December 28th, 2011
From Dave Skelly:- I wonder if you can help me with, what is turning into, a rather tricky quest.
I am trying to locate pictures of the RAF station that used to be located at the top of the Newmarket’s High Street. The station had its main entrance on the Dullingham Road and I believe it to have been a telegraph routing centre.
When the station closed in the early 70’s the flag was presented to my Grandfather Flt Sgt Jim Lennox. Do you have any information, photos or memories of the RAF station other than RAF Newmarket Heath?
No known photographs but see November 3rd, 2011, entry below. Can anyone help? (webmaster)
December 16th, 2011
This tribute to the work of NLHS member Tony Pringle comes in a letter (see below) he received from Mike Mortlock (an ex-pat.)
Tony runs his own Memorial website www.undyingmemory.net and has spent many dedicated hours tracing lost records of casualties of two World Wars, so that they may be remembered and included on the local Roll of Honour. He has also had acknowledgement from the office of the Cemetery/Memorial: United Kingdom Book of Remembrance, Berks.
Dear Tony, Yesterday I received a Christmas card and letter from my good friend and fitful correspondent, John Hubbard of Worlington—included was a recent clipping from The Newmarket Journal, entitled, “Three Young Lives Cut Short by War.” I found the article intriguing as the subject matter concerned three local lads who were lost whilst serving with the above-mentioned infantry unit.
As I am a military historian who has had two works dealing with the 1/5 Suffolk in the Great War published, the piece was of much interest. My father, Private Jake Mortlock, and his pals served with “D” Company. Private Tim Burlham of Newmarket was one of Dad’s comrades—he was also the founder-member of the notorious Black Ace Gang, the scourge of shopkeepers and bazaar merchants wheresoever they were stationed! Following the War Tim became a driver for the Eastern Counties’ Omnibus Company and sometimes used to drop in to see Dad en-route to Mildenhall.
May I say how much I applaud what you are doing, knowing full well how much of your own time you must devote to such a worthy enterprise. Thanks—and keep up the good work!
November 13th, 2011
from Joan Westbrook (née Holloway) :-I would like to purchase your book about the bombing of Newmarket on the 18th of February 1941. Could you please give me an address where I can send a cheque for the purchase of one.
My brother was the three-month-old baby Peter Holloway who was so tragically killed in the raid, Peter was born on the 18th of November 1940, I would like to be able to have a copy of the book (that I have just found out about) by his birthday if at all possible. Sorry it is short notice. .Yours sincerely
Another tragic story from the bombing. A copy of the book has been sent by post to Joan by our Treasurer. We hope she receives it by the birthday anniversary of her young brother (webmaster).
November 6th, 2011
It was nice to see NLHS getting a two-page spread in The East Anglian Daily Times on Saturday 5th November. This should give a further boost to the already excellent sales of the ‘Bombing Book’.
Special congratulations to Sandra Easom who put much effort in editing and getting the book produced and also for providing the newspaper with the material for the article.
This can only enhance the public image of our Society. Regards to all, Rodney Vincent
November 5th, 2011
From NLHS member Tony Pringle.:-I seek information: Three of the Polish soldiers buried in Newmarket Cemetery were drowned on 1st September 1943 when their tank fell off a bridge into a river. I think it was near Barton Mills. Can anyone shed any light on this. I am just completing a booklet concerning all the military ( all nationalities) graves in Newmarket Cemetery which I hope to place in the Cemetery Office and with the Town Clerk.
November 3rd, 2011
From Les Morrow :- Serving in the RAF in the late 50s-early 60s I and others had access to the old camp on the Woodditton Road and on leave and off duty weekends we were always welcome. Most of the guys and WAAFs there we knew on friendly terms, some of the lads played for ‘the Jockeys’ in those days and also in the Cambs Midweek League against the Fire Service and Police. Can you direct me to a website that might have details of the short history of the camp, its almost as though it didn’t exist. Thanks
The entrance to the camp was opposite the Cemetery on the Dullingham/Woodditton Road in what is now Fairlawns Road. Les adds the guardroom was on the left and just further in the Sergeants Mess and HQ buildings. The main signals centre was in the middle of the current estate at the top of Fairlawns Rd. Living accommodation backed onto the Dullingham Road behind a Flint Wall and the camp fence.
The C.O. was a Flt.Lt Peter Woods whom I first encountered as a Junior Accounts officer when I was at RAF Waterbeach. We nearly always got home for Xmas leave and the highlight was the Christmas message that got sent all over the globe – each station adding their contribution, some of which were memorable!! I spoke to Fred Claydon 2 weeks ago and the RAFA used the Sergeants Mess and the old NAAFI until the lease ran out. (webmaster)
October 28th, 2011
From (Mrs) Sue Westwood who lives in Hereford and requested the purchase of our new book sent by post.
Very many thanks for sending me the book The Bombing of Newmarket so promptly. The whole thing made fascinating reading, but my primary purpose was in connection with a bit of family research, and I was very interested to find references to my cousin-once-removed, Queenie Kerry who sadly died when one of the bombs landed on the Post Office.
The first-hand testimony of Mrs Julie Ransome on page 56 was quite stunning – how tragic that the width of a Post Office counter meant the difference between life and death! If any members of the Local History Society would happen to have any further information on Queenie (maybe even a photo) I’d be very pleased to hear from them. Once again, many thanks for such a prompt service. Best wishes.
October 22nd, 2011
From Michael Tanner (01529 306453):- I’d be grateful if you could post a request on your site for any relatives/descendants or anyone with knowledge of the following two Turf figures to get in touch with me with regard to my current historical project:
- The jockey WILLIAM SAXBY who died in 1924
- The JC Judge C E ROBINSON of Lincoln Lodge c1899-1918.
October 9th, 2011
From Tom Hickman:- I am interested in finding out something about Major Vernon Daniell who, I believe, lived at Moulton Hall or House in Newmarket up to his death in the 1960s. He was a well-known plantsman who laid out gardens at several stately homes including Anglesey Abbey. If you have any information, or suggestions where to look for it, I would be very grateful.
PS The Bury records office and the RHS Lindley Library have nothing
October 8th, 2011
From Tony Pringle :-Maybe you have heard of a Blenheim that crashed near Kentford, October 1942 Lt Norenius, South African Air Force buried in our cemetery (Newmarket) was reported to have died in Blenheim BA724 at Kentford (614 squadron) That is according to Hamlin, but I cannot find details of the crash. Any idea of any surviving native who might know something?
September 6th, 2011
Regards,from Andrew Martin:- I was really interested in the articles on Icewell Hill that I’ve just found on the NLHS website, having discovered that some of my Newman relatives were living there in 1891. The census folio seems to state that they (and a few other families) lived in what looks like ‘Trevethams Cottages’ on Icewell Hill. Does this mean anything to you? Was Trevetham the name of the terrace or perhaps the owner?
No trace of any name like that in Newmarket in the 1936 directory.the most comprehensive list of hose names we have (TP)
July 4th, 2011
Does the Society cater for metal detecting, is anyone in the Society interested in metal detecting and/or do you know of any clubs in the Newmarket area? Many thanks ..Ken Peck-Newmarket.
This response from NLHS Vice Chair Sandra Easom: We can put forward your question to the Membership in September (our first indoor meeting of our next year – we do not meet in August). Visitors are always welcome. A small charge of £2 per meeting is made for non-members. Membership costs £8 a year, including the Christmas cheese and wine party! A bargain!
I am sure there is, or was, a metal detecting club in the area. I recall meeting some of their members a few years ago (might have been near Mildenhall). You could try the website Detectorists.net. Lots of contacts are listed who might know something. There is also the Federation of Metal Detecting and Archaeology Clubs.
From Jan Thompson: – I have just found your ‘What’s New’ page on Fred Archer. It’s terrific!
A very professional page indeed and I am thrilled that you have resurrected our dearest Fred Archer for all to share. I have sent your link to friends in the National Horse Brass Society and know they will enjoy looking here as much as I have.
Thank you so much for all the work you have put in here. Perhaps someone will make a comment about Fred Archer framed by his bell – we can always hope! With Best Wishes…. Jan Thompson
May 12th, 2011
From Vaughan Archer: – I have just discovered your wonderful website. Could you shed any light on this article with link below. As a former resident and avid film goer in Newmarket in the 60s, I and my remaining family have never heard of these Cinemas. Kindest regards
Published on Thursday 14 April 2011 09:17 Newmarket Journal website. Newmarket has been home to a number of cinemas over the years. The Doric, now Millionaires bar and nightclub, in High Street, ran between March 1937 and July 1964. Innocence, the nightclub across the road, was once the Kingsway Cinema. Boots, site of the former Carlton Hotel, was the Victoria Cinema. There was also once a cinema in Black Bear Lane.
Newmarket has a cinematograph history, and you can read about one of the earliest public performances on our website, under ‘Local Fire Tragedies’ this occurred in what is now Ann Furbank’s fashion shop on Rutland Hill (then the Town Hall) and resulted in serious loss of life and many injuries. (webmaste)
Yes, the Kingsway and the Doric flourished between the nineteen twenties and the fifties, the golden age of cinema popularity. The Doric opened in 1937 and the first film shown was Will Hay in ‘Good Morning Boys’. Particularly during WW II it was usual to see long queues along the High Street for the evening and Saturday afternoon performances. With the advent of television, cinemas slowly declined.
As the Journal article points out both the buildings now serve as Night Clubs. We do know about the Victoria Cinema in what became The Carlton building, I believe it closed as a cinema in the 1920s as the building took on new roles.
Personally, I had not heard of a cinema in Black Bear Lane, but one of my NLHS colleagues assures me that it did exist. There could well have been others during the early 20th century, set up in suitable halls although the safety regulations were tightened up after the Town Hall Fire, mentioned above. Watching moving pictures must have been the wonder of the age, long before radio and TV came along as home entertainments.
Update to above May 16th. Roger Newman, Sandra Easom Bill Smith and Joan Shaw have confirmed the cinema in Black Bear Lane, and as Roger has pointed out it is shown on the 1926 OS map as Grafton Street. does anyone know why the street name was changed to that of the Black Bear pub on the corner? Interestingly this cinema was also use as a swimming pool, and the floor was boarded over for the shows. We think it was called ‘The Kozy Kinema’ not so well named if the floor had collapsed!
The new age of Multiplex cinemas seems to be popular in the larger towns, but I could not speculate about the likelihood of its success should one come to Newmarket (webmaster)
From Pam Edgington (née Quarton) formerly of the White Lion, High Street Newmarket.
Seeking: Patricia Elspeth …. Location: East Anglia: No Town Information
Message: You were born on 26th December 1951 as Ursula June Quarton. I married your father 2 years later; you have a beautiful sister in USA and a super brother here in the UK. We have been looking for you since well before 1970. If you see this, please contact me, your birth mother, Pamela June Quarton.
We are all waiting to hear from you. God Bless with Love. You will not be ashamed of us I promise you. I’d love to hear from anyone recognising this name. A Dr Joseph Davies’ name from Newmarket might also be recognised.
(Originally Posted on Thursday 10 January 2008)
The search goes on for Pam’s daughter, parted from her shortly after birth. See also postings on this site Dec.16th 2007 and November 2008. It would make an elderly lady very happy if the missing daughter could be traced – webmaster)
April 7th, 2011
Hello, my grandfather was the mid-upper turret gunner crash-landed in a Stirling bomber at Newmarket racecourse on the 7th of June 1944. I wondered if you might have access to any photographs of the event from local records/newspaper reports. His Stirling was identified with the letter ‘K’ included on the fuselage side markings according to his flight logbook. A Sgt Page was listed as the pilot in command of the a/c and the aircraft was from 90 squadron, based at Tuddenham.
All/any help appreciated please…… Regards, Clive Sutton, Kenilworth
Operational flying of Stirlings from Newmarket Heath ended in June ’43, when 75 squadron moved to Mepal. Afterwards the Heath was used for a variety of purposes by the RAF including an emergency landing field for aircraft in trouble as it had a particularly long runway. I guess this was the reason for your grandfather’s experience.
Of course, the war was still very much in progress in 1944 and newspapers were not allowed to publish anything that might be of possible use to the enemy. The local newspaper was, and is, the Newmarket Journal but I doubt very much you would find such a report.
Surely there must be someone who is keeping 90 Squadron records. Have you researched the internet? (webmaster)
June 2011… and this from Tony Pringle: The person looking for info about a crash landing at Newmarket…Years after the request but I have fond this from O.R.B of 90 Sqdn.
7th June 1944 Stirling 115, EJ-K Special Duties not carried out, force landing at Newmarket
Crew Sgt D.C.Page (pilot) – F/O W.J.Ferrest (navigator) – F/Sgt M.C.Stanley (RNZAF) Air Bomber – Sgt C.H. McGregor (WOP/Gunner) – Sgt G Hooper (mid gunner) – Sgt N B Gourlay (Rear gunner) – Sgt F Myers (F.Engineer)
Cannot access the appendix that details the exact circumstances. The squadron were in the process of converting from Stirlings to Lancasters at the time. If this a/c was in trouble, Newmarket with its very long landing strip would be an obvious diversion
I would be very grateful if you could let me know whether you have any information about the Home Guard during the early days of the war. So far as I can remember they met for a time in our dining room at St. Agnes Vicarage which sounds quite bizarre. I have memories of my father the Rev. H D P Malachi in his uniform while I marched outside with a toy rifle but have no further memories of who else served in this unit…There is no need for a quick reply, but any information would be appreciated.
Excellent web site. Kind regards, Mary Colling (Mrs.)
Although we have no specific knowledge of this Bury Road platoon some more general memories of The Home Guard in Newmarket and district appear on this website (webmaster). select here
From Timothy Cox at the National Horseracing Museum. : -My enquiry at the moment is on the Gaps in the Devil’s Dyke, in particular the King’s Gap. I have been told that the Dyke was broken through at that point to allow King Charles II’s carriage to go through to view the races on his new Round Course. But I cannot find a reference to authenticate that story. Do you know if it is true, please? And secondly, in WWII the Dyke was lowered at that point to allow the bombers to take off in greater safety. Again was that true? Both stories seem plausible and yet direct reference is proving elusive.
The Rowley Mile was host to the RAF from the very outset of WWII and operated bombing squadrons first with Wellingtons and later with four-engined Stirling heavy bombers. The latter needed a long take-off run, especially when heavily loaded and a particularly tragic accident occurred when a Stirling loaded with sea-mines clipped the top of The Ditch and crashed shortly afterwards, causing an explosion that rocked the neighbourhood for miles around.
Most serious, they had to postpone the Guineas for a week! As a result of this and other accidents it was decided to excavate a 300-yard gap in the Ditch along the line of the usual east/west take off. That gap is still there, about a quarter of a mile before of the A14 crossing. I have a picture somewhere of a diesel excavator digging the gap.
A comprehensive overview of the Gaps and the RAF is on David Rippington’s website the exact page is http://www.newmarketshops.info/Newmarket_Heath.html
From Mr. R Blackwell.: – Dear Newmarket History Society: Over the years I have noted occasional references to Newmarket in wartime. I believe there is a link between the RAF use of part of the racecourse for clandestine aircraft flights to drop spies etc in occupied France and The Low Countries, the use of the White Hart Hotel in the High Street for accommodating persons on this kind of war work, and the bombing of that area of the High Street.
The enemy were alarmingly well-informed about such flights and bombing the area around the hotel could have been a clever move to kill personnel involved in clandestine activities. The daylight raid (thus improving the chance of accurate bombing) by an isolated Dornier bomber on a specific lone mission would support this theory. I do hope your Society investigate this theory.
By the way, exciting moves are being made in Bury St Edmunds to refurbish the wartime Observer Corps control centre in our Guildhall. I was in the ROC for many years and give illustrated talks about that control centre. My phone is 01284 386493 Best wishes,
Thanks for that Richard, an interesting contribution from an ex-ROC member.
From my personal memories I am aware that from late 1940 to 1942 lone German raiders used to make sneak daylight visits under cover of cloud, usually Dorniers or Junkers 88s. Mystery does surround the particular one that bombed the High Street on February 18th, 1941, was it a planned attack or just an unfortunate chance. Newmarket was of course very active in the military field, with the airfield on The Heath and much military traffic passing along the High Street.
I am sure too that German spies were active, so the raid may well have been based on information. There was also the airfield at Snailwell, very active with various aircraft types, including Lysanders which of course were used for dropping off secret agents in occupied territory. Even now all the stories have not come to light, as often any survivors are reluctant to talk about their wartime activities. The fate of the particular Dornier 17Z is also uncertain, did it get back to its base? German records have drawn a blank on this one (webmaster)
February 3rd, 2011
I am hoping you might be able to help me. When I met my husband he lived in Chippenham just outside Newmarket, he and his family owned the bakery that was there then. He was the baker. A film crew came to take some film of him making bread, as it was made the “old fashioned way”, in a rather old-fashioned bakery. The film was for the “Archives”
My husband sadly passed away 13 months ago, and I was wondering if I could track down this film and possibly obtain a copy. It was filmed around 1984/85. His name was Michael Ridout.
Do you know where or whom I need to contact to find this piece of film? Yours sincerely …. Christine M Ridout
Christine, you could try the East Anglian Film Archives or possibly Anglia or BBC Look East TV, who may have done the filming. Has anyone any better ideas? (webmaster)
January 19th, 2011
I grew up in Newmarket and I often browse the NLHS Website. I noticed a request for any Special Memories of Feb 18, 1941, and wonder if the following is of interest. I was five years old in 1941 at the time of the bombing. I remember it very well. My family lived at the top of Cardigan Street close to the junction with Warrington Street.
My sister and I, although resident in All Saints Parish went to St. Mary’s Junior School in Fitzroy Street on the other side of the High Street in St. Mary’s Parish. On the day of the bombing, I was at home sick and prompted by the explosions my mother and I ran outside and stood at the top of Cardigan Street from where we could see the clouds of black smoke rising from the bombs along the High Street.
My seven-year-old sister was walking home from school when she heard the bombs exploding just as she turned into Cardigan Street from he Avenue. She quickly ran and took shelter hiding in the corner between the very strongly built wall surrounding the Jockey Club grounds and the private garage at the bottom of Cardigan Street. It was a good safe place. She hid there until there were no more explosions and then she ran home up the little lane behind the houses in Cardigan Street.
The corner where she hid 70 years ago is still there. I can see it when I Google the area from my home in Canada. In my mind’s eye I can still see the German bomber flying very low westwards parallel to the High Street. Did I really see it? Or was it the imaginings of a five-year-old? How could I have seen it? It was the explosions that had prompted my mother and I to run out of the house and so surely the plane would have been long gone. The only possible explanation is that the plane made two passes parallel to The High Street. Did it? I will never know.
However, we all knew that the plane was a Dornier ‘ Flying Pencil ‘. That is the plane that I see in my mind’s eye which I believe was a Dornier Do 17. Even children as young as I were ‘ experts ‘ at aircraft recognition and other military matters. Did we not have posters on our classroom walls showing us how to identify German paratroopers and various types of German bombs.
The rumour at that time was that the plane’s target was a high-level military meeting in the Carlton Hotel not the random act of an aircrew dumping their bombs anywhere before turning for home.
Good luck to Newmarket where I lived from five to eighteen when I left to go to university. I have many memories…. Gareth Walters….Calgary, Alberta
Thanks, Gareth, for your interesting and timely memories. You may be right in your guesses, as some eye-witness accounts suggest that the Dornier 17Z did make a double pass along the High Street, the second time machine-gunning the unfortunate people who had escaped the 10 bombs dropped on the first run. The high-level service meeting was in the Memorial Hall, which luckily stands back from the road and therefore escaped a direct hit.
There is still mystery about the Dornier’s attack, did the Germans get wind of the meeting through their spy network, which was known to exist? There is no record by the Luftwaffe of this raid, nor of the fate of the Dornier, which may have been shot down by a combination of machine-gunfire from a Wellington bomber, which happened to be taking off from the Heath, and an anti-aircraft battery which claimed to have fired at it as it returned eastwards. It looks as though we shall never know for certain.
I was 14 at the time and at school in Cambridge, but like you I was mad on aircraft recognition and always perused the latest edition of The Aeroplane Spotter with great interest.