Lydd Airport

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

LYDD AIRPORT

Date: 14th October 2011

LYDD AIRPORT

When I was nineteen, I had a rather adventurous Francophile boyfriend who had a little Sports Car - I think it was a Frog-eyed Sprite.

I can still remember the excitement of driving down to Lydd Airport, loading the car as well as ourselves onto a small plane and flying to Le Touquet from where we set off on an adventurous touring holiday ending up in Paris.

(The Airport formally known as Ferryfield, was built for the Silver City company opening for passengers in 1956 and originally designed to cater for the air ferry transport business to France.  By 1958, 22 aircraft were operating from Lydd and 1 in 4 cars travelled to the continent by air.

With cars reaching 215,000 and 759,000 passengers at its peak there were 220 flights per day and rivalled Heathrow airport for flight movements.  The advent of the Roll On-Roll Off ferries spelled the death knell for Air ferry transport)

I can still remember the highlights of that trip as though they were yesterday. Arriving in the Boulogne Area around 8.30 pm and booked into a Relais Routier, Mine Host was so apologetic because he hand’t got much choice of food to offer us at that late hour. Not much choice! The hors d’oeuvre comprised around nine different dishes which was just about enough for me - can’t even remember the main course.

We saw an old man distilling Marc by the side of the road - that’s Brandy made from the pressed grape pulp, skins, and stems that remain after the grapes are crushed and pressed to extract most of the juice for wine. I still have a black and white photo of the dear old man.

I’d never been to France before and not viewed a French Chateau so, even though it was tiny by Chateau standards, I was very impressed with the Chateau d’O built on land which was the cradle of an ancient Norman family, the first known representative, Robert O, accompanied the Duke of Normandy, Robert I the Magnificent during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The original ancient fortress of the eleventh century was built by Robert O VII killed at Agincourt in 1415. I can still remember the incredible tiled conical towers which made it look like a Castle out of a Fairy tale. I think today it is run as an Hotel.

We continued our journey and ended up in wonderful Paris. I was young, impressionable and thought everything about that wonderful City was simply perfect. We drank Cafe au Lait out of, what I called, Olive Green Threepenny Bit Cups with Gold rims and I drove Owen crazy in my attempts to purchase some. I think they were only for the hotel trade.

All too soon we had to return to Le Touquet and the return journey. However we got a stay of execution - we were in the air and all of a sudden the setting sun seemed to change from one side of the Aircraft to the other. Apparently it was foggy in Lydd and we had to return to France for another night - Yippee.

The reason I’m telling you all this is that, after visiting the Grave on the Marsh we headed for Lydd Airport. A service to Le Touquet still operates - sadly it no longer transports your cars for you - the Roll On/Roll Off Ferries killed that trade but its a great little place to visit for a drink even if you aren’t travelling. There’s a Biggles Bar and many photos on the walls of famous personalities who used the Airport in the past - Gregory Peck, Dirk Bogarde, Diana Dors, the Duke of Edinburgh to name but a few.

And then, after a convivial and very generous glass of wine my friend and I  continued on our journey to Rye.

LYDD AIRPORT

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