Civilian War Dead

Bexhill is unusual in having a memorial to its civilians who lost their lives during the Second World War.

On Wednesday 14th October 2015 the installation took place of a new commemorative plaque to the civilian war dead of Bexhill, at Marina Court Gardens. This replaced and updated the plaque that was at the south western corner of the De La Warr Pavilion car park.

The origin of this plaque lay in a scroll presented to Bexhill Borough by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [CWGC] which listed those 21 civilians who had lost their lives within the boundaries of Bexhill borough through enemy action. Not all the persons listed were Bexhillians.

The system of notification of death was changed due to expected number of air raid deaths and such deaths were reported by individual local authorities direct to the Registrar General who copied them to the CWGC who were compiling a register of civilian war dead – felt to be an omission from First World War records.

The Scroll was framed and for many years was mounted on the wall at the town hall by the entrance to the
council chamber but often hidden when the door was open.

There the matter rested for many years until the Chairman of Rother District Council, Councillor Christine Bayliss, became aware of the interest shown in the

framed scroll by visiting members of the public who, during the chairman’s Friday afternoon tours of the Town Hall, had commented on the inadequacy of the existing memorial.

In 1995 the 50th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities was approaching and she moved for a publicly accessible monument to be created. This matter was duly taken up by Rother District Council and the Bexhill Observer. With representations from the public, three names

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Roll of Honour Civilian War Dead Memorial, Marina. Photo by Paul Wright, October 2007. (Memorial now housed in Bexhill Museum)

were added. This lead to three names of Bexhillians who died outside of the borough being added to the public memorial and so the criterion of the scroll changed.

This public consultation was as good as the means and methods pertaining at that time. Twenty years later and with specialist research using information technology, further names of Bexhillians who were killed outside the borough were discovered.

In 2014 a public consultation was held to see if there were any further names to consider. Mrs Barbara Wright gave
the details of her grandfather George Gatey, killed by a mine, and Ian Cheese gave the details of his cousin Anthony Cheese who was killed by an army vehicle.

This led to the consideration of deaths not attributable to direct enemy action. A search was made of the Coroner’s case indices for the 1939-1945 period which gave the details of four more traffic accidents involving military vehicles and a case of death from shock through strafing.

The scroll and the original public memorial are now in the custody of the museum.

The unveiling of the memorial on 30th November 2015, on Marina Court.

Notes on Individuals

ADAMSON     Ada Mary, 73, Proprietor of Suffolk House, Brassey Road, a guest house. One of four killed by a tip and run raid 02 January 1943. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

BARKER        Albert Victor, 19, of 3, Laurel Cottages, Sidley. Shop delivery boy. Also served with the Home Guard and also as an ARP messenger. Killed Devonshire Road 11 December 1940.  Buried Bexhill Cemetery

CANA             Jane Charlotte, 84, One of four killed by a tip and run raid at Suffolk House, Brassey Road 02 January 1943. Rescued but died after admission to hospital. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

CHEESE        Anthony John, 3, of 7, Peartree Crescent. Road traffic accident involving a military vehicle at Peartree Lane 18 August 1941. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

COLLINS       Constance ,23, of Flat 2, Cooden Motor Engineering Co. Ltd., Bexhill-on-Sea. Killed by strafing in Main Road at Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux 28 October 1940

COLLIS          Leslie John, 44, Proprietor of a chemist shop, L J Collis & Co. Also served with the Observer Corps. Killed at his shop 34 St Leonards Road 26 September 1940. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

CORKE           Edith Lilian, 39, One of four killed by a tip and run raid at Suffolk House, Brassey Road 02 January 1943. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

COVENTRY  Eleanor May, 65, One of four killed by a tip and run raid at Suffolk House, Brassey Road 02 January 1943. Her husband Theodore and daughter Eleanor were injured. Cremated Brighton

COVERDALE       Annie Louisa, 75, Badly injured at home 42 Bancroft Road 19 September 1940 along with sister Evelyn. Died later that day in Bexhill Hospital. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

COVERDALE       Evelyn, 62, Badly injured at home 42 Bancroft Road 19 September 1940 along with sister Annie. Died later that day in Bexhill Hospital. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

CROFT           John, 41, Plumber of 12 North Road, Sidley. Killed at Twinehams, Buckhurst Road 19 September 1940. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

CURTEIS       Leslie Robert, 38, Fireman of 41, Dalehurst Crescent. Road traffic accident involving a military vehicle at Ellerslie Lane 10 September 1941. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

DAY                Horace, 66, of 6, Glenleigh Avenue. Died from shock from strafing 20 January 1943. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

DAY                William Montgomery, 59, of 127 Bulverhythe Road, St Leonards. Injured in a tip and run raid 28 January 1943 at Hastings Gasworks. Died of injuries Bexhill Hospital 10th February 1943. Buried Hastings Cemetery

ETTERIDGE  Ivy, 23, Nurse of 120 Buxton Drive. Killed Weston Super Mare 28 June 1942. The town subjected to two nights of bombing

FENNER         Arthur, 65, of Timberdene, Peartree Lane. Injured 24 September 1942, at Seaford. Died at Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton 6 December 1942. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

FEW                Edith Eliza, 65, of 7, Westfield Road. Killed by a tip and run raid at 7, Westville Road 23 May 1943. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

GATEY           George, 66, of The Corner, Barnhorn Road. Killed by a mine at Cooden Beach golf course 22 July 1940. Buried St Marks Churchyard

GOSDEN        Fred, 45, Fireman of 59, Reginald Road. Killed at 5 Wilmington Terrace, Eastbourne 15 January 1943. Buried Ocklynge Cemetery, Eastbourne

HARMER       William James, 41, of 59, Chandler Road. Road traffic accident involving a military vehicle at London Road, Battle 06 August 1942. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

KERLEY        Frederick George, 45, of 5, Reginald Road. Injured Devonshire Road 11 December 1940. Died the same day at Bexhill Hospital. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

LAWRENCE  Margaret Isobel, 55, killed at home, with daughter, 10 Woodsgate Avenue 29 September 1940 Buried Bexhill Cemetery

LAWRENCE  Margaret, 25, Killed at home, with mother, 10, Woodsgate Avenue 29 September 1940. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

LUCAS           Jessie, 68, of 76, Wickham Avenue. Road traffic accident involving a military vehicle at Wickham Avenue 21 December 1944. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

MASSEY         Caroline, 68, Killed at home, along with Mrs and Miss Lawrence, 10 Woodsgate Avenue 29 September 1940. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

MEPHAM       Thomas, 69, of 57, Amherst Road. Founder of T Mepham & Sons removal company. Injured at home 08 October 1940. Died Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom 04 November 1940. His wife, sister in law and grandson survived their injuries. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

MITTEN         Arthur Edward, 62, of Walton, Church Hill, Little Common. Injured 25 September 1940 at St. Leonards-on-Sea. Died at the Buchanan Hospital 26 September 1940. Buried  St.Marks Churchyard.

NINER            Bertram George, 39, of 73, Bulverhythe Road, St Leonards. . Injured in a tip and run raid 28 January 1943 at Hastings Gasworks. Died of injuries Bexhill Hospital 31 January 1943. Buried Blaenau Gwent Baptist Chapel yard

REEVES         William George, 53, of 35, Station Road. Proprietor of tobacconist and news agency. Killed at 35 Station Road, 24 November 1940. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

ROSE              Violet Beatrice, 27, of 46, St James Road. Shop assistant at Flinn & Son, dyers & cleaners. Killed at 29 Devonshire Road 11 December 1940. No trace ever found

SMITH            Lily Avis, 54, of Eastbourne. Killed along with employer Edith Few by a tip and run raid at 7 Westville Road 23 May 1943. Buried Ocklynge Cemetery

TIDD               Harriett Rose, 23, of 30, Dalehurst Road. Killed at 19 Dalehurst Road 30 September 1940. Had gone to neighbours for shelter. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

TIMMS           Joan Lilian, 19, of 6 Jameson Road. Dispatch clerk at Sainsburys. Killed opposite Breed’s Place, Hastings 08 October 1940. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

TURNER        William, 62, of 7, Leopold Road. Injured 08 October 1940, at 57 Amherst Road. Died at Horton Emergency Hospital, Epsom 13 June 1941. His wife, sister in law and great nephew   survived their injuries. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

WASHBOURNE    Alice Maude Mary, 66, of Westcourt, Westcourt Drive. Injured 19 October 1940, at  The Stanstead Hotel, Sutton. Died at Sutton and Cheam Hospital 21 October 1940. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

WATSON       Muriel Ann, 4, Injured at home 5 Gloucester Avenue 23 December 1943, died that day at Bexhill Hospital. Her mother and grandparents were injured. Buried Bexhill Cemetery

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