An article in four parts by Paul Draper published in Fairlight News in 2018
Part 1 – How and where do we remember our fallen in Fairlight?
On the 11th November this year the country will remember the one hundredth anniversary of the ending of WW1 hostilities. All across our country, each community will celebrate the event in their own separate ways. It would appear that following the end of both WW1 and WW2 each community sought to remember those local men who had given their lives for their country. However the style and size of each memorial and the list of those men remembered was left to the communities to organise. As a result it seems that the memorials are a little inconsistent when studied carefully.
So what do we have in Fairlight and where are the memorials? The answer is inside St. Andrew’s church where we find three marble plaques mounted on the wall, next to the organ, remembering victims of WW1 and WW2. The WW1 plaque lists nineteen men and the WW2 plaque lists just four men. (see below). The third plaque is to one man, 2nd Lt. Hubert Samuel Alston Turner, erected by his family.
(It is somewhat confusing but next to St. Andrew’s church and graveyard, on the southern boundary is a small piece of land dedicated to and operated by the Catholic church. This is totally separate from the Church of England’s St. Andrew’s church and its graveyard. In the Catholic cemetery is a large wooden cross with an engraved stone at its base. Although at first glimpse this appears to be the Fairlight memorial, it is not and in fact was only moved there from Chick Hill, Pett when their small Catholic church was closed and the associated land deconsecrated. I will expand on this later.)
In addition to the two plaques inside St. Andrew’s we have a further four graves in the churchyard that are attended to by the CWGC (The Commonwealth War Graves Commission). Two of these are commemorated with the standard CWGC white stones, one from WW1, Jesse G Dadswell AB, and one from WW2, Pte Peter Gerald Gabbitas. The other two CWGC victims, Lt. Stuart Underwood Baily and Capt. Robert Cecil Burton, are simply remembered on their existing family gravestones. Of these four, only Jesse Dadswell is also remembered on the marble plaques. I cannot see a direct reason for these apparent inconsistencies.
However, further research has revealed that Fairlight had more victims than the total of twenty three names that appear on the two plaques plus the three additional men mentioned above who are remembered by the CWGC. Why were these other names not included? It will be impossible to find out all the facts so I will simply list the details of the additional victims as today we cannot put ourselves in the shoes of those who helped create the memorials. I will not go into the full detail of our victims, including the additional names, in this opening article but will expand on this subject in the following articles.
In March 2018 the CWGC added a discreet plaque to the front gates of St. Andrew’s advising visitors that the graveyard contains CWGC graves. In fact the CWGC have just implemented this policy across the entire country as a guide to all visitors.
In the next article, we will list the full names and details of all the Fairlight WW1 victims, including those who have so far not been included. Similarly, after that we will study the victims and memorials of our WW2 victims. Finally, we will look at the Catholic memorials and the overall situation with our neighbouring Parish of Pett as there is some overlap between our Parishes and, as a result, some men are named in both Fairlight and Pett.
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). 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.