During World War 2, the fishermen bravely carried on with their trade, despite the ever present threat from the Luftwaffe, whose activities included mine
laying, and random attacks on any vessel that they spotted.
There were many incidents during the war, a few are noted below.
LEST WE FORGET
Happy Return RX198
On 29th March 1940, whilst trawling the Happy Return caught a mine off of Rye Harbour. The mine exploded, sinking the boat, and killing the two fishermen Louis White, and Richard Eason.
On 1st January 1942, James ‘Grizzle’ Phillips was killed when the EVG was strafed.
The EVG was to suffer again when on 17th March 1943, they caught a mine, and the boat was sunk, but three crew survived without serious injury.
Boy Billie RX61
April 10th 1943, the Boy Billie trawled up a mine off of Dungeness, Ned Muggridge, David Coussens and Charles Page were killed. The Boy Billie is remembered at the Merchant Navy and Fishing fleets memorial, Tower Hill London.
Sunday 23rd May 1943 was to see the loss of many well know Old Towners who were having a normal day at the Swan Inn until it was heavily bombed and destroyed. The names are listed here in the memorial service donated to the museum
We wanted to end this short memorial with this tale of positivity from Dunkirk and although the rescued soldier wasn’t a fisherman he was rescued by a Hastings Lifeboat.
It is believed that sometime between 2nd June and 5th June 1940 Roland Victor Thurlow, seen on the left of this picture, aged 26, was rescued by the Cyril and Lilian Bishop Hastings Lifeboat. (Thank you to Dorothy Bird for sending us her father’s story as we have never known anything about the soldiers rescued by the Cyril and Lilian Bishop so were delighted to learn of Roland’s rescue.
(With thanks to Mick Pelling from the museum for searching out these stories we don’t have on display in the museum.)