Flashback: The Ku Klux Klan, 17-year-old pilots and a tragic mystery

PUBLISHED: 10:00 17 December 2017

The Recorder challenged the KKK to prove it was operating in east London in 1957. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Recorder challenged the KKK to prove it was operating in east London in 1957. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 60, 40 and 20 years ago

1957: The Ku Klux Klan issued a daring challenge to the Recorder as part of a months long feud.

After weeks of investigative journalism attempting to address widely publicised rumours of a klansman operating in Ilford, an audacious challenge was issued defying the Recorder to delve into the very heart of British Parliament and prove that MPs receive and were being influenced by Ku Klux Klan propaganda.

Challenges were made in a letter from Horace Sherman Miller: Leader of the KKK in Texas. Mr Miller insinuated that Klan agents were working in Woking and Brighton.

He wrote: “Had the Klan any part in the Brighton Inquiry? Ask Mr. Cohen of Alliance Buildings.”

But Mr Cohen shut down these rumours instantly.

Miller ended his message with an ominous message: “The Klan wages a continuous war, but only gives an occasional pinprick to show its occasional presence. Who can fight invisible soldiers?”

1977: Two air cadets were on cloud nine after deservingly earning their wings.

James Eagles and Peter Phelps both proudly received their coveted private pilot licences after months of hard work and determination.

The seventeen-year-olds, both members of the 4F Squadron of the Air Training Corps based in Horns Road, Barkingside, were praised highly during presentations made by their commanding officer, Flt Lieut. Peter Fisher.

Flt Lieut Fisher exclaimed that this was “quite an achievement for the boys”.

The Squadron were seemingly on a winning streak as they also revelled in winning the ATC’s national junior and senior swimming championship.

1997: Detectives were left mystified after a man who died at Seven Kings Station proved impossible to identify.

The man, believed to have been in his 50s or 60s and white, was hit by an express train travelling from Southend to Liverpool Street at 11pm on Sunday evening.

Bizarrely, the man had no personal belongings or forms of identification in his possession at the time of his death.

Sgt Philip Trendall told the Recorder: “We are trying to determine the situation leading up to the accident and do hope someone who was around at the time will be able to help us.


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