May 1985

Front pictures
Comment - Making the
  Challenge a Reality

Cover pictures info
Working Parties
First Campaign to Save
  the Canal

Canal Scene on Screen
Social secretary
Mikron Theatre
Volunteers Paradise
4-Year Plan
Target 1988
Cat on cold lock gate
Book Review
County Call
Recruit new members
New Membership Secretary
Pen Portrait
Lost Opportunity?
Book Review
Home of the British

Fund raising
Waterside Watch
Gongoozlers' Gossip

Contact the Society


    bcnmsthd50 (12K)

No. 121May 1985

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Inside front cover --
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A new book "Basingstoke Canal Restoration" is being published for the Society on May 8th. This is the first major publication to be associated with the Society since "Basingstoke Canal: the Case for Restoration", published in 1968.

Backed by the promotional efforts of Society officials at that time, the latter created a great deal of awareness and support for the new concept of saving and restoring the Canal. Now, 17 years later, our new book chronicles the campaign for public ownership and restoration and illustrates the tremendous progress already made towards re-opening the navigation.

The new book will not only make a permanent record of the achievements since 1973, when work officially started, but should also be used to generate new interest in the project from people who may not yet be fully conversant with the canal.


Every twelve months or so we have published David Junkison's map of restoration progress. Now, for the first time, we are showing a chart of the work outstanding to complete restoration, most of which is along the Surrey length.

If the chart has been drawn to look something like the fund raising 'target' barometer often associated with local charity appeals, there is a good reason. For too long we have said that the canal's restoration is "over half-way to completion", or, "we can see the light at the end of the tunnel". But how far is half-way, without revealing the whole, or of seeing a light without knowing the length of the tunnel?


1988 is now emerging as a realistic, though challenging, target date for completing restoration and re-opening the canal. It is also the 200th anniversary of the year work began on the construction of the Basingstoke Canal. What more appropriate date or way to celebrate than for the John Pinkerton' to cruise from the River Wey Navigation junction right the way through to Greywell.

There are some people who question whether the target is achievable at the present rate of progress, good as it may be: there is still a con­siderable amount of work to be done.

This seems an appropriate time for Society officials to review the situation, not only in respect to the canal but of the Society itself. We always need new and increased numbers of voluntary workers, perhaps even more so now. Our membership total has been reducing steadily in numbers: a trend which should be reversed. Funds, too, are continually underpressure, especially with the commitment to our team of full-time workers.


The Society's new book presents an opportunity to promote the restoration project as a whole and the contribution being made by volunteers in particular. A newly produced audio-visual slide show, also gives the Society the means of generating more support. And with a target date for completion only 3Vi years away, the motivation should be there to go on the campaign trail again and enlist the additional support perhaps needed to ensure we come out of the proverbial tunnel in 1988.
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The first boat to lock down the Deep-cut flight as far as Lock 18 since they were restored, and for over 20 years..... Chris Brazier aboard Louisa May II in Lock 25 (top right).... the same lock nine years ago with restoration under way. (Bottom left) Louisa May 11 emerging from Lock 20. (Centre right) The natural, unspoilt woodland setting at Lock 26, now intruded upon by an alien industrial chainlink fencing and concrete posts stretching the entire length of the towpath from Lock 28 to Lock 25. (Bottom left) Frank Jones and Martin Smith who supervised the locking 'trial' as the Deepcut flight is not yet open officially to navigation.
(Top) David Robinson and Dieter Jebens, authors of the Society's new 48-page illustrated book 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration' at Ash Lock. (Centre left) Phil Pratt, who organises exhibitions for the Society, the subject of our Pen Porirait in this issue. (Below) Teddy Edwards, author of 'Inland Waterways of Great Britain', gives Robin Higgs (centre) and David Millett (right) something to iaugh about with his mis­chievous sense of humour. (Centre right) Ken Parish (left), leader of the Kent & East Sussex Cana! Restoration Group, with the Society's Working Party Organiser Mike Fellows (pointing) and other members of the Group who won the IWA's Christopher Power Prize (£400) for their work at St John's locks as the most significant contribution made by an individual or group towards restoration of an amenity waterway linked to the national network. Congratulations. (Bottom left) Ken and Denise Halls with the famous Dulux dog at the Community Projects Competition prize presentation held in London, reported in Newsletter No. 120. (Bottom right Paul Vine, author of 'London's Lost Route to Basingstoke', surveying the former Barbados Railway track (see Volunteers Paradise inside).
Photographs by: Clive Durley, Dieter Jebens, David Robinson and Sonia Warner. Processing and Printing: Clive Durley.
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress - Peter Cooper
By the time this newsletter hits the waiting news stands, the Society's full-time MSC-sponsored operation is likely to have terminated, and the form of any successor to it may not yet be resolved. This leaves the volunteers well and truly exposed, and progress is, more than ever, up to them. So, if you aren't already coming along to help, now is the time to write your name into British canal history. Come along and help restore the Basingstoke Canal, and get your name bracketed with Brindley and Telford! Current working parties are listed below. It is usually advisable to contact your working party leader, a few days before attending, just in case of any last minute change of plan.

St Johns Flight Every weekend
The harsh weather hindered work quite seriously around February, and only into March did progress start to be made. The second chamber wall, followed by the top recess walls, remain the major tasks to be completed on Lock 9, and it is hoped that this lock will be finished around the middle of the year. Construction work continues at the bottom end of Lock 8, and some work is now being done at Lock 7, where things are made a lot easier by the use of a pump formerly at Lock 1.

The co-ordinator of the Society's work on this flight is MIKE FELLOWS, on Wokingham 787428, and for further details you should contact him, or one of the working party leaders listed below.

18/19 May 15/16 June 13/14 July
Lock 9
12 May, 9 June, 14 July
11/12 May, 8/9 June, 6/7 July
Lock 8 (KH & PR)
25/26 May 22/23 June 20/21 July
JW Jules Wood - Farnborough 515737
AG Alan Grimster - Brookwood 6127
PJ Peter Jones - Aldershot 313076
KH Ken Halls - Woking 23981
PR Peter Redway - Woking 21710
EC Edwin Chappell - Ashtead 72631

The previous arrangements for St Johns volunteers to share accommodation with visiting groups still apply, on those weekends when a visiting group is here. Such weekends are 18/19 May, 1/2 June, 22/23 June. Volunteers wishing to take up this offer should contact MIKE FELLOWS to make arrangements.

Dredging in Hampshire Every weekend
The dredger crew lost four weekends dredging owing to the weather; 4 inches of ice was just too much for them to break, so they had to content themselves with doing maintenance jobs. They are now back to dredging, however. The dragline has been moved to a new site, adjacent to the bridge hole near the site of last year's Open Day, and the dredger itself is now on the site of Coxmoor Bridge.

The party are always looking out for new recruits, particularly for training as dragline drivers, and are looking for people who can make a regular commitment (say, once a month) to attend. Further details from ANDY STUMPF on Chesham 785720 or BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.

Surrey Towpath Work
The party led by BERT and BETTY SCAMMELL have now gone into their summer recess, to allow wildlife the run of the banksides. Watch this space for news of their restart in the autumn.

Lockgate building
Here work continues on building the lower gates for Lock 9 at St Johns. Dates and leaders are :—
4/5 May, 1/2 June, 6/7 July - FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
26 May, 23 June - ALAN GRIMSTER on Brookwood 6127.

Lock 4 (Woodham)
Second weekend of the month - 11/12 May, 8/9 June, 13/14 July.
Bricklaying on the first chamber wall has continued when the weather has permitted it; otherwise they have been working on the top cill, or cutting pockets. For further details contact PABLO HAWORTH on Byfleet 42081.

Lock 1 (Woodham)
Third weekend of the month - 18/19 May, 15/16 June, 20/21 July.
The first chamber wall is complete and the other almost so. The gate.recesses and the flank and return walls are being demolished, after which hollow posts will be cast. For further details of this party, which operates under the auspices of the Guildford branch of the IWA, contact DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge 42074 or ROY DAVENPORT on 01-979-7075.

Work Camp 1985
There should be a booking form for the work camp enclosed with this newsletter. To organise the camp properly, it is important that the organisers should know who is going to attend, and when, particularly in the cases of those with such skills as bricklaying or dumper driving.

Surrey Full-time Team
In the closing weeks of the MSC scheme, the team have been concentrating on one task only, the final completion of the Deepcut Flight. They are obviously (like British Rail) getting there, as the John Pinkerton was able to pass down through the top six locks early in March. But it will be a while yet before the ordinary boat-in-the-street can do this.
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Tuesday May 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th
Members' evening aboard the John Pinkerron departing Colt Hill, Odiham, at 7.30pm.
Sunday May 19th
Society's Sponsored Towpath Walk, between Ash Vale Station and Byfleet Boat Club on the Wey Navigation.
Tuesday June 4th, llth, 18th and 25th
Members' evening aboard the John Pinkerton, departing Colt Hill, Odiham, at 7.1Opm.
Weekend June 8th-9th
Trail Boat Rally at Ash Lock
Even if you are not a boat owner, enjoy the boating scene. Displays and entertainments.
Tuesday July 2nd, 9th, 16th. 23rd and 30th
Members' evening aboard the John Pinkerton, departing Colt Hill, Odiham, at 7.30pm.
Weekend July 6th-7th
IWA's Guildford & Reading Branch Boat Rally, in association with the Guildford Festival. Trade shows, entertainments, special features. Lots to see.
Saturday July 13th
Coach trip to Bath and Kennet & Avon Canal cruise. Popular event. A few seats remaining, at £9.50 each inclusive. Phone Rosemary Millett on Fleet 7364 now.
Tuesday August 6th, 13th, 21st and 27th (finish)
Members' evening aboard the John Pinkerton, departing Colt Hill, Odiham at 7.30pm.
Wednesday August 7th
Mikron Theatre Company's visit and performance at The Swan.Hutton Road, Ash Vale, 7.30pm. (see 'Social Jottings' column for details)
Weekend Plus August 24th-26th
Inland Waterways Association's National Rally. The major annual gathering of boats to focus attention on our inland waterways. Worth a visit for overland visitors, too. Lots to see and do. You'll never see so many boats together, anywhere. Nearer home this year on the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes.

JOIN THE SMALL BOAT RALLY Ash Lock, Aldershot, 8th - 9th June
Following last year's successful event over the same weekend, this repeat event is designed to satisfy a three point need:
It is a social event so that members (with boats or without) can come together. The 'John Pinkerton 'will be running trips during the weekend. We also hope that boats attending will have room for members to see a bit of the canal from a boat. On the Saturday evening there will be a bar and barbeque for boat crews and SHCS members by the lock-side.

It is a publicity event designed to attract the public to this section of canal, to see boats using the lock, to create an atmosphere of the beauty of a restored canal, to raise money for further restoration projects, to tell the public what the SHCS is doing to aid the restoration towards an early completion date.

It is also designed to get people with boats to start using the open sections on a regular basis. There are now two public slipways available in Hampshire and one in Surrey. The two County Councils are now weed-cutting on a regular basis with their new machine, so small trailable boats should have less trouble, than in the past, with the weed problem.

We hope to have plenty of stalls, male and female Morris Dance teams, band music, a magician for the children, light refreshments and lots more. Watch the local press and listen to County Sound for further details! But whatever you do come to Ash Lock on 8th-9th June to see the boats (some in steam) and support the Society.

Members who wish to bring their boats still have time to get an application form from Vic Trott, Woking 68607. Parking for cars and trailers is limited so you will need to fill one of these in. General parking for visitors should be OK.

If the weather is as good as it was last year you can expect to enjoy a splendid day out by the canal, and take home a distinctive commemorative brass plaque and happy memories. Book the date now — the weekend of 8th-9th June at Ash Lock.

rose 11k

boatyard ad. 25k
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Feature Page
The chequered history of the Basingstoke Canal is well chronicled by P.A.L. Vine in his book 'London's Lost Route to Basingstoke' (now out of print but a few copies are still available from the Society's Sales Manager, Aubrey Slaughter). Paul Vine ends his account with the formation of this Society in 1966. Now, the subsequent years have been documented in the Society's new book 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration'. But one gap remains: The Inland Waterway Association's move to buy the Canal in 1949, and, more especially, how Mr S.E. Cooke became involved and took the canal over under the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. in 1950.

A few more pieces of the jigsaw were fitted by L.A. (Teddy) Edwards, at a Society Members meeting held at the Prince of Wales in Fleet on March 27th, when he recalled the first campaign to save the waterway.

A retired engineer and author of 'Inland Waterways of Great Britain', having a special knowledge of legislation surrounding the rights of navigation, Teddy Edwards was introduced to the Canal as a teenager — by falling in at Deepcut! His interest in the Basingstoke increased through his canoeing activities in the 1930's, and during a period of military service, involving water transport, spent in the locality.

In 1946 Robert Aickman founded the Inland Waterways Association and Teddy Edwards became member No. 14. In the following year Alec Harmsworth died and it became known that the family could not agree on their continued ownership. Believing the canal's future might be at stake (there was subsequent speculation someone wanted to turn it into a motor cycle track), Teddy Edwards raised the question with Tom Rolt at theIWA's AGM in 1947.

In 1948 Teddy was elected Secretary to the IWA (a position he held for 10 years). One of the first jobs he did was to write a number of letters to arrange a meeting to discuss the canal's future which was held in Woking just before Christmas 1948. It was attended by local and county councillors, including SCC's Chairman, General Sir Robert Haining, who spoke about a particularly virulent species of mosquito breeding in the canal at Woking (a Mosquito Eradication Unit was formed by the local council to combat the menace).

Another meeting was held at Aldershot at which the IWA formed the Basingstoke Canal Committee to explore means of securing the future of the canal which the Harmsworths had by then decided to sell. Members of the Committee were: Robert Aickman, Susan Woolfit, (wife of Donald Woolfit later to be knighted), G.C.B. Poulter and his brother, Charles Poulter, Joan Marshall (later to become General Manager of the New Basing­stoke Canal Co. Ltd.), Patricia Brown (to become Mrs Edwards), Chris Grundy (who became Manager of the Stratford Canal), G. Hodken, Capt. Edward L. Hughes, Mrs Marshall's father-in-law and Cyril Styring (who gave his name to an IWA Trophy).

At the meeting, recalls Teddy Edwards, Mr Cyril Diver of the Nature Conservancy warned against interference with some rare plants growing in the Canal at Deepcut. Left unattended the canal subsequently dried up in the vicinity and a heath fire swept across the overgrown bed destroying the plants for all time.

The Harmsworths finally decided to put the canal up for sale by auction. After widespread national and even overseas press publicity, Aldershot took on something of a carnival atmosphere for the auction held on 1 st March 1949. Interest was such that the venue was changed to the Traction Hall able to accommodate more people, including a small army of newspaper reporters and cameramen who gave the event 'lavish and enthusiastic' coverage, according to Mr Edwards.

Prior the the auction, a Basingstoke Canal Purchase Sub-Committee had been formed (answering to the IWA's Basingstoke Canal Committee), comprising of members who were prepared to put up money to buy the waterway. They included Peter Scott (now Sir Peter Scott, an IWA Vice-President).

The Purchase Committee was lead by its Secretary, Joan Marshall, who bid at the auction. Immediately after the successful bid which secured the canal for the Committee, it went independent. The move was approved by the IWA, providing a satisfactory policy was adopted for the canal's use in future.

The picture then becomes somewhat blurred. Teddy Edwards recalls some months passed before Mr S.E. Cooke, an engineer and inventor of a patented fishing reel, appeared on the scene. His arrival was once described by Mrs Marshall as an unexpected visit to her Winchfield home with an offer to complete the purchase . of the Canal over which the Committee was in some difficulty.

Whilst the Canal (plus three Lock Cottages) was knocked down to the Purchase Committee for £8,000, it it did not have the necessary funds to conclude the purchase — according to one reliable source involved at the time.

It was, in fact, ten months or so after the auction that Mrs Marshall announced Mr Cooke was taking over. The 'rescue' take-over was necessary, apparently, because of legal problems the Committee faced in forming a Limited Liability Company, and not particularly because of financial shortcomings. Nevertheless, included in the list of funds available to complete the purchase, and pay the expenses incurred, amounting to £10,500, was a sum of £2,500 — nearly a quarter of the total — as a 'promise of Mortgage from Executors of the Canal'.

It seems, according to Mrs Marshall at the time, that the Committee's intention had always been to operate the canal 'on a business basis'. But, being a non-profit making organisation, shareholders in a Limited Liability Company set up by the Committee would, by implication, be prepared to surrender their capital investment, lawyers advised, which was felt to be unacceptable 'in these changed times'. The only alternative would have been to float a Public Company but this was out of the question.

At a meeting held at the Victoria Hotel in Aldershot on January 6th, 1950, Mrs Marshall enlarged on an announcement that the Purchase Committee was "selling the Undertaking to a third party who has expressed his intention of preserving for the public all the advantages which the Committee had in mind".

In a letter Mr Cooke confirmed his good intentions to maintain the canal as an inland waterway but with the rider "that circumstances may arise which would leave no alternative but for myself, or any successor in title taking any such steps as may be necessary to avoid a financial loss".

So the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd., and the lesser known Waterways Properties Ltd., became the new owners of the Canal.
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The appearance of Surrey and Hants Canal Society Vice-president, Mr John Humphries, and his lovely wife June is always a highlight of our season of social evenings at Christ Church Hall in Woking Town Centre, and their visit on March 11th was no exception.

On this occasion, Mr and Mrs Humphries presented a film of a 300-mile journey by boat through Sweden along the Gota Canal, a waterway of more than passing national and historic interest as it was designed and engineered by Thomas Telford. Several of the locks were clearly his work and similar to those in his home county of Shropshire. The canal itself, on the other hand, is quite unlike any in England, connecting up, as it does, several large lakes to link Stockholm with Gothenborg. One of those lakes is more like an inland sea and, with rocks to avoid as well, proved to be no mean feat of navigation.

All this came over so well in the film. Blessed though they were with fine weather and splendid scenery, June Humphries fully deserved the volume of applause at the end for her photography, while Peter Coxhead, the organiser of this successful evening, rightly congratulated her husband on his enlightening commentary and choice of background music.
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Social Secretaries
Hampshire — vacant; volunteer required
Surrey — vacant; volunteer required
Information: Hampshire — Fleet 7364; Surrey — Byfleet 44564.
The winter series of social evenings at Woking and Fleet have now come to an end and will resume in the autumn. Any suggestions from members as to speakers, subjects and films would be appreciated. Please will volunteers come forward to take over the organisation of these meetings and take the load off the committee members who have been organising tliem on a temporary basis. The work is not onerous and guidance will be given. Please ring either of the above numbers if you are prepared to offer your services.
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In the September Newsletter we mentioned that the Mikron Theatre Company, who tour the country every year in their narrow boat "Tyseley", were in danger of folding due to the withdrawal of their Arts Council grant. Happily, although the grant was withdrawn, they have raised enough funds from appeals and a donation from the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Council to continue for this year, at least.

Now that the Blisworth Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal has been re-opened they are able to come south again to the Thames and we have arranged a performance in the garden of "The Swan", Hutton Road, Ash Vale on Wednesday August 7th at 7.30pm. The performance will have "Leisure on the Canals" as the theme and will feature a first time canal holiday and the amusing experiences that occur. Bar-b-que food will be available. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS PERFORMANCE and help Mike and Sarah Lucas and their company to keep the show on the road. Tickets (Adult £1.50, children £1) are available from: Bob Humberstone, 11 Tkhborne Close, Frimley, Camberley, Surrey. (Please enclose a SAE). If wet, the performance will take place in the Victoria Hall, Ash, but only ticketholders will be admitted.

rose 11k

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If mud, rain and the cold is getting you down, as you toil away under the watchful eye of Peter Jones or another working party leader — you could get away from it all. Well, not away from restoration, but working on a project with the sea in sight, sunshine and palm trees all around .....

Recently, we heard from Paul Vine, author of "London's Lost Route to Basingstoke" and a Vice-President of the Society, who wrote to us from Barbados where he has been advising the Government on Hotel and Tourism.

Mr Vine writes:
"One of my current activities is advising the Barbados Government on the merits of re-opening the Barbados Railway which was closed in 1934 The railway ran parallel to the East Coast which is still roadless in parts and underdeveloped. So, the idea is to rebuild the track for S or 6 miles to allow tourists to enjoy the wild coastal scenery without the distraction of motor vehicles or destroying the environment. Should the Government approve the scheme, we shall be looking for volunteer working parties to clear the undergrowth along the old track!"

Waverley the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.
Two years ago the Society organised a very successful trip round the Isle of Wight on the Waverley and a very enjoyable cruise was enjoyed by about 50 members. Although we are not organising a Society cruise this year members may be interested to know the dates for the cruises in this area:—
SOUTH COAST: Saturday August 31st to Friday September 13th.
THAMES ESTUARY: Saturday September 14th to Sunday September 22nd.

For full details write for a timetable and price list to: Waverley Excursions Ltd.. Waverley Terminal, Anderston Quay, GLASGOW. Tel: 041 221 8152

 22k  14k  28k
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Feature Page
How much work remains to be done to complete restoration of the Basingstoke Canal? In November last year, Surrey County Council, in consultation with the Society, produced a detailed work programme. To give you the current situation at-a-glance, we've produced the schedule in graphic form.

It is not intended to be a definitive list of what, who and when the various jobs will be done. It is simply a guide to the major outstanding tasks, who is expected to do them and when.

We've added a note of work along the Hampshire length. In addition to towpath repairs, the 1/2-mile approach to Greywell Tunnel will be cleared by Hampshire CC. That leaves just three miles to be dredged to complete the 15-mile Hampshire length. That may not seem a great deal of work but at the present rate of progress — bearing in mind 'Perseverance' only operates at weekends — it will take another six years to reach Fleet. Conscious of the timescale, HCC anticipate the addition of a new mud barge, being built for the Council, may help the voluntary efforts, if not dramatically reduce the timescale.
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The temperature was well below freezing when Martin Smith, one of the Society's full-time work team, was out early one morning along the Deepcut flight of locks last winter. As he passed by Lock 18 he heard the distressed calls of a cat. He stopped to investigate and there, crouched on the top beam of one of the lock gates, he saw the cat seemingly unable to move. On closer inspection, Martin saw that the animal was in fact stuck — literally. It was frozen to the gate by its tail. Hardly believing it possible, he tried gently to free the tail, but without success. Only after some time spent thawing the tail with the warmth of his hands was he able to free the distraught creature and return it to its owners in Pirbright camp.

• At least two foxes drowned in the canal last winter — believed to have been victims of thin ice when the thaw set in after the prolonged freeze.
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It is nearly 20 years since twelve people met at a house in Brookwood to discuss how the 32-mile semi-derelict Basingstoke Canal might be saved.

That was in 1966 when the canal was still privately owned. As a result of the meeting, the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society was formed.

The canal's owner was opposed to restoration of the navigation. As a consequence the Society launched a well publicised campaign, lasting seven years, seeking public ownership and a policy of full restoration.

The ultimate success of the campaign culminated in November 1973 with Hampshire County Council's acquisition of the 15-mile western length from Greywell, near Odiham, to Ash Lock at Aldershot. Surrey County Council completed public ownership three years later by purchasing the 16-mile eastern end — which includes all but one of the canal's 29 locks - to the junction with the Wey Navigation at Byfleet.

Over the last 12 years, the local authorities including district councils in Surrey; volunteers organised by the Society and unemployed young people, working under various MSC schemes, have made remarkable progress towards restoring the 186-year old waterway. Now, with only 6 miles of the canal still to be dredged, and all but three of the locks restored or in the process of renovation, an account of how the canal was saved and the impressive restoration work achieved to date, appears in a new book entitled 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration', published on May 8th.

Written and compiled by Dieter Jebens and David Robinson, the 48-page book (8"x 9%") is published for the Society by Fulltone (Graphics) Ltd. The book contains 100 black and white photographs, printed in two colours, black and grey, by a continuous tone lithography process giving the photographs an unusual depth and clarity.

The book includes a chronology of the Basingstoke Canal's chequered commercial history from its conception in 1769, to 1947 when commercial traffic finally ended. In a Foreword, the Earl of Onslow, the Society's President, recalls his interest in waterways which started as a child on a family holiday spent canal cruising. Referring to the restoration of the Canal, Lord Onslow writes, "The book is a brief but fascinating story of the efforts of countless volunteers aided by imaginitive County Councils ... the Society has shown quite enormous stamina and faith. It is hard now with so much established, repaired and revitalised, to realise what the totally derelict canal of 1968 must have looked like to a dedicated band of enthusiasts who have been the driving force all these years".

Quite how daunting the task undertaken was, is graphically shown in several of the early photographs showing volunteers knee deep in mud, and the wilderness that had to be cleared.

Two pages are devoted to the Harmsworth family's period of ownership from 1922 when Mr A.J. Harmsworth bought the canal until his death in 1947. Although Alec Harmsworth's association with the canal is well known, his two brothers also became involved in the business, as did three of his sons and sons-in-law. In fact the family connection goes back to 1830 when Alec Harmsworth's grandfather was employed as lock-keeper at St John's, Woking. It is believed that the family's association can be traced back to 1796 when the 1,200 yard long Greywell tunnel was built.

The book not only records the tremendous amount of work already done to restore the canal; the participants, and some of the memorable events, it also includes a section on how the canal is already coming back into use. Highlight of the leisure activities is the 'John Pinkerton' trip boat operation which has raised over £70,000 for restoration funds, from charter and public trips.

The book includes a detailed fold-out map of the canal listing all the bridge crossings, access points, slipways and nearby public houses.

Available from local bookshops, priced £2.95, or by post from the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants, price £3.50 including post and packing.
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Hampshire canal rangers have now completed re­building silt traps at Broad Oak. They went on to spend three weeks preparing the ground for a new riparian silt dump site adjacent to the old swing bridge site east of Double Bridge at Dogrnersfield.

Rangers have also continued thinning trees on Ash Embankment and will be undertaking tree surgery along the canal through Fleet.

Planting has also been on the work schedule with new hedges laid out at the old silt dump side at Goddards Farm and at Double Bridge where sycamores were taken down last year and the badly eroded towpath raised.

A new 60' steel mud barge is being built at British Ship Builders' Porchester yard, together with a steel work boat similar to the timber built 'Mudlark'.

At Colt Hill work will start as soon a legal problems concerning commoners' rights are resolved, to construct drainage facilities and provide public toilet facilities — of a temporary nature this year. A car park will be laid out.

In Surrey, it is reported that the water level through Ash has been raised by another two inches with no ill effects at the moment. It is planned to continue raising the level by 2" at a time until a normal navigational level is reached. Even now, a SCC spokesman considered, the level was sufficient for boating this season.

The towpath level has been raised along the Deepcut length. Dredging the flash adjacent to Hermitage Bridge continues. Up to 2,000 tons of material is being excavated to enlarge the flash and make it suitable as a winding hole. Mud has now been cleared from the towpath between Hermitage and Brookwood bridges following dredgering operations. The length will continue to remain officially closed until the work has been completed. All scheduled tree surgery has been completed.

At Sheerwater, Lock 6 is progressing well and Woking Borough Council is expected to have completed all the chamber work leaving only new gates to fit, construction of which is out to tender.

Surrey rangers have cleared the towpath between Monument and Sheerwater bridges which had not been touched for eight years and had become almost impassable.

Tree surgery and general maintenance work has been carried out between Locks 1-3. The aftermath of the freeze-up has revealed a considerable amount of rubbish dumping in the canal.
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A poster or handbill is enclosed with this Newsletter, promoting the Society and urging people to join and so help progress the canal's restoration. Would you kindly find a suitable noticeboard on which to pin the poster at work, club, shop or pub — anywhere people may see it. It is important to recruit new members, for like all societies, existing ones move away or drop out for one reason or another.

Please help recruit new members by finding a suitable place to display this poster. There are a lot of people who support us and just need a note of our address to finally take action by applying for membership. If every existing member recruited just one new person, we might almost be embarrassed at our increased size.
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Committee member Chris Brazier, with the help of his wife Janet, has taken on the job of Membership Secretary. Our thanks to Bob Trott, who has kept the records straight since 1983.

Chris and Janet joined the Society in 1974. Chris has been working party leader and took up the pen for a spell as co-editor of the Newsletter. He was closely involved in establishing and running the NB 'Return' holiday boat.

In taking over Membership adminstration, Chris makes this appeal to all members:
If you pay by Bankers Order ....
Please check that you've instructed your bank to pay your 1985 subscription at the new rate.
Junior (under 18, OAP)
Membership £2.00
Adult Membership £6.50
Family Membership £7.50
Group Membership £10.00
Life Membership £80.00

If your bank has already paid your subscription at the old rate, you can send Chris Brazier the difference so that you are fully paid up for the current year.
If you pay by cheque, cash or money order.... Please renew your subscription — our strength through a healthy membership is vital to maintain the Society's ability to provide the support needed to complete the canal's restoration.

If you are not sure whether you have paid, Chris will be pleased to tell you! And don't forget to pay at the new rate listed above.

The added value of a Covenant....
If you are a tax payer, the Society can reclaim tax at the standard rate on your subscription, however you pay, if you complete a Covenant for a minimum of 4 years. You are under no commitment by signing a Covenant. If your membership lapses for what ever reason, the Covenant is no longer effective. It costs you nothing but the Society gains extra funds.

Forms are available from:
Chris Brazier, Membership Secretary,
Hutton Road,
Ash Vale,
Telephone: Aldershot 25460
And finally. Banker's Standing Orders .... cut down administration work. Please consider instructing your Bank to pay your membership subscription by Standing Order. It saves you remembering and it saves us time.

We wish Chris and Janet every success in taking on this important job in the Society.
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Caught off balance this time is the well known personality of Philip Pratt. Well known for his various films about the Basingstoke, Phil also produces pen and ink sketches of the Canal. Although he claims that he can't think how he came to be Exhibition Organiser, we gather he was asked one day to transport the Society's equipment on his roof rack — no doubt he took it home too!

Phil is now retired and has been since 1979 but we gather he is a "responsible tenant" where he lives. We can't imagine Phil being anything else somehow! Sorry Phil. Other activities that he finds time for beside his extensive involvement with the Canal include acting as a driver for the mentally handicapped; Phil's 4 daughters, 15 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren must keep him pretty busy too.

Philip George, to use his full names, has provided such a colourful image of himself that we unashamedly use it. Over to you, Phil!

"Really I am just as ordinary as most folk. Born in Birmingham 70 years ago. Lived far too close to Gas Street Canal Basin for mother's liking where falling in, learning to swim and scavenging from the murky depths was a way of life. Watching the building of day boats, smell of tar and oozing grease. If there had been 'A' and '0' Levels at this stage of my 5 to 14 years of education I would have passed with flying Fellows, Morton and Clayton colours — with a Degree or two as a vet, on horses and mules.

'To make me respectful and hopefully a silversmith, my dear mother (with the assistance of my uncle) farmed me out to a goldsmith and silversmith to learn engine turning and engraving — it seems I was always drawing and sketching and it was thought I may make some financial assistance towards the housekeeping besides taking me away from my towpaths on the BCN. After 3% years the only turning I did was on the many errands I undertook — enough was enough — at 17% years I enlisted in the 60th Rifles.

"Belfast, India and Burma behind me and a short skirmish with Hitler on the Western Front. A wife, four medals, one for each daughter, and a fairly large house in Swindon at a cost of £750 (mind you it was only 1948) and my wage as an assistant linesman on the Great Western Railway was £3.10 shillings a week. After about five years fighting the elements day and night (things on the railway only go wrong in the worst weather) I packed up and joined my wife in the nursing world — made our way to Bournemouth and started a nursing home. On deciding that it was not on, working with my wife, I decided in 1968 to join the operating theatre team as technician at Poole.

"It was at Poole General Hospital I met Joyce my present wife. She was working in the sterilising department in theatre. "My next move (in 1973) to Surrey was to nurse and care for Lord Skelmersdale in Cove, Farnborough. It was on our time off we discovered the 'Basingstoke Canal'. My thoughts went back to the BCN days, traces of canal water was in my veins — something I must do to revitalise this waterway. To make some cine film of it was my intention.

"When his Lordship died in 1975 I had intended to move back to Poole, but by this time I had become so involved in the Canal Society, I decided to stay. As a result I took a job with a building society — regular 9 to 5 employment.

"I cannot quite remember the exact date, but it was at Farncombe Boathouse on the River Wey about 10 years ago. I found myself with the Member Exhibition Boards belonging to the Canal Society. I just can't think how I became the exhibition organiser.

"To answer the question about "Why do I assist the Society?" — I just don't have time to think about it, unless it is to enable the younger children of today to share the joys of canal life as I knew it when I was their age".
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The course of the Basingstoke Canal's contemporary history might have led to a speedier takeover and perhaps quite a different management structure today, following the Society's formation in 1966.

As the Society's guest speaker at the Prince of Wales, Fleet, in March, Mr L.A. Edwards revealed that he wrote to the Society's founding committee suggesting that the derelict canal could be transferred to a Trust.

Under the Railway and Canal Act of 1888, Mr Edwards claimed, there was a provision for the administration of an ailing waterway to be transferred to a Trust capable of maintaining the navigation.

Teddy Edwards' letter went unanswered and by 1968 the pertinent clauses were watered down' in the new Transport Act. But Mr Edwards believes that if action had been taken prior to 1968, the Society might not have had to sustain its seven year campaign for restoration.
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Catering for private parties of all ages and tastes, with excellent Audio and full lightshow. Co-Presenters Rob James and Martin Hill are sure to please — be it a private party, wedding or just a good knees up.
For full details phone:
ROB 01-394-0857
MARTIN (0932)225883
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"Basingstoke Canal Restoration" by Dieter Jebens and David Robinson. 48pp, 9%in x 7%in. Published by Fulltone (Graphics) Ltd., for the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society £2.95 (by Mail Order £3.50 incl. p. & p.)

I think that it was in 1958, when, as a Junior Member of the Inland Waterways Association, I joined my first canal working party on the Basingstoke, near its junction with the Wey. We hacked at tree growth throughout a winter Sunday and at nightfall gathered for tea aboard Mr Roy Mack's elegant narrow boat conversion 'Hawke'. Much of the waterway then remained navigable with great difficulty as was shown at Easter 1962 when I was part of a flotilla of over 30 craft which negotiated the lowest six locks to gather for a rally in Woking. But any idea of longterm improvements seemed a forlorn hope.

On the Committee of the London & Home Counties Branch of the IWA, the subject of the Canal arose with almost weary regularity. Indeed, the protestations of Mr Jim Woolgar that insufficient was being done to secure restoration, threatened to occupy so much Committee time that he was instructed to go off and form his own society for that very purpose. So began the S & H C S. Few of us then dreamed of the successes which would materialise.

This book is typical of the sheer hard work and quality that has characterised Society activities. Beautifully produced in terms of photography, text and print­ing, it is a mainly pictorial record of the restoration years, assembled with the flair for publicity that I have long associated with Dieter Jebens and his colleagues. The reproduction of the pictures is little short of outstanding.

Here then, is something of the Basingstoke Canal's history, its transfer to the Surrey and Hampshire County Councils, the painstaking rebuilding of locks and bridges, and the various open days, rallies and fund-raising events that have enabled work to progress with such amazing results.

Fully recorded, too, is the Society's policy of gaining the active support of public figures and personalities; their long-serving President, the Earl of Onslow, (a waterways enthusiast since childhood), contributes a Foreword. And the participation of numerous other notabilities is recalled among the illustrations.

With a large and detailed folding map of the line from West Byfleet to Odiham, this book is a valuable account of what can be achieved by hard work and single-minded determination. Let us hope that in years to come, when boats pour in from the Thames and the towpath is enjoyed to the full by walkers and anglers, the new generations of users will remember the efforts of the enthusiasts of the 1960's, 70's and 80's. This book will help keep that memory alive. It is quite the best example of its kind I have ever seen. HUGH McKNIGHT
Editor's Note: Hugh McKnight is a leading photographer and author of books on inland waterways, both in the UK and abroad. His most recent book "Cruising French Waterways"(StanfordMaritime Ltd., £15.95) won the Thomas Cook Guide Book Award for 1984. The new book proved so popular, it had to be reprinted within seven weeks of publication. Another successful title of his is "The Guinness Guide to Waterways of Western Europe ". Hugh McKnight is also the proprietor of the publishing house, Shepperton Swan Ltd., due to launch several new titles later this Year. He is now in the process of compiling a Mail Order Catalogue listing all worthwhile books and maps for inland waterways in all parts of the world.
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The fascinating story of how Aldershot Heath was chosen as a suitable site for an army camp in 1854, and its development to become the only complete military town built in the UK since the Roman occupation, is set out in the Aldershot Military Museum in Queens Avenue, Aldershot.

The Basingstoke Canal was used to transport timber to build the first hutted camp in 1855 on both the north and south banks of the canal near the Farnborough Road crossing. At that time Aldershot Village had a population of 850.

In the 1880's and 1890's, the camp was replaced by permanent brick built barracks including schools, hospitals, a reservoir, power station and sewage works — complete with its own bye-laws.

Aldershot became the home of the 1 st and 2nd Divisions comprising the bulk of the 1 st British Army Corps. The British Expeditionary Forces set out for France from Aldershot in 1914 and again in 1939.

"The Home of the British Army," which also became the base for the Canadian Army throughout World War II, today has a military population of 25,000. The Museum is run by the Aldershot Military Historical Trust under the honorary directorship of Brigadier W.J. Reid. Well displayed photographic enlargements, suitably captioned, and some excellent models show how the camp started and living conditions for troops and officers. The displays include the start of military aviation with the experimental work of Colonel Samuel F. Cody in developing aircraft. He made the first officially recognised powered flight in the UK on Laffans Plain, now the site of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.

The museum is manned by civilian volunteers and new 'recruits' are always welcome. You don't need to have a knowledge of military history to become a guide since a thorough knowledge can be gained from the displays.

For further details phone Jennifer Alderson on Aldershot 314598. Go anyway as a visitor: the museum is open daily March-October 10.00am — 5.00pm, November-February 10.00am - 4.30pm. (Closed 24th-26th December).

New Members
LEWIS FAMILY - Church Crookham
MR J. NOLAN - Ascot
REID FAMILY - Weybridge
MR C. STEELE - Woking
MR J. PROFIT - Winchfield
MR B. TAYLOR - Weybridge
LT. COL. C.R.D. GRAY - Greywell
MR M. YOUNG - Redhill
MR. J.E.A. BARTON - Woodham
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Fund Raising News
SPONSORED WALK 1985 - Sunday 19 May
Please do your best to make liiis year's walk a resounding success. We don't care who you bully to join in or coerce into sponsorship — Frank and the boys need the money! The route is different (and a bit shorter for those doing the whole lot). We're throwing in a bit of the Wey and, thanks to the IWA, a ferry. All we need is people — to walk and a few to help.

Information and spare booklets can be had from: Derek Truman, 91 Tavistock Road, Fleet {Fleet 3435); VicTrott,21 Lime Grove, Westfield,Woking(Woking 68607) and offers of help as marshals to Graham Meade, 89 Tavistock Road, Fleet (Fleet 29466).

No, you're not seeing double, nor are your news-hounds a bit slow off the mark. But the wheels turn slowly. Last year's winners of the special awards were:
Aldershot Manor School - £300 for the Society
St Peters Hospital, Chertsey - £427 for the Society.
Both win a free trip on the John Pinkerton. Mr and Mrs R. Sharp (who raised £162 for the SHCS and the same for the National Trust.
Mr G. Wycherley - £270 - all for the SHCS.
Both win cups for their efforts and all win our gratitude.

200 CLUB
The February winners were: Mr A.C. Marchant£40 MrD.S. Hitchens£19 MrH.E. Cottrell£10 Mr C.V.Jones £10

We have done a little better this year with 8 members to date. Many thanks to all of you who have joined.

The Annual Prize Draw — tickets should be out with the next issue — please try to help us double last year's effort of £675.

Does anyone have contacts with senior members of profitable firms who might be persuaded to look favourably on a very worthwhile charity? It's the personal contact which is important. Any information to Derek Truman, please. (Tel: Flee! 3435).
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The Public Enquiry into the Brookwood Lye development, proposed by Arundell Securities, is to be reconvened on 9th July. Submissions must be made by 7th June, and the Society will monitor events carefully.

Our member Andrew Case of Wickham near Fareham, sent us the advertisement right, culled from the Estates Times, dated 8th March.

As he comments, The shape of things to come!' Have our readers any views on the collage portraying the Costa del Sol skyline with 'a leisurely voyage of discovery through the English Shires', as painted by the boating holiday brochures.
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Dear Sir,
I was very interested in the letter from Mr Hammond regarding ihe discussion on holding an IWA National Rally on the Basingstoke. and must agree with him regarding the problem of water supply.

The IWA have to consider quite a number of items before deciding on a venue for a National Rally. Apart from the main problem of water supply, they include:— the size of the site itself, for land based activities, which must be quite large; moorings for over 400 boats means over two miles of suitable bank; local campaign prospects for restoration projects in the area; what part of the country the rally will take place (we try to vary the sites around the country).

For 1986, the venue is to be Brentford, this section of the Grand Union Canal is fed with water from the river Brent. The following year the site will probably be in the Manchester area, while for 1988 the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust have asked us to Newbury (if opened up by then), this section of canal is fed by the river Kennet.

As most visitors to a National Rally come from an area north of the Thames, visiting the Basingstoke can be a somewhat expensive proposition for the average boater, who will need a licence not only for BWB, but the Thames, River Wey and the Basingstoke as well. With the expertise available locally from both the Surrey and Hants, who are holding the Rally at Ash in June, and the IWA, who are holding the Guild ford Festival in July, 1 am sure that a combined effort would produce a very worth while collection of craft on a smaller scale, without de-watering the canal in the process.

Let us hope that in 1988/89 we will all see it happen. Yours sincerely, BRIAN PERCY, Hon Secretary Guildford & Reading Branch, Inland Waterway Association. (Waterspace Manager 1986 National Rally Brentford)

hotel ad 20k)

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LETTER from America from Capt. Bill McKelvey of Berkeley Heights seeking a couple of slides of 'Perseverance', after seeing Dr Roger Squires' (author of 'The New Navvies') restoration slide show. He also requested a piece of the Deepcut railway line as a 'serious collector of sample pieces of railway rail'! How about it Stan?
LIFT-BRIDGE at North Warnborough is to be replaced with a bascule type lift bridge to be found on the Oxford Canal. HCC has drawn up a design which could be installed later this year or early in 1986, subject to funds.
BRITISH Waterways Board is sponsoring the Inland Waterways Association's National Rally at Milton Keynes this year (24th-25th August), along with the National Trailboat Rally at Pewsey and the Ellesmere Port International Waterways Festival (both being held on 25th-27th May). Congratulations to those (on both sides) who negotiated this obvious and mutually beneficial deal.
POSTMEN or ladies wanted to deliver Newsletters in Guildford (London Road and Merrow districts) and also in Aldershot. Volunteers please, to help save the Society costly postage. Apply to Janet and George Hedger, telephone Fleet 7465.
FILM show at Woking Centre Halls, introduced by John Huntley, raised £151 from sale of tickets, for the Society.
COMPLAINT made to Surrey CC for length of time taken to confirm Conservation Area along Surrey's length of canal. What's the hold-up?
THANKS and appreciation for work done, as Minutes Secretary to Executive Committee, sent to Gwen Carlton of Fleet.
TRIP boat season started well with over 80 charter bookings and full public trips over the Easter holiday, despite the cool, wet weather.
STUDY centre at Losehill Hall, Castleton, in the Peak District, is running courses on canals and railways. Phone the principal, Peter Townsend for details: Hope Valley (0433)20373.
200 CLUB is expected to raise nearly £1,000 this year, thanks to its founder and organiser, Derek Truman and its supportive members.
GREETINGS to our members Edith and John Wigzell, currently in Belfast. Temporarily away from the Basingstoke, they've been keeping us informed on welcome developments on Irish Canals. Responsibility for the Grand and Royal Canals has recently been transferred to the Office of Public Works, giving the prospect of restor­ation a positive fillip. Work has already been done on the 95-mile Royal Canal which links Dublin with the Shannon, much of it by the active Royal Canal Amenity Group. Edith and John walked a length of the canal at Thomastown last year and it reminded them of the Basingstoke between Colt Hill and North Warnborough.
ANOTHER successful Jumble Sale at Fleet raised £147 for Society funds. Thanks to all who supplied Jumble and helped at the Sale.
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Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity.
Editors: Dieter Jebens, Chris de Wet. Production: Jo Evans.
Collation and Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Clive Durley and Helpers.
Editorial Office: 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ. (Farnham 715230).
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking. (Chobham 7314).
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet. (Fleet 7364).
Hon. Treasurer: Peter Fethney, 5 Longdown, Courtmoor, Fleet. (Fleet 5524).
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy. (Worplesdon 234776).
Membership Secretary: Chris Brazier, Heathlands, Hutton Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5EJ. (Aldershot 25460).
Working Party Organiser: Mike Fellows, 30 Reynards Close, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berks. (Wokingham 787428).
Dredger Manager: Andy Stumpf, 37 Higham Road, Chesham, Bucks. (0494 785720).
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, Aldershot 313076 and Peter Cooper, 01-993 1105.
Trip Boat: Ron Hursey, 119 Keith Lucas Road, Farnborough. (Farnborough 519619).
Sales Manager: Aubrey Slaughter, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants. GU13 9NB. (Fleet 23102).
Mobile Sales Stand: Martin Bowers, 162 West Heath Road, Cove. (Farnborough 513095).
Talks Organiser: Pauline Hadlow, Beaulah, Parkstone Drive, Camberley. (Camberley 28367).
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5 Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet. (West Byfleet 40281).
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Last updated April 2005