Hellfire Corner filmed by Pathe Gazette cameraman Pat Gay
( Click on link to watch film clip )
“WAR IN THE AIR”
Our heavy bombers returned to France on Saturday night, to attack railway targets at Aulnoye, on the French side of the Franco-Belgian border. An important junction and railway centre on one of the main routes between France and Germany, Aulnoye also joins up with a main line running to the industrial area round Lille and on to the Channel ports. Sergt. R.E. Fittall, of Dover, rear-gunner in a Lancaster, who saw the last of three explosions when 100 miles from the target, said : ‘There was practically no opposition: just a little gun fire. We didn’t see any fighters, although half a dozen flares were dropped when we crossed the enemy coast.’
(Dover Express and E.Kent News 31st March 1944)
Dover’s highly-rated and sensitive radar station at Swingate in the Second World War, showing two distinctly separate sets of pylons, the right-hand set appearing, perhaps, to include some dummy masts to confuse enemy bombers set on destroying them – which they failed to do. Note the protective barrage balloons flying towards the centre and on the extreme right. The view, apparently taken on 29th April 1941, appears to have been photographed from the sea, showing the cliffs and some of the foreshore between East Cliff and St Margaret’s Bay.
The old Covered Market building The old Covered Market building was in the Market Square, with Dover’s museum above until it was badly damaged in the 1939-45 war, as shown here. The market stood on the site of the old gaol, sometimes seen in early paintings and engravings of the square. The town bought the site in September, 1837, for £555, a new market being planned in place of the old one under the former Guildhall in the middle of the square. The estimated cost of a covered market was £3,000, the building to extend through to Queen Street. Tenders came from ten builders — two from London — but all were above the architect’s estimate, so it was decided to abandon Caen stone and some ornamental work. This reduced the lowest tender, from George Fry, to £3,448, and that, with the £555 paid for the site, was the final cost.
The nucleus of the museum’s once very large natural history collection was gathered at great cost by Edward Pett Thompson, mayor of Dover in 1836 and 1838. Old carved wooden pillars, joists, beams, the fire bell, and a drinking fountain from the old Guildhall were said to have been preserved. Some of the pillars were placed in the museum. After the Second World War the museum was re-established under the Town Hall, in Ladywell. On the left of the picture is a corner of the former Walmer Castle public house and, on the right, a glimpse of the former Prince Regent pub, which was demolished when the present museum was built.
Towards the end of the War: A policeman with bicycle and a soldier survey the damage caused by the last shell to land on Dover, signifying the capture of the Cross Channel Guns on the French coast. The property devastated was the old umbrella shop which stood on the corner of Church Street and Castle Street, close to Pickford’s offices.One of a series of 45 photographs lent by Mrs Sylvia Corrall, Reference Librarian, Dover Public Library.
The picture shows war-damage at the corner of King Street and Flying Horse Lane, looking towards Bench Street and New Bridge. Note “Bata Shoes” and the LOOTING warning sign, bottom left.
Photograph of a Dover war damaged site several years on — at Stembrook in 1947. The picture was featured in the Dover Express, which published a series of similar photographs showing bomb and shell-damaged sites, where demolition and re-building was badly needed to deal with the distressed state of parts of the town.
War devastated Grand Hotel, just off the seafront, facing Granville Gardens, with part of Liverpool Street (now incorporated into Townwall Street dual carriageway), taken just after the war. On the left is a glimpse of the even more seriously damaged Burlington Hotel, resulting from cross channel shelling and bombing.
AN UNUSUAL WARTIME VIEW
of Dover seafront and the inner harbour with Shakespeare Cliff in the distance. The photograph is believed to have been taken by Major Rex (Reginald) Puttee of the Royal Artillery who had enlisted in the 54th Anti-Aircraft Brigade of the Territorial Army, and was called up in the Second World War, in 1939, and commissioned as a lieutenant. He was based at the Citadel Battery, Dover, and was able to take a series of pictures with his own Leica camera and this is a picture he lent the Dover Express after the war. He later became commander of the battery and on promotion to Major took charge of the Breakwater Battery. His work included maintenance of the cross-Channel guns ranged along the cliff-tops and was involved in such major tasks as fitting new barrels to the ‘big toms’ which each weighed several tons and involved two rail-mounted cranes. Here an engineer is believed to be sighting a new piece of apparatus designed for the defence of the town and port. In 1990, 50 years after the war the Major’s photographs featured in the fascinating book “Britain’s Frontline Town Dover,” published jointly by Buckland Publications Ltd and Dover District Council, at a modest £5.95. In his foreword to the book Rex wrote “the collection is my tribute to the people of Dover who carried on without complaint as far as I am aware, at whatever the enemy threw at them…. I knew and worked with many wonderful people and it was my privilege to serve with them. My tribute extends to all who served in an around Dover.”
In Union Road (now Coombe Valley Road), 1940s:
Just down the road tragedy may have struck in a Second World War shelling raid, which destroyed homes in nearby Randolph Road, but here, opposite Buckland Hospital, children play on as usual. When the Dover Express, looking back 50 years later, asked if anyone recognised the youngsters there was a prompt response from Bernard Sedgewick, then 65, a former scaffolder, of Elms Vale Road. “I was the boy wearing a cap by the lamp-post in the picture of Dover’s wartime children playing at a street corner which was featured in ‘Memories,’ in last Thursday’s paper,” he wrote.
“At the time we lived at 158 Union Road,” (now called Coombe Valley Road,) said Bernard who would have been five or six when the picture was taken. Albert Bonnage who wrote to you is my cousin,” said Bernard. “In the pram is Maureen Reed — now Mrs Cattermole, of Chestnut Close, Elms Vale. And at the back, standing at the door is her grandmother who was one of the victims later when an air raid shelter was blasted in an air raid.
“I believe, he said, “that several members of the family were killed in that tragedy. The boy in front of the pram, wearing wellies is Maureen’s brother Martin and, holding his hand is either Dorothy Wenborn, who lived close by, or a Gamble, whose father worked as a gardener at the hospital.
“I believe Mrs Cattermole’s uncle, who is about 90, has the original photograph,” he said. “We always used to play around that lamp-post.” Bernard, like his friends, went to St Radigunds School.