The Duke of Windsor, King Edward VIII | Credit: Mirrorpix

Written by John Simpson

In December 1936, King Edward VIII gave his famous abdication speech to the nation and was soon to be kicked out of the country.

Longtime friend of famous Lympne resident Sir Philip Sassoon (Under Secretary of State for Air and local MP for Folkestone and Hythe), Edward is said to have left the UK by plane from Lympne airfield that night -the.

A visitor to the adjacent Sassoon mansion in Port Lympne on several occasions before, and a pilot and plane owner himself, this was a very likely starting point.

Bill Deedes, who was to become Conservative cabinet minister and editor of the Daily Telegraph, was a Morning Post reporter at the time.

That evening he was to attend a dance in Folkestone to celebrate his older sister’s coming of age.

A compromise was found, whereby the newspaper would provide him with a car to drive to Lympne airfield at regular intervals 10 miles away.

Daily Mirror front page December 10, 1936

He made three trips in his white tie outfit. On the third, something seemed to be happening. All the lights were on at the airfield.

The anticipation turned out to be false, as Edward was instead crossing Portsmouth on a Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Fury accompanied by HMS Wolfhound in Boulogne at 2 a.m.

Earlier in the evening, a four-car convoy, accompanied by a covered truck, had swept the shipyard to take it into exile in the south of France.

On November 2, the first meeting of the Lympne Airfield History Society since March 2020 was very busy. Nearly 50 people enjoyed Betty Black’s presentation on her Skyways Years at Lympne.

Betty made this presentation a few years ago, but it has evolved and now includes the years at Lydd where Dan Air, which became Skyways through a takeover, transferred in 1974.

Many superb photographs of life in Lympne as a commercial airport were shown.


On January 4, David Goldsmith will speak about Wing Commander Hugh Kennard DFC, a name well known in Lympne from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Hugh Kennard attended school at Cranbrook and was later one of the few in the Battle of Britain. After World War II he was an important figure at Lympne, Lydd, Ramsgate and Manston airfields.

His businesses at Lympne included Skyfotos, Air Kruise, and the Kent Coast Flying Club. At the same time, he was the commander of the 500 (Kent County) of the RAF Auxiliary Squadron which had Gloster Meteors at West Malling from 1949 to 1952.

In 1953 he reopened Ramsgate Airport and from the same year until 1960 he was also manager of Silver City. In 1961 he founded Air Ferry at Manston, which was succeeded by Invicta Airways from 1965 until his retirement in 1976.

For more information on Lympne Airfield History Society call 01303 265078 or send email [email protected]

Share with us the news of your city or village by becoming Zone Ambassador.