Bexhill’s Soldiers

STEVENS Jack [Left] STEVENS Louis Percival [Lu] [Middle] PARBERY John Henry [Jack] [Right] reducedThe men of Bexhill who enlisted or later were conscripted, served in the army, navy and air force and fought in all theatres of war. In 1918 the Bexhill Observer claimed that at least 2000 Bexhill men had served during the First World War.

Through research for the Bexhill Remembers project, the Museum discovered the real figure was over 3500 men. One of the aims of Bexhill Remembers was to rediscover the identities and stories of these men as well as the women and civilians who contributed to the war effort and experienced the First World War from Bexhill.

Voices from the Front

The local newspapers, the Bexhill Observer and the Bexhill Chronicle, regularly published letters and reports from local men who were away serving at the Fronts. These letters and reports often included detailed accounts of what the men were enduring and provided an invaluable insight into their experiences written in their own words. Bexhill Remembers has gathered them together.

Voices from Hill 60

During the Battle of Hill 60, the 20th April 1915, was probably the day Bexhill suffered its greatest loss of life in one action. Six were killed and one, possibly four more, later succumbed to their wounds. Three other Bexhillians were also known to have been wounded. Some of the Bexhill men who participated in this action shared their stories in letters home to family and friends. These letters were then published in the local newspapers.

Bexhill’s Prisoners of War

Following the end of the War, in 1918 and 1919 returning prisoners of war also began to share their stories of their time in the prison camps with the local newspapers. At least 37 Bexhill men were prisoners of war between 1914-1918. The accounts of their imprisonment highlighted the suffering and terrible conditions within some of the camps as well as escape plans, treatment, and how they all seemed to be completely reliant of Red Cross Parcels for their survival. In Bexhill these much needed parcels were organised by Mrs Kate Rawlins of Rotherfield Avenue. When these men returned Mrs Rawlins organised a special welcome home dinner for them, and their names were listed in the Bexhill Observer.

More information about specific Bexhill men can be found in the Individuals section.

You can also find out more by searching our directory of individuals involved in WW1

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