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Letters to the Editor

PUBLISHED: 00:16 01 February 2011 | UPDATED: 20:35 20 February 2013

A New Year's Day outing / Motorcycling around Kent / Smuggling tales

A New Years Day outing


A dear friend gave me a subscription to Kent Life as a Christmas present and the January issue arrived in good time. One of the letters (Pubs we love) described The Gate at Marshside. Tempted by the description, my husband and I decided to drive out on New Years Day to find this little gem.


Armed with maps and my husbands good sense of direction, we managed to find the pub a warm welcome, a cosy fire, good beer and a mummers play what a start to the new year. Afterwards, a drive into Whitstable and a walk round the harbour completed our New Years Day jaunt.


Thank you to David Hallett for his letter and thank you to Kent Life for a splendid magazine. I look forward to the rest of my Christmas present.


Jennifer Edwards, Sidcup



Motorcycling around Kent


I noted with interest your article in


the January edition of Kent Life, concerning pictures of old cars. I wonder if you are also interested in pictures of old motor cycles? If so please find attached, one of my father with his AA motor cycle and sidecar.


This was taken during either the 1920s or 1930s. My father, Percy Alfred Bing, was an AA patrolman, covering what at the time, was the newly completed A2, the Cobham Road, near Strood, later to be known


as the Watling Street.


Being a patrolman, this was his beat at that time, covering from Strood to Brenley Corner at Faversham. Before he was issued with the above-mentioned motorcycle, he use to use an ordinary push-bike.


In winter he used to wear a balaclava to keep his ears warm, (he eventually became deaf, but that may not have been caused by the cold), but this often meant he was hauled over the coals for being improperly dressed. How things have changed these days.


He was always interested in all mechanical things, and even when retired took an interest in cars, etc.


I can remember on one occasion, when my husband and I arrived home with a Mini. After looking it over,


his first comment, was where the hell do you put the starting handle?


Vivian Holderness, Pembrokeshire



Smuggling tales


I was interested to read your article When Hawkhurst ruled the Weald in your November issue. I would, however, like to point out that some of the widely believed facts about the Hawkhurst Gang are not accurate, especially in relation to the one-time leader, Arthur Gray.


Arthur Gray was never implicated in the murders of Galley and Chater, neither was he hanged for the murder of Tom Carswell, the Riding Officer. Probably the most successful gang leader of his time, he went to trial convicted on the evidence of two witnesses (later thrown out of a subsequent trial for being known as unreliable), and the statement of a Riding Officer who admitted that although he had seen seven or eight men driving their horses loaded with goods along the road from Lydd to Apppledore, he could not state with any certainty that Arthur Gray was one of them.


The Surveyor General, whose job was to catch smugglers, wrote that he thought it would be a pity if Gray went free for lack of evidence, so the evidence was concocted and the Government got its way.


Interested readers might enjoy


my book, Men of Sorrows Smugglers of the Marsh, based on the archived material.


Mary-Elizabeth Thomas, Hythe

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