Saxon founder of the settlement called Hafoc, translated as Hawk. It was Osbert de Hawkynge, one of the twenty-one knights under the Norman baron, William de Averences , who held the manor of Hawkyngge in the reign of Henry II.

The family name of Hawkings or Hawkins can be traced back to ancient manor of Hawkyngge, where their ancestors bore that name before 1154. Although there is no record which ancestor first served in the capacity of knight, records indicate the family lived there until the fourteenth century

Landscape and Agriculture

Coombe Farm, formerly known as Cumbe Manor in the Alkham Valley, still exists, but Ashill Farm, which stood o­n White Horse Hill, together with South Hawkinge Farm (renamed Uphill Farm) have both since gone.

Barn Farm, from which Barnhurst Lane takes its name, no longer exists and o­nly the pond survives today.

The parish has under a dozen farms. These are mostly arable producing cereals although cattle and sheep are still grazed.

For centuries the area was mainly woodland, but today only Reindene Wood remains.
20th Century Development

The principal landowners in the 1890s were the Earl of Radnor, Lord of the Manor, and Stephen Finn-Castle.

It is o­nly in the latter half of the twentieth century that light industry has made any impact into the agricultural background of the parish.

Village and aerodrome grew up together during the 1920s and 1930s. By 1945 the aerodrome had become a legend in military history; and along with it, the village became well known due to the role played during the Battle of Britain.

The population grew steadily, but has accelerated considerably in the passed five years due to massive housing developments.

In 1801 it stood at 91 rising to over 1600 in 1987 and doubling again by 2000.

The Village Hall

Hawkinge Village Hall was opened on 26th October 1933 the by Lady Radnor. It had cost £770. Built by Mr D Brisley and his team of local men from a design by the Architect Mr Woodgate the hall is now probably due a facelift or better still, a burial.

If you would like to know more; the book A Pictorial Study of Hawkinge Parish by Roy Humphreys ISBN 0948 19328 X is available from the publishers Meresborough Books, 7 Station Road, Rainham Gillingham, Kent ME8 7RS Tel Medway 01634 371591  or follow this link and click here

Cross on Hawkinge Airfield by Peter Smith

Contributed by localrags on Nov 04, 2002 - 02:36 PM

4th February 2002

During a walk over a part of the Hawkinge Airfield that still remains I came across a cross to one of the Pilots lost in the Battle of Britain 1940.


 I was surprised to find it still there but then where else would it be, as this was one of, if not the Fighter Station and was the closest to occupied France in the Battle of Britain.


I thought of the possibility that the remains of the pilot had been scattered over this hallowed ground, and how many other pilots remains have been scattered over the Airfield over the past years.


On this occasion the pilot was lost defending his country and missing in action.


The farmer had taken care to plough around this area, and they must have a respect for the past use of this ground.


The cross had the name of Pilot Officer K. R. Gillman and the date of 25th August 1940. I decided to check through my records to see what I could find about the pilot and that day he lost his life.Â



Sunday August 25th 1940


The bombing of London and towns in Surrey and Kent had continued until the early hours of this Sunday, giving little chance of sleep-especially among the tired pilots of 11 Group.


Some experienced day pilots had been ordered up during the night. One pilot from 615 Squadron got lucky and shot down a JU88 which crashed into the sea off Hastings shortly after 01.00am hours.


During the morning of the 25th August when fine weather covered the whole of Southern England, German Raiders tried to erode the defenders’ nerves by flying several formations at Staffel strength up and down the Channel. Only one section three Hurricanes of 501 Squadron on a standing patrol near Folkestone caught sight of an enemy formation but they were too low to engage.


It was late afternoon before a change in these tactics became evident, at about 16.00pm hours radar reported groups of enemy aircraft forming 100 plus west of the Cherbourg Peninsula which then joined with another group near Cherbourg. This brought the number of enemy aircraft about to raid to nearly 300.


Coastal fighter stations were put on standby. Tangmere, Exeter, Warmwell and Middle Wallop squadrons were scrambled in good time with orders to gain all possible altitude.


As the raiders neared Weymouth Bay they were met by 12 Hurricanes of 87 Squadron and 12 Spitfires of 609 Squadron. The raiders split up and a formation which made for an attack on Warmwell, but found their way barred by Hurricanes of 17 Squadron. Seven bombers got through hitting two hangers and the station sick quarters.


The attack on this area lasted for some time and the raiders retired to the south soon after 18.00 hours. There was to be no pause, forming up behind the Pas de Calais 100 plus raiders and six squadrons were ordered into the air over Dover at about 18.15 hours.


One of these squadrons was 32 Squadron based at Hawkinge which was beginning to display the now-familiar symptoms of over-fatigue. They were in action first, engaging a Gruppe of Dorinier Do17s marginally before the accompanying Bf 109s Fighters fell upon them.


The squadron’s loss of Plt Off. K. R. Gillman reduced the strength to no more than eight pilots, scarcely adequate to ensure the availability of a single Flight. Â

Forty-eight hours later the tattered remains of this famous squadron were withdrawn from the battle area and its commanding officer assumed control of the Biggin Hill sector.


Plt Off Keith. R. Gillman failed to return from combat over the Channel off Dover and at 19.00 hours was reported Missing Aircraft lost.


He was flying a Hawker Hurricane No N2433.


Born in Dover on December 16th 1920 he was educated at Dover County School from 1933 to 1938 and took London University School Certificate.


He was good at sport and in his last two years was a cadet in the school’s Cadet Corps. He joined the R.A.F from school, being awarded a short service commission on March 27th 1939. Â

During the Battle of Britain he served on Hawkinge Airfield Kent the closest Airfield to occupied France, and was credited his first victory recorded in combat on July 19th 1040 a ME 109 Fighter.


George Campbell’s striking portrait of Pilot Officer Gillman was used in publications of that time, the impression of the youthfulness of a vast majority of those killed in the Battle of Britain conveying the epitome of the Few’. Rest in Peace One of the Few.

A History and description of St Michael's Church Hawkinge..... Price 6d

Contributed by localrags on Nov 04, 2002 - 02:27 PM

The Church

St. Michael's stands on the hillside, high above the Alkham Valley. When built, it served a tiny parish of 500 acres which, even a century ago, contained only 27 houses and 146 people.

The Manor House, now called Flegis Court, is across the road to the east. The fold Rectory stood in the field to the north, where the remains of the tithe barn still are.

A second church, St. Luke's on the Canterbury Road was licensed for services in 1876. The present church replacing the original structure which was destroyed by fire. Much building development has moved the centre of population still further from its parish church.
The dedication to St. Michael was a frequent practice for churches perched on a hill.Hawkinige is not mentioned in Domesday, though it must be one of the five, churches there credited to the hundred of Folkestone but it figures in Domesday Monachorum (as ;Awoluescyrce), and thus probably of Saxon foundation and named after the Saxon founder "HAFOC" = hawk.

Some of the Norman work remains but the original chancel, small and square, ws widened and lengthened in the XIII' century. " It is unknown if William de Averenches damaged the fabric of the church in the 1216 spoilation, but probably, the-Nprman chancel was replaced with the 'present early English one by William de Flegh when he granted the Manor and 'Church to the Abbot and Convent of St Radigand
The Norman work which remains to be seen are the rough flint walls of the nave, the blocked West door and the inner jambs of the window above it, and the jambs of' the South doorway, with scratch dials on the East column.

The building is mainly of local materials rough flints for the most part, supplemented by Kentish rag, with Caen stone for the angles, doors and windows.

Usually, in small Norman, churches Caen stone was used for quoins, doorways and windows At Hawkinge the West doorway is framed in Kentish rag with a rough Diamond Losenge ornament, an unusual feature. The roof is tiled.

It is a plain XII century Norman Church with nave and chancel of the same width and height. To these have been added a XIV century stone porch and a modern vestry. The porch has been mended internally with chalk, and has a stone incised with a cross outside of the door.

The South door is XIII century.

In 1552, when William Mercer was parson, an inventory" of the church goods was taken. There were then two bells in the steeple so-called. Hasted describes. ."a low wooden painted turret, on the roof at the a west end, in which there. is one bell".

Glynne, writing in 1840, describes "a wooden cage for bell over the west end". The present bell, without inscription, is housed in a stone cot at the west end.

The earliest windows now existing are Early English (XIII 'century) lancets; the pair at the east end (common in Kent), are included beneath a general arch with an image bracket between and a buttress outside, possibly erected because of subsidence, of the hillside on which the church stands.

The long. lancet an the south side of the chancel is apparently a "low-side" window, said to have been used for ringing the sacring bell. The three square windows on the south are of uncertain age. The north and west lancets, as well as the low-side window, were unblocked in 1875. The glass is now all plain except the two eastern lancets, which are a memorial to the Rev. A. R. Simpson, Rector 1901 - 1928, who was a keen naturalist. The windows-portray St. Francis of Assisi and St. Michael the Archangel.
The roof of the nave is ribbed with king posts and massive tie beams.

The font, opposite the entrance is a small XIV century octagonal bowl on a similar shaft, standing on a square plinth.

The pews are modern replacing the high, panelled box-pews with doors shown in Mackie's "Folkestone" which also shows the Commandment Boards between the east windows. The Arms on the bench ends (north side) are recent; from east to west they are St. Michael, Canterbury, Herdson, Dixwell. On the north wall are the Royal Arms of Queen Anne (1713) painted on wood. Note the fleur-de-lis of France.

The text below is a recent addition. There is also a Text Board, with Isa. Chap. 55, v7, and the church warden's name (1746-8).
In Glynne's day the. Chancel roof was ceiled, with tie-beams: and framework visible, but the ceiling and tie-beams disappeared during: the 1875 restoration.

There is no chancel arch.

The screen with its doors, and lectern pulpit are in oak apparently 1875. Glynne states that there were "hideous high pews in the chancel,: especially offensive in a small church", and Mackie's picture shows a high paneled "three decker" along the south wall of the nave, between the two windows.

The pedestal between the lancets at the east end of the sanctuary was for a figure of St. Michael. In the XV century William Gebbon, in his will left three shillings, to the buying of a new image of St. Michael". Thomas Couragh, Rector 1506, left a quarter of barley to provide a taper before the same image. The present rood, the work of the late Martin Travers, is a memorial to L P Boxer 1942.
On the south east side of the sanctuary is a Piscina with; a pointed arch, the. basin projecting, and carved below into a human face.
There is a second piscina, on the eastern arm of the sedilia, and the two placinas were said to be "for rinsing of the chalice and hands respectively".

The sedilia in the south east window is rather high up for a seat and may have been a credence.Starting from 'the sanctuary, the monuments are as follows;

On the south side of the east wall; John (1642) and Alexander (1644.) .Begeant.
On the north walls John Herdson (1622.), Lord of the Manor of. Folkestone, who wished to be buried "in night tyme.privatlie, without pompe or publioks ceremonies".

He left money for "repeyringe" the chancel, and to the poor of Hawkinge;-. note the insignia of death around the monument, and the helmet (formerly gloves also) above. The helmet is of local workmanship, and was found in an obscure apartment" and restored to the church.
The Herdson monument- was erected by his nephew. Sir Basil Dixwell, and is a very meagre one, but Sir Basil was about this time spending much money on the building of Broome Hall and the, accumulation of land about it.

He lived at Terlingham, where the aerodrome now is.

In the south side of the chancel floor Wlilliam Rolfe 1710 and his wife Catherina 1717. The north side of the floor Nicholas Rolfe 1784, with Richard Marsh 1812and his wife Rachael (sic) 1845.

On the north wall of the chancel, is a Memorial on wood to H.L. P. 8oxer 1942, and bronze on marble the1914-1918 War Memorial. The brass, below is to James Smith, Parish Clerk 1898-1921.

In the east side of the nave floor the inscription is obliterated but it is said to he Stephen Hobday of Hope Farm, 1713, and his wife Susan 1706. In the-west side of the floor by the font, are. two grave stones .which have been used to repair the floor. These were to members of .the Herring and Rook families, with rhymed couplets.

The Herring Memorial reads

See here the place where Stephen Herring lies Till the last trumpet, shall him make to rise Each part of life, and, Godly period Unfolds to us that his true friend was God Erding he dide in hope to. rise again No loss to him was death but greatest gain

The Rook memorial reads

Here lleth buried Henry Rook his hope was sure Only his charity doth yet endure Both here and still in heaven even after death During love ends not with mans mortal breath After his pilgrimage having passed well We may conclude that he with Christ doth dwell.

On the north wall is a marble memorial to the Rev. G, S. Elwin, Rector 1B72. On the west wall is a brass to James. Kelsey 1879, who left a. legacy of £.400 for the poor of the parish, ."irrespective of religious belief". On the south, wall is a wooden memorial to Mrs.' M,. J. Simpson, 1942, who left a legacy of £500 for the poor at Christmas

The inventory of 1552 describes the hangings as "few and poor", and states that nearly all the vessels mere of copper or latten (brass). The church possessed one chales of silver parcell gilt weyinnge by estymacion six ounce, which was later sold to William Nethsrsole for 40s. Od. to enable the church to be repaired, and another chales of silver weighing by estimation six ounces. The present chalice is an Elizabethan cup and paten, cover.,. of;1565-6, and marked HAVEINGE. It has a ball-shaped, bowl and one belt of foliage, and together the cup and cover stand 5 1/2 inches high and weigh 7 1/2 ounces. This chalice much resembles those at River and Temple Ewell with the same makers mark, an animal's head between i.C. The paten now in use is inscribed; Given by .James Burvill to the parish of Hawkinge 1714.

The registers date from 1691, but the Diocesan Transcripts begin in 1560. From 1642 to 1662 they are blank.

From.XV century wills it is clear that the medieval church contained an altar, to St. Margaret.

The living was given, with the Manor, by William de Flegh (on St. Margaret's Day, July.18th 1275) to the Abbot and. Convent of St.Radigand, which is three miles to the N.E., who appointed the incumbents until the dissolution. Then the gift passed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and so remains. From the beginning of the XVII century, Hawkinge was generally held with Folkestone until a separate Rector (Rev, G. S. Elwin) was appointed in 1851. He lived in The Firs, the old rectory being in ruins. In modern times there was no parsonage house until one was built by the Rev. William Legg by the main road in 1876. This was bought oh his retirement by the Rev. A. R. Simpson, and a new rectory was built nearby in 1932/33.

The list of Rectors begin in 1303.

The Parish

The Manor of Hawkinge alias Fleggs Court, by which latter name it is usually called, was anciently held of the barony of Averenches, or Folkestone, by the service of one Knight's fee, and ward to the Castle of Dover, by a family who took their name from it one of whom, Osbert de Hawking, held it, in manner as above mentioned, in King Henry II's reign, of William de Albrincis. (Albrincis is the Latin form of Averenches).

William de Averenches was a descendant in the female line of William de Arques, Lord of Folkestone, who was Sheriff of Kent in 1131. In 1216 King John came to Folkestone and on May 21st, Louis the French Dauphin, landed at Stonar and "took all Kent save Dover". John fled to Winchester. In the Register of the Abby of St. Radigand we read that in 1216 "when Lewis reigned in England", this church of HAVELCYNG was spoiled by William de Averenches, Baron of Folkestone, who stripped it in such a manner as to deprive it unjustly of all his tenants with their tithes and oblations and he made them by force and compulsion give their ; oblations four times a year in his hall, before they should go to the Priory of Folkestone*; after which he, with his armed followers, plunderers the bodies of the dead. This was an act of revenge he had supported the Barons in their revolt against King John,, whereas, the men of Hawkinge had helped to defend Dover Castle against them. And he further "gave" the Church to the Prior of Folkestone 'without the consent of the lawful patron, in which the Prior was confirmed by the Pope.

After this the Hawking family ware extinct here the Manor came into the possession of the Fleghs, in which it continued till the reign of Edward I in the 23rd year of which, anno 1275, William, son of John de Flegh, gave ."all his .manor in the hundred cf Folkestone, viz. in Hawking and Evering together with the church of HAVEKING; to the Abbot and Convent of St. Radigand" at which time the mansion of this manor had acquired the name of Fleghs.Court. A later Abbot paid 40s. Od. to the Knighting of the Black Prince from a farm in "HAVEKYNG" called "Flagges Court".

During the Primacy of John Stratford, 1334 1348, Richard de Ivyngho Rector of HAWKYNG, was cited to explain why he had caused a dovecot to be built in the churchyard on the sits of the "vestibulum" or Church porch.

In 1511 people complained 'that the Prior of Folkestone had withdrawn: certain householders from; the parish of HAWKYNG, by which the church is likely to decay (i.e.. for lack of their contributions, where local; resources were always very limited).

At Archbishop Parker's visitation In 1573 the church lacked a "Paraphrase of Erasmus" (i.e. of the Holy Scriptures), "in the church wardens, only defaulte, for their parsona hathe one of his own and is contented to yelde his parts thereof to' the use of the Church". But also, "they lacked one of their quarter sermons in defalte of the parson". Hawkinge, a borough of the hundred' of 'Folkestone, Seemed always to have been a poor and lonely place, and the church is described by Hastsed as "meanly, built".' He says "the parlsh" is but little known, having: hardly any traffic through it". The name in ancient records is written "Hawkyng"

In tho eighteenth century it was, vulgarly called "Hackinge" Somner spells it "Hawking" "The Manor of' Hawking •alias' Flegh's Court". A fair used to be held on the 10th''October, a statute fair for the hiring of servants.

Compiled, 1968

Sources. Ancient Buildings of the Folkestone District.. Archaeologia Cantiana Hasted. History of Kent. Testamanta Cantiana (under Hawkinge). ........ Glynns British Churches. Mackie, Folkestone Rev. H. Brown. History and Description of St. Michael's Church Hawkinge.

Dramatic Crash Landing at Hawkinge Airfield

Contributed by localrags on Nov 04, 2002 - 02:19 PM

Jan (John) Goulevitch, DFC 460 Squadron

Jan Goulevitch was posted to 460 Squadron at Binbrook on 2 July 1943. He completed his 'Tour' (30 sorties) in Lancasters while he was with 460 Squadron.

John Goulevitch had a few mishaps during his stay with 460 Squadron but his first and most eventful was on his first mission with his new Squadron to Cologne in Germany on 3 July 1943.

He took off for the mission at around 2316 hours.

His Lancaster was hit by at least 6 shells which penetrated the fuselage in a number of spots cutting control lines for the trim tabs for the ailerons. The aircraft was flying below the level at which the flak shells were set to explode, hence the flak shells pierced the aircraft without exploding. One flak shell took the propeller off one of the four engines. Another engine was hit, lost its oil and seized up. One of the other four engines started over-revving and could only be run for 10 minutes at a time to prevent overheating. This left only one healthy engine out of four and one that could only be used for short durations.

One of the other flak shells went through the aircraft a few inches to the left of where John was sitting, while another went approximately 18 inches on the other side of him where the Flight Engineer would normally be standing. Fortunately he was standing further back in the aircraft at the time. Because of these particular hits the aircraft became extremely cold and breezy.

Due to the combination of the loss of three engines and the loss of the aileron trim tabs, the aircraft became extremely difficult to fly. In fact John had to push hard forward on the control column and have the Flight Engineer practically sitting on his back to get enough pressure on the control column. He also had to have the column rotated almost fully in one direction and one of his rudder pedals pushed in to maintain a reasonable flying attitude.

The Lancaster was at approximately 20,000 feet when it was hit and was down to about 5,000 feet over Paris. John asked the crew to get ready to bail out but they all indicated that they would stay with the aircraft if he was going to.

Once this was established, John ordered the aircraft to be lightened by ditching any unnecessary equipment. This included the oxygen tanks, the bunk, guns, ammunition, any loose fittings, and also the parachutes.

While crossing the French coast, the aircraft was attacked by an ack-ack barrage. John ordered the Wireless Operator to fire the colours of the day, which was enough to confuse the German gunners and allow them to get out of harms way.

The aircraft was down to about 300 to 400 feet when it crossed the English coastline between Dover and Folkestone.

John called "Darkie" over his radio. "Darkie" was the equivalent of today's "Mayday". He established contact with a WAAF wireless operator at Hawkinge airstrip in Kent and located the red beacon marking the airstrip's location. When he told the WAAF that he was in a Lancaster, she directed John to continue on to a larger airstrip, as Hawkinge field was only a very small airfield for Hurricanes and Walrusses. John said he could not go any further and the WAAF pleaded with him to go on to the next strip. He told her he intended to land and she started to cry. Hawkinge airfield was not flat and in fact was shaped like a saucer with a big dip in the middle.

At 4 a.m. in the morning, the light from the Chance light made the field look flat and John did not allow for the dip.

He lowered his wheels and started his sick engine. He could not use his flaps.

The Lancaster hit the ground hard and bounced in to a potato field after ripping off both wings. Before the aircraft stopped shaking from the crash, there were fire hoses in the already open hatches and the face of the base doctor peering in.

The only injuries were a slight bump of the knees on the dashboard for John and a bump on the head as the Flight Engineer hit the roof on the initial sudden impact. Later on they found out that they had bounced over the top of some fuel tanks located at the end of the airfield.

The crew did not get an opportunity to have a look at the aircraft in daylight as it was placed under close guard.

About the Hawkinge Gazette (Localrags)

Contributed by webmaster on Nov 04, 2002 - 10:57 AM

Established in its present form in 2002, the Hawkinge Gazette (Localrags) is an independent online newspaper/blog, which aims to provide the people of Folkestone, Hawkinge, Dover and East Kent accurate news about local events and issues.

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Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News 'Cookies Policy' and 'Privacy Policy' - updated 25 May 2018


A Walk into the Country -Early 1900

Contributed by localrags on Nov 04, 2002 - 10:29 AM

Let us start our journey from Folkestone at The Imperial in Black Bull Road.

First, Styles the Ironmongers, then Taylors the Chemist, Carden's the Butcher, and on up passed the School to the Black Bull. Call in where you can get half a pint of beer for a penny.

Then on up Wingate Hill, passed Wingate Villa and Walton Farm, later known as Walton Manor, up to the Chalk Pit and Grannie May's House, where you could get a bottle of "pop" for a penny.

On again to the Cross Roads, Crete Road East and West, where on the Hawkinge side stood the Old Tollgate House occupied by a Mr. Marsh.

The gate was not being used then. Down the hill now known as Palmer's Hill, where lived a Mr.Darrington famous his number of white-ducks.

Over the crossroads at Alkham Valley and Cheriton Bottom, on to Coombe Cottages, being the cottages of the Farm Workers.

Along the road to the White Horse Hill, which at this time was very steep.

On up the hill to "God's Providence" three cottages. Push on to the next place, a farm in the occupation of a Mr. Nutley, with a dairy, his son Charles living next door.

Then the Butcher's shop, the owner Mr. Welch, whose son still carries on the business.

Next the Old Forge, no longer being used. Then to the White Horse Inn Occupied by a Mr.William Bridges. Here a pint of beer tuppence, a large biscuit and cheese. The biscuit as large as a tea plate and a good piece of old Dutch cheese for a penny.

These biscuits were made by a Mr. Hart who had his Bakery by the shop in The Street.

Still on the road passed the New Forge and houses in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Harris, then on to Prospect House occupied by Mr. Hobden, a Sussex poulterer.

Then on to Uphill House, the home of the Castle family.

On the opposite side of the road a small building known as the Reading Room, the Club Room of the Cricket Club.

Then Shrubbery Cottages, a row of cottages for the workmen on the Farm, as well as a private house known as "The Myrtles".

Over the road to St. Luke's Church, which was later burnt down and replaced with a new Church.

Down the road to the entrance to the Old Rectory, built and occupied by the Rev'd William Legg, the previous Rectory being at Church House, Hawkinge.

Then to the Corner House, where lived a Mr. Tucker, Wheelwright and Carpenter. Here is Mill Lane, where lived a Mr. Laws, who was noted for a large number of flowers, including some splendid cacti.

Now eight houses built by a sister of the Revd. Legg. Then the School and School House.

Next we come to the Post Office, with Mrs Beddingfield the Postmistress; Mr. Beddingfield being the verger at the Church as well as School Attendance Officer.

Down the road to Radnor House occupied by a Mrs Gilbert who ran this house as a Guest House.

Then to The Street corner, where stands the Corner House, the home of Mr. T. Hogben, a Veterinary Surgeon.

On the other corner stands "Ivy Dene", known earlier as "Forstal Lodge" . Here the Revd. Palmer lived for a time, and did, I think, at one time preach at the Chapel in the Street.

Let's walk up The Street now, where we find the Chapel and Shop, and then Hope Lodge. At one time it was a Post Office, but I cannot remember this as a Post Office.

On to the Maypole which before the time of which I am writing, was the Maypole Inn. Opposite was the Village Green, where I remember a Fair being held.

On the corner where Mill Lane meets The Street was a farm belonging to a Mr. Hills May, a farmer and coal merchant.

On the opposite side of the road were two cottages in the occupation of Mr. Kember and ex-Constable Ross.

On then to Millfield Farm, up on the left to Fernfield Farm and Hawkinge Brickyard, which is over the border in the Parish of Alkham.

Away from Millfield Farm around the lane to Stombers Lane, known at this time as Stormberg.

Then on along the lane to Cowgate Farm, the home of a Mr. Prebble.

Now we come back to the main road, and on to Mudsole Farm, the home of the Taylor family.

Up the hill to Reindene Lodge, Rose Cottage and St Deny's, later the home of Francis Cross.

Around this time Thrift Cottage was built, the home of a Mr. R. Ellen.

On then to Southend Cottage, passed the "Black Horse " and "Black Horse Farm" ,

Lodge House, Red House, and on to Thorndene House, the present home of Dr. Osborne, and at one time the home of a Mr.Iverson, a well-known grocer, who had a business at the bottom of Dover Street, Folkestone.

Between Mudsole and Reindene Lodge is the boundary of Hawkinge and Swingfield.

Back now to the Street, where stands a Mr. Haydon's cowsheds," and on top the surgery of Mr Hogben, the Vet.

Then three cottages known as Ivy Cottages. Next is the Chapel and then the General Shop.

Stombers Farm, where I was born, is in the Parish of Alkham, and we couldn't get to School until we moved to Hope Lodge in the Parish of Hawkinge.

The Headmaster later on was a Mr. Cripps, with Mrs Cripps and Mrs Perrigoe teachers. Earlier than this was a Mrs Smithers who was Head at the School.

Well, I do sincerely hope that this is not overdone, and that some one somewhere will find it is of some interest, and that it shows how much the place has altered over these few years.

I have done my best to give a picture of the Village.

H G. BRISLEY Aged 83