Marden's Aviation History, compiled by Catherine Alderson, Chris and Mari Gosling, Steve McArragher and Trevor Simmons
Published by the Marden History Group, 50 pages. A4 size spiral bound booklet (N5429)
Marden is a village in Kent, and lies several miles south of Maidstone, and this booklet provides a fascinating history of aviation in and around the area over the last century.
From the introduction: The inspiration for this booklet was the work done by Catherine Alderson and Steve McArragher of the Marden Walking Group, and Trevor Simmons of the Marden History Group, in designing a themed set of footpath walks around Marden. Two of these walks took the subject of aircraft crashes in World War II and our Chapters 4 and 5 set out the relevant events in the order of the walk routes.
Events in Chapter 3 are set out in chronological order and include some events around the edges of the parish as well as all for which we have been able to find records, however tenuous, within the parish itself. The contemporary private ownership of helicopters, microlights etc has been omitted.
It was no surprise to us that by far the most of Marden's aviation history occurred during the years of the second World War between 1939 (when on 21st November Kent squadrons flying out of Biggin Hill first saw action) and 1945. This action was, of course, largely in the few months of the Battle of Britain when Kent became the most fought over county in Britain and was known as Hell Fire Corner. What did come as a surprise, once we had started our research, was how much else there was.
But the Battle of Britain is the centrepiece. In Kent hop-picking carried on almost as usual. There was some question whether it was safe, and the hop-pickers sent a deputation to Kent to see. Their report was satisfactory. Although the hop-pickers had been evacuated to all parts of Britain, the farmers agreed to pay their fares to Kent, and they came as usual for their annual 'holiday'. "We're not afraid of Jerry - damned if we are," one old lady of 70 commented. Another memory of the time: "It was out Marden way that the major clash so often took place, and it was in that neighbourhood I stood waiting for the Hun advance whilst watching the harvesters at work, wondering what their reaction would be to the fight which must take place above so shortly. Presently the sound of the advancing enemy was audible, but still the harvest work went on, until there roared overhead our intercepting squadron. As one man the workers stood upright and still, doffed their caps - then carried on as the battle raged."
The battles of WW2 left their legacy to modern times: cannon shells often buried themselves in the trunks of orchard trees, where they got calloused over. Brian Maynard sold logs for firewood and one winter not so long ago one such hidden shell exploded in an innocent customer's fire. Luckily no-one was hurt...
The condition of the booklet is generally very good. The covers are clean and bright, the spiral spine is tight and intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. Has a small price sticker on rear side cover