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"Canterbury rector arrests bomber crew"
A Blast From the Past 1917
December 7th: A Canterbury Red Cross official was held at gunpoint yesterday by a German aviator while his comrade set fire to their Gotha bomber which had just crashed.It came down in the marshes adjacent to Broad Oak Road, injuring two of the crew who were eventually taken into custody by the Rev Philip Somerville, acting in his capacity as a special constable.Before the arrest, however, a most dramatic scene unfolded. The Gotha of Bogohl 3 was on a raid of the area when it was hit by antiaircraft fire and subsequently crash landed in a field after just missing a mill and several houses.

F irst on the scene was Mr J.B.Wilford of Mandeville Road, Canterbury, an orderly in the Red Cross. He noticed that two of the three German crew were injured and offered to render first aid. One of them promptly produced a revolver and held Mr Wilford at gunpoint while his comrade fired the aircraft. He is almost certainlthe first man to face a German at gunpoint while on English soil. Mr Wilford was joined by the Rev Somerville, Rector of St Stephen's Church and another special, Mr G.WHaimes from Sturry who said: "The plane was alight when we arrived.

The Germans were not hostile and one was able to understand some English. They surrendered their equipment and arms to the Rev Somerville without protest:' The Rector said when he arrived on the scene the men were standing by the wrecked aircraft which was in flames with machine gun cartridges exploding right and left. "They asked me in broken English for a policeman to whom they could surrender and I assured them I was a special constable. An ambulance waggon conveyed the men to Canterbury police station and the two who were injured were then taken to hospital where they were well treated and most profuse in their thanks to the hospital authorities for the attention they received." During the day the burnt?out Gotha was inspected by thousands of people who flocked to Broad Oak. The Red Cross took full advantage of the situation and made a collection; 32 was realised.

January Ist: William Waldorf Astor who converted Hever Castle into such a splendid house has been given a peerage following generous munificent gifts to war funds and British charities. Aston of course, is also the owner of the Pall Mall G, T, the "It Mall Budget and he founded the Sunday Observer.
February 14th: The Royal Fly ing Corps' wireless testing park has moved from Joyce Green to a new airfield at Biggin Hill. The transfer of officers and men was completed yersterday, a canvas hangar has been established and a childrens' home has been commandeered for a Mess.
March 16th: A provisional government has taken over power in Russia. The monarchy fell today with little bloodshed as Czar Nicholas II signed the form of abdication on the Imperial train. It follows months of turmoil over the Czar's approval of the war which has resulted in enormous casualties.
March 24th: Three smacks from Ramsgate have been sunk by German submarines.
April 6th: American President Woodrow Wilson today signed the declaration of war which had been passed by his Congress, after a 17?hour debate, earlier in the week. In his speech to the House the President said the world must be made safe for democracy.
May 25th: A Zeppelin drops a bomb in St Leonard's churchyard, Hythe and kills the verger Daniel Lyth.The vicar who was standing near him later found a piece of shrapnel lodged in his pocket. There has also been a fatality in Ormonde Road and a stampede of horses in the Canadian camp at Otterpool near Lympne.On this day Folkestone was also bombed.
June 13th: Twenty Gotha twin engined bombers reached London in perfect weather and return to Belgium unscathed. They dropped 72 bombs which killed 162 and injured more than 400.
July 5th: Additional wards have been added to Orpington Hospital by the government ofOntario. Today the new wing was opened by the Rt Hon Walter Lond, Secretary of State for the Colonies.
July 17th: Winston Churchill is back in the Cabinet again ? this time as Minister of Munitions.
July 27th: Loyal East Kent yeomanry and Queen's Own Royal West Kent Yeomanry have been combined as the KentYeomanry.
July 28th: The Sheerness electric tramway has become the first tramway in Britain to be replaced by buses. The services, run by the Sheerness and District Electrical Power and Traction Company,been unique in Britain for using German equipment which is no longer available. Standen's Sheppey fleets have taken over the route.
June 26th: The Royal Family have dropped their German titles. Saxe_ Coburg?Gotha becomes Windsor and Battenberg becomes Mountbatten.
July 3rd: Lieutenant Bill Hicks, the schoolmaster who founded one of Kent's first scout troops, the 1st Sevenoaks,has died from his wounds in France. Only a few weeks ago Mr Hicks returned home on leave and was met at the fountain in Sevenoaks by his scouts who bore him shoulder high and carried him down the High Street. He was their hero
October 19/20th: Four German airships, out of 17, have been lost in the sea following terrific gales encountered at 16,000 feet. One of the airships dropped bombs near Maidstone and Leeds.
November 7th: Russia's Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government in Petrograd today in a sudden coup bringing Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky into power.
December 3rd: Britain refuses to recognise the Bolshevik regime in Russia.
December: Among the many Russians to flee the country when the monarchy collapsed early this year was Prince Belosselsky, an aristocrat and colonel in the Czar's army. The Prince has now made his home in exile in ?bridge and the townsfolk are making him most welcome. The Prince is a fine horseman and plays polo. He also enjoys a drink in the Rose and Crown in the High Street.
An attempt by the crew of an armed trawler to salvage a Gotha which was brought down in the sea not far from Folkestone Harbour, has failed The bomber was fitted with a time fuse which one of the crew set off just a few minutes before he was rescued.