Butlins Elephants

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Butlins Elephants

Postby Butlin Fan » Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:30 pm

I have just come back from skegness and the bloke on the gate said charlie is burried under the roundabout by the main gate. As soon as he said this I was sure that charlie was buried in Filey. There are two option. !. The man on the gate was wrong and the elephant was not burried there. 2. Maybe there were 2 charlies, one for each camp. I just think he was wrong.
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Postby SkegRed » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:57 am

Butlin Fan, l think the gate man told you a little porky as the Elephant "Gertrude" was definately lifted out(after two attempts as the chains broke or slipped first time)
Although the pool was partitioned off we could see it being lifted over the top

Although the South swimming pool was where the roundabout is at the main gate now where she drowned in 1962.

lt really took it out of Steve her keeper who also worked Casual at nights backstage in the Gaiety he got so attatched to her,

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Postby Joker » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:22 am

Charlie was and still is at Filey, after the problems Billy had getting him to Filey he had no plans to move him again !

As SkegRed says Gertrude died in the south swimming pool at Skegness, and rumors have been about that the pool was filled in with her still in there. This was not the case.

The chap on the gate has got the facts mixed up or the passing of time has mixed the story. The only part that is correct it the location of the pool.

Billy also had other elephants, Salt and Sauce one died a week after getting stuck in a lake (not at Butlins) and the other died of old age at Skegness before the arrival of Gertude.

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Postby Butlin Fan » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:17 pm

I remeber about the chains breaking from the Billy Butlin autobiography (A brilliant book). Where did they bury her then? Its great to talk to people who were actually at these historical events.
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Postby SkegRed » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:57 pm

lt was suggested the elephant was buried on the large Sportsfield(Now a large Car park,Skegness end)but it wasnt ,as the sportsfield was used every day for Football coaching and matches,and also Cricket coaching and matches

Also we held a Gala Sports Day on there weekly so it was not buried on the Camp

l should say the only one who would know would be Steve his keeper who lived in lngoldmells ,and although l have been to Butlins Skegness lots and lots of times since l have never seen or heard of him since.

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Postby Butlin Fan » Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:22 pm

Thanks Skegred.
We have a bit of a mystery on our hands.
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Postby Joker » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:27 am

I think the reason Charlie was buried on site at Filey was due to his size, Male elephants are a lot bigger than female. When Charlie was moved from Ayr to Filey he was transported in a reinforced truck traveling at around walking pace.

Andy can you remember where the Elephant house was ?

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Postby SkegRed » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:30 pm

Do you know Alex (Joker) l dont know where the Elephant House was ,the most likely place would have been be on the Sports field(Skeggy end) where all the transport lorrys,Butlin Buses, and Camp trains and servicing, and large storage was done, on the sea and coast side there was Lots of room.

ln all my six seasons l truly can only remember seeing the Elephant "ONCE" and that was in July 1962 when it ran past me followed by Steve the trainer at a Gallop to the pool,and my many Redcoat duties took me All over the camp, so l would have seen her some times.

Also l dont think Gertrude came to Butlins from Pwheli till 1962 as l have not got her in any photos l have or any one elses ,

l am adding a write up of the Filey Elephants l seem to have ,and theres a write up of a Terry Rainsford,trainee bar manager seeing Steve the keeper washing the elephants head but that morning, but she (the Elephant) was in a gallop when she passed me, so cant see him doing that that day before it drowned itself in the deep end( he could have done though l suppose),

Hope the write up is readable

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Postby Joker » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:36 pm

Thanks for that Andy. Whats the title of the book and can you scan the next page ?

The Elephant house at Filey was next to the stables but the only mention of stables at Skegness is in the 70's on the other side of the road !!!

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Postby SkegRed » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:58 pm

Sorry to say thats all l have of the Elephant book! Alex

My Redcoat friend Joyce from Somerset emailed it to me over 2yrs ago with more photos of the time we were Redcoats together in the 60s at Skegness.(you met her last year at Minehead when she came for the day to our mini Reunion).

lt was only a photo but as l email her very regularly l'll ask if she has the book

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Postby SkegRed » Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:32 am

Here is the following page of Skegness Elephant Gertrude

My exRedcoat friend Joyce says all about the Butlin Elephants are in "Hello Campers" by Sue Read




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Postby SkegRed » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:49 am

There were 4 pages of Elephants in "Hello Camper" Book,

here are the other 3 pages



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Postby Butlin Fan » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:23 pm

I've got this book. Found it on a book stall along the thames years ago. Def worth getting if you can find it.
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Postby Jaybee » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:58 pm

My sister and I riding Big Charlie around 1960.[/b] and Big Charlie and Sheik Ibrahim, his mahout.
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