Drunken Day-Trippers Posed Threat to Anglo-French Relations

By Gray, Chris | The Independent (London, England), January 3, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Drunken Day-Trippers Posed Threat to Anglo-French Relations


Gray, Chris, The Independent (London, England)


DRUNKEN BEHAVIOUR by day trippers "high on cheap liquor" in Calais became such a problem in the mid-Sixties that the British ambassador in Paris feared it would damage Anglo-French relations.

British embassy staff in the French capital asked colleagues in London to put pressure on the ferry company running the most notoriously rowdy trip after a cafe owner in the port was badly hurt by British tourists.

The proprietor, a Mr Del-dyck, who ran the Pingouin bar in Calais, petitioned the Queen for help after he was left with potentially permanent injuries from an attack in June 1965. In response, British embassy staff in Paris began looking for ways to persuade the ferry companies to rein in their rowdy customers.

Documents released by the Public Record Office yesterday show that Harold Barham, the British ambassador in Paris, told Foreign Office officials in London in 1965 the preferred solution of authorities in Calais was for a cut in opening hours on board the MV Royal Daffodil. Its weekend trips were held responsible for most of the trouble. "Many of the excursionists taking advantage of cheap liquor were already pretty high by the time they arrived in Calais," after the four-and-a- half-hour crossing, he warned.

Mr Barham recommended that the ferry operator, General Steam Navigation Company (GSNC), should be asked to "improve discipline", take out insurance to cover bar owners in Calais and make a goodwill payment to Mr Deldyck.

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