From the Comet: July 31, 1963

A man from New Malden died in a mysterious yacht fire on the English Channel.

Edward Jenkins, 35, known as Ted, of Clarence Avenue was on a weekend boating trip when his 22ft sloop caught fire on July 28.

The fire was first reported by coast guards at Southbourne, Hants, who spotted a cloud of black smoke on the horizon and RAF helicopters from Tangmere, a naval craft and a life boat attended.

Mr Jenkins’ body was airlifted to Bournemouth and a search for more people continued, as it was not known that the yachtsman was sailing alone.

Mr Jenkins was an electrician at the KLG factory on the Kingston bypass and had been married for six years.

He and his wife, Maureen, shared a house on Clarence Avenue with Mr and Mrs Hatford, Mrs Jenkins’ parents.

The yacht was named after Edward’s wife, who usually accompanied her husband on his sailing trips, but was working at the time of the fire.

She identified her husband’s body and said he was not a strong swimmer, despite being a competent sailor.

Sergeant John Smith described how it was not possible to say how the fire had happened, but that it was “most probably an accident”.

Mr Hatford said: “The fire is a complete mystery. There was no Calor gas aboard, so it could not have been an explosion.

“There was a Primus-type stove for cooking, but Ted never bothered to use it when he was alone.”

Pathologist Dr Trevor Kingsley Owen reported Mr Jenkins died by drowning.

The Bournemouth coroner, Mr Thomas Thompson, recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

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Looking back

50 YEARS AGO: August 3 1963

A Chessington man reversed into a man on a scooter and crashed while driving him to hospital.
The man crashed into a lamppost on Ruxley Lane injuring himself and two passengers.
He later pleaded guilty at Kingston Magistrates’ Court to driving without insurance or a licence and to taking a car
without permission.

25 YEARS AGO: August 5, 1988

Men from Chessington’s Blackmoor Head pub and Norbiton bus garage dressed in women’s clothes for a game of football.
Spectators watched as 22
men in skirts and suspenders took part in the match at Churchfields.
The game was in aid of the Alex Arthur Appeal for physically and mentally handicapped people.
Norbiton triumphed with a
3-2 victory.

10 YEARS AGO: August 1, 2003

Digby the skateboarding dog showed off his skills to New Malden shoppers.
The Polish lowland sheepdog was at Purina Pet Care, Blagdon Road.
Digby and his friends were touring the area to promote
the Rag and Bone show at Ascot, which aimed to raise awareness of animal welfare.