On the Margate Museum website which came be found on google btconnect.com/margatemuseum/researcharchive.html there is an excellent piece of research in "our regular feature" into the life of Bruce Fleet. Who ? you may ask .
Well Bruce Fleet like George Hoare and others before him gave his all for the town of Margate when it was needed most.
And like George Hoare he played a major role during the Second World when the town was faced with the Dunkirk evacuation.
I have copied part of the research by Bob Bradley and others at the museum for you to read.
"During the first part of the War, Chief Inspector Fleet was deputy
sub-controller for ARP services, taking over as sub-controller when
the Chief Constable left Margate on promotion within the Kent force.
His big test came on 27th May 1940, when he was awakened at
2.40am, at the Winter Gardens, the ARP headquarters. He was
called to a secret meeting with the Mayor and senior Police Officers,
who were told by the local Military Commander to prepare to
receive troops being evacuated from Dunkirk.
Chief Inspector Fleet took up his duties on the jetty as Liaison
Officer to the Royal Navy, which established its headquarters in the
Droit House. The next day, 482 troops were landed from two
vessels. During the next nine days, one-seventh of all
troops evacuated from Dunkirk were landed in Margate, over
46,000 men, and provisions were transhipped from Army barges
into smaller ships to be taken to Dunkirk to feed the men still there.
Several thousand stretcher cases were sent to the Winter Gardens
for attention, whilst the remainder were sent to Dreamland and
officers to Margate College. All were provided with a cup of tea,
chocolate and biscuits, and clothing where necessary. Bruce Fleet
was in charge of these activities and stayed on duty continuously
for over nine days, until 5th June."
There is more but I do not wish to spoil a good story.
People knock Margate and its people and its past, so this wet and windy weekend I suggest a good read of the Museum archive will give some sort of perspective and better understanding of our past.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Reading the Isle of Thanet Gazette report on the budget problems Thanet District Council is facing makes grim reading and my first thoughts were have things ever been this bad before. Well in fact they have.
In late May1940 Margate had its own town council, the seafront was boarded up and the hotels and guesthouses were closed. The towns economic lifeblood , tourism had been abruptly cut off. Many people had left the town as the threat of invasion became a reality and the revenues to the town council had plummeted as Margate like all coastal towns became the front line. To make matters worse troops from the Dunkirk evacuation were arriving in the town and the local town council had a very serious dilemma on its hand running local government as it faced bankruptcy.
Someone had to take responsibility and make the tough decisions. This responsibility fell on the shoulders of Cllr George Hoare a local businessman who had a photography business and ran a milk bar along the seafront. Somehow through beg, steal or borrow he managed to keep local government running during those dark days which was nothing short of a miracle. Unfortunately he died lateron during the war and was buried in Margate Cemetary.
There is a file on him in the Margate Museum and his name is on the roll of honour in the old town hall when he became Mayor. George Hoare's achievements are not widely known except in a file in the Margate Museum, but Margate really has a lot to thank him for.
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
We are always hearing about unclaimed prizes on the national lottery and unclaimed prizes on the premium bonds. Well recently I came across this Irish Hospitals sweepstake ticket for the 1948 Derby, whether it was a winner I will never know. Did Betsy win the Derby in 1948 ?
Win or lose is certainly has a lovely celtic appeal about it, almost like a work of art, something worth keeping.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Like most people I spent today pottering about the house, my job for today was to sort through archive which I have stored in the loft to decide which can go and what will stay while occasionally reading the odd item that took my interest. One article that caught my eye was one written by local historian John Williams on the subject of the First World War titled "Should the Kaiser come". It appears from the article which is for down loading that the Borough of Margate Town Council had put in place a plan to evacuate Margate in 1915 in the event of a invasion by the Kaiser's forces, something not many people are aware of.