An article in four parts by Paul Draper published in Fairlight News in 2018
Part 3 – The WW2 victims associated with Fairlight and how they are remembered
In the previous magazines we introduced the subject of our victims from both wars and have looked at WW1 and all those men associated with Fairlight.
Inside St. Andrew’s church we have three plaques to our victims, one for WW1 victims, another for WW2 victims and a third, for one man, Hubert Samuel Alston Turner who died on 31st July 1917 in Flanders.
As we can see the WW2 plaque inside St. Andrew’s names four men. Additionally there is one WW2 CWGC gravestone, for Private Peter Gabbitas of the Royal Sussex Regiment.
The four men named are:-
1) Sergeant W. Op. Henry Lewis Barnes, 1382125 158 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who died 27th April 1943, aged 34, son of Henry and Louisa Rose Barnes of Fairlight Cove.
He is remembered at Rheinberg War Cemetery.
2) Sergeant Cyril Leslie Cruttenden, 977000, 90 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who died 21st April 1943.
He is remembered at Svino Churchyard.
3) Fusilier George Edward Glazier, 6410829, 11th Bn., Royal Scots Fusiliers, who died 28th August 1944, aged 19. He was the son of Samuel George and Sarah Mercy Glazier of Fairlight.
He is remembered at St. Desir War Cemetery.
4) Private Frank Message, 6412418, 1st Bn., East Surrey Regiment, who died 16th January 1943, aged 27. He was the husband of Dorothy Irene Message of Fairlight.
The above four men, from or associated with Fairlight, are all listed on the WW2 plaque inside St. Andrew’s, but another man is buried at Fairlight with a CWGC gravestone:-
5) Private Peter Gerald Gabbitas, 6408494, 70th Bn., Royal Sussex Regiment, who died 27th January 1941.
The CWGC state that he is remembered at Fairlight (St. Andrew’s) Churchyard.
(We are still investigating this, but records suggest that he died after falling from the cliffs near the Fairlight Glen minefield)
Additionally, a recent search of the online CWGC records has revealed a further seven men stated as being from Fairlight who lost their lives in WW2.
The seven further men are:-
6) Squadron Leader Arthur Marsden Lewis Alderton, 40066, 21 Sqdn., Royal Air Force, who died 21st January 1944, aged 24. He was the son of Ada D G W Alderton (nee Lewis) and husband of Kathleen Cameline Alderton of Fairlight.
He is remembered at Runnymede Memorial.
7) Lt. Col. John Dennis Francis Armstrong, 133116, Royal Army Medical Corps, who died 6th December 1944, aged 32. He was son of Richard Drake and Bertha Armstrong and husband of Suzanne Joan Armstrong of Fairlight, B.S., M.B., L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S.
He is remembered at Taukkyan War Cemetery.
8) Sapper Douglas Victor Barden, 2075180, 262 Field Coy., Royal Engineers, who died 25th April 1940, aged 19. He was the son of Thomas and Rosina Barden of Fairlight.
He is remembered at Dunkirk Memorial.
9) Private John Barden, 5350272, 10th Bn., Royal Berkshire Regiment, who died 19th January 1944, aged 25. He was the son of Charles and Hannah Barden of Fairlight.
He is remembered at Minturno War Cemetery.
10) Major Robert Peel, 79754, 11th Indian Div. Sigs., Royal Corps of Signal who died 28th February 1942, aged 28. He was the son of Mr and Mrs A L Peel of Fairlight.
11) 2nd. Lt. Edgar Frank Skyrme, EC/3759, 3rd Bn., 16th Punjab Regiment, who died 12th December 1941, aged 22. He was the son of Harold Edgar and Ethel Mary Skyrme.
He is remembered at Singapore Memorial.
12) Lt. Richard Henry Francis Truman, 148410, Royal Artillery, who died 16th June 1943, aged 32. He was the son of Herbert Charles and Edith Dorothy Truman of Fairlight and husband of Joan Margaret Truman.
He is remembered at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
George Edward Glazier, Douglas Victor Barden and John (Jack) Barden are also commemorated on the Pett War Memorials.
The WW2 plaque inside the church was apparently only erected in about 1992. Why only four men were named is not obvious. The additional eight men were also from or closely associated with Fairlight and I believe should be remembered here in Fairlight. We do have some photos and newspaper articles on some of the above men. Whilst we have such information for some, we do not for most and so, to be even, I am not including this. However, we have a photograph of the Pett Cricket Club taken at the time of the start of WW2. Sadly three of the men in this photograph lost their lives in the war and each of them was from Fairlight. They were Henry Lewis Barnes (back row, 3rd from right and Club Captain), John (Jack) Barden (with bat) and Douglas Barden (with ball). All three men were related. There are further members of the Barnes and Barden families in the photograph.
If anyone has additional information relating to any of the above or knows of the family or friends of any of the victims can they please contact me (details at the front of the magazine). We know that some descendants still live in the area and we would like to hear from them. For further reading, can I suggest that readers refer to appendix 2 in Haydon Luke’s book ‘Fairlight, a Sussex Village by the Sea’.
To be continued.
By Paul Draper.