Cinque Ports Rotary Clubs, raid on Dover

Rotarians from eleven towns, all associated with the Confederation of the Cinque Ports, joined together at The Leaf Hotel at Whitfield on Thursday, November 28. The group only meets once a year and, on this occasion, there were 34 visitors from Kent and Sussex present, along with 25 members of Dover Rotary Club. Those present came from: Deal, Faversham, Folkestone, Hastings, Hythe, Margate, Romney Marsh, Sandwich, South Foreland, Tenterden and, of course, Dover. Chairman of the luncheon meeting was David Fisher, the Dover club’s president.

Speaker was Donald Soppitt, District Governor, who provided a dramatic story about his life that ranged from his education in India to the days when he served as a Royal Navy officer under the Arctic ice.

Born in 1937 he was aged four when he sailed with his family for Asia on a ship carrying crated Spitfires and Hurricane aircraft prepared for use against the Japanese enemy. But each port, where the ship’s crew was due to discharge the vital war cargo, the advancing Japanese in 1942 got there first.Eventually, still a child, he ended up in India where he went to a boarding school, run by American Methodists, in the Himalayas before returning to the UK in 1946. Back home he went to a school where one of his classmates was Ken Clark, the former Father of the House of Commons.

Donald, a member of Dover Rotary Club, went to naval college and was promoted to a Royal Navy officer opting to serve on submarines. He related the various craft on which he served including spells of duty deep under the Arctic ice.

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