Lydd is a town in Kent, England, lying on the Romney Marsh. It is one of the larger villages on the marsh, and the most southerly village in Kent. Lydd reached the height of its prosperity during the 13th century, when it was a corporate member of the Cinque Ports, a "limb" of Romney. Actually located on Denge Marsh, Lydd was one of the first sandy islands to form as the bay evolved into what is now called the Romney Marsh. The name Hlyda, which derives from the Latin word for "shore", was found in a Saxon charter dating from the 8th century.
Lydd developed as a settlement during the Romano-British period on a shingle island when the coast at the time cut off Lydd from the mainland. The settlement continued into the Saxon period, with the Saxon church using Roman materials as part of its early construction. The town reached the height of its prosperity during the 13th century, when it was a corporate member of the Cinque Ports, a "limb" of Romney. As with much of the marsh, the town was a base for smuggling in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Before the First World War Lydd became an important artillery practice camp. Experiments with high explosives carried out on the shingle wastes around 1888 led to the invention of the explosive Lyddite. Lydd was at one time a garrison town and the area is still an important training ground for the armed forces, at one time having an extensive narrow gauge railway network.
Second World War
In September 1940, one of four young Dutch men who had landed on the coast between Hythe and Dungeness in a rowing boat, was arrested for spying shortly after drinking at the Rising Sun pub. Three of them were hanged at Pentonville Prison.
On 21 October, a Dornier was forced to land at the Lydd aerodrome, short of fuel, having been confused in his bearings whilst attempting to return to France, by the use of recently invented equipment devised to interrupt the homing beams sent from Germany to guide such planes. The Dornier was the first example of this new type of bomber to fall into the hands of British Intelligence. Lydd's wartime airfield was situated north of the town - only one Nissen hut now remains.
A Wellington bomber had the misfortune to crash-land on 26 June on returning from a 1,500-plane attack on Bremen. The 19-year-old pilot managed to get the plane down safely near Lydd, and the crew survived the crash, but were not certain they were in England until rescuers came to their assistance.
On the 27 November, a train came under attack by two Focke-Wulf 190s. The train, hauled by Southern Railway D3 number 2365 which was just departing from Lydd Town railway station, had its boiler hit. The resulting jet of high pressure steam from the engine hit the plane, causing it to crash-land nearby, the pilot was found dead, but no railway staff or passengers were injured. The two planes, had been heading over the coast after a raid on Ashford.