Flashback: Sister Monica, hens on a train and Nazi pistols

A German Luger P08. Photo: Wikimedia commons

A German Luger P08. Photo: Wikimedia commons - Credit: Archant

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

1957:Life in Manor Park was changed forever when Deaconess Sister Monica McFall announced she would be leaving the community.

To many, Sister Monica, originally from Bedfordshire, was a welfare worker, probation officer and Good Samaritan at the Little Ilford Baptist Church.

Having spent four years at the church, Sister Monica was credited by many with overhauling the parish’s fortunes.

In fact, just seven years earlier the church had been close to closing its doors for good.


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“East Ham Council have been very helpful,” said Sister Monica.

“Whenever they felt we could be of help they put us in touch with people who needed it.”

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But Sister Monica was leaving to get married to a Baptist minister she met in Cambridge.

1977: Two men from Ilford were ordered to £88 by a North London magistrate for taking a flock of chickens onto a train.

The two men had taken 23 young hens onto a service leaving Ilford Station, heading to a farmers market in Essex.

When a ticket inspector entered the carriage the two had entered, he immediately informed the pair they would have to get off at the next station, as the number of animals was in excess of a number of railway by-laws.

The pair did not dispute the charge, and used the court appearance to formally apologise to the ticket inspector.

1997: A Gants Hill resident was amazed to find a bag underneath her floorboards that contained two Second World War German pistols.

Marie Holston, of Cranbrook Road, was shocked when a handy man walked out of her living room clutching the two guns.

Whilst putting a new carpet down he had glimpsed something metallic through the floorboards, and pulled out a small bag with only the two firearms inside.

Experts who have analysed the weapons determined they were two Luger pistols, but each had never been fired.

Mrs Holston, who had lived in the house for 12 years, had absolutely no idea how the two guns had got there.

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