Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life


The Clock Returns - It was a complete shock last October, when a German plane attacked the High Street in broad daylight demolishing RA Jones' Jewellers, and along with it the much appreciated clock that was suspended from the building side.  This January however the same business submitted an application to the council to return a new clock temporarily to the new lodgings not far from originally bombed shop.

Church Hit by Bomb - Avenue Road Baptist Church in Park Street was hit by a bomb on 10th December 1943.  Blowing the roof off and smashing the stained glass window.  When the dust cleared those that discovered the bomb damaged church were amazed to find the church organ not only survived but still played.

Cartoonist Dies - Fred Whisstock who at his height was a well accomplished artist who was popularly known for his newspaper cartoons appearing in some 30 diffrent publications under the name of "Quip".  Born in the East End Fred moved to Southend and made it his home, he also became well known as a comedian on the local circuit.  But Fred will be most remembered for his art.

Lightship Stood Down - The Nore Lightship was retired in 1943, having sat out in the middle of the Estuary since 1743 marking the seaward limit of the Port of London's authority as well as warning passing traffic of the Nore Sands and thereby no doubt saving thousands of lives.  The ship was replaced by the Nore forts.


Southend Welcomes Baseball - The Stadium on Saturday 23rd October took the town's sports fan's minds off the war with an unusual spectacle in the shape of Baseball.  The two teams playing were Kellers Killers and The Gipsies.  Umpire by a famous USA player and it was promised after every point the crowd would have the reason it was awarded explained, so they keep up as the game unfolded.  There was no recorded result of the game so if anyone does know do let us at Timeline know: Contact Us

Lifeboat Rescue - An interesting Lifeboat event occurred this war year; a fire float in stress while out on training. It drew attention from the incumbant lifeboat crew, who went into action and rescued off the fire float a number of very seasick firemen. Leaving the stricken vessel, that was heading straight for the pier, (whose use during the war was one to be protected as a priority), so with the aid of the "H F Bailey" lifeboat, they steered the float away to safety.

United Boss Dies - Bob Jack became player-manager of Southend United in 1906.  In his first two seasons they won the Southern League Division Two title and gained election to the Southern League First Division in 1908.

Dad's Army On Parade - Certainly not Dad's army in the comedic sense but a very efficient demonstration of the local Home Guard took place on Western Esplanade in May.  The 16th Essex Battalion Home Guard and "A" Company of the 13th (GPO) Essex Battalion, Home Guard all turned out on parade along the seafront.  To be inspected by senior officers and to later march past taking the salute Lieut. General GWR Templar DSO OBE. The Home Guard band provided the musical support.  A crowd had gathered for the spectacle and were delighted to see a full demonstration of live firing demonstrating to the public the real effectiveness of the Home Guard.  Shooting out to sea from the Shorefield Lawns at dummy targets, were a whole range of weapons including EY Rifles, Vickers Machine Guns, spiggot mortars and anti-tank fire.  All this could be followed through to the target being hit with the dramatic impact created by the sea they were floating on.  the crowd were mightily impressed with the accuracy achieved and gave the troops and encore as a sign of appreciation.

Coulson Dies - Coulson Kernahan a prolific author, and resident of Preston Road, Westcliff-on-Sea died this year.

The Billiard Wizard is Dead - John Baker Clarke passed away this year aged 80.  A famous billiard man, nicknamed 'The Wizard', who, for 30 years could do some amazing tricks which astounded thousands of people.  He was born in Lincoln, but made his home in Southend performing at the Queen's Hotel in Hamlet Court Road and at the Kursaal

Southend Troops Morale Raised - In May this year the BBC came to town to capture comments recorded for the benefit of Southend's troops serving across the globe.  The special programme not only allowed relatives to get some messages to their sons in uniform, but also to provide an update on how trhe town was fairing during the war.  Some amazing memories which must have brought a lump to the throat of those away, including a roving microphone recorded the peeling of St Mary's church bells,  Mr H Finney the raucous newspaper vendor on the High Street added a few familiar shouts.  A carnival song was sung by Herbert Sharpe, and the organ from the Astoria  was put through its paces by Guy Hindell.

Princess Visits - A sample of the smart efficiency of Britain’s women-at-war was provided by hundreds of ATS girls from Southend and neighbourhood on Saturday 30th October 1943, when HRH the Princess Royal CI, GCVO, CBE, visited the town to inspect women of  the service, of which she is Controller- Commandant.

In the morning the Royal party visited the Garrison at Shoeburyness and saw the work of ATS girls.  inspecting the living quarters, and rest rooms.  After taking to a few of the girls Her Royal Highness took lunch in the Officers’ Mess.  Next stop was to the Cliffs along from the bandstand where the party watched a physical training display by a squad of girls, led my Corporal Mary McCracken, inspecting as well a motor transport platoon and their equipment, and take the salute at a march past.  Later the Princess Royal attended the Women’s Service Club in Wilson Road.

Panto Time - The Regal Theatre in Tyler's Avenue stepped up to provide another festive treat; this time the offering was Little Bo-Peep starring Frank Preston as Dark Deeds and Gertrude Brown as Boy Blue.  Also in the production Eva Owen, Roy Brown, and Billy Peters as the Dame.  Interestingly enough the Regal was at the time the only live theatre in town.

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