Remembering our darkest day

Darkest Day service, Hastings town centre 11/3/16. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072056001
Darkest Day service, Hastings town centre 11/3/16. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072056001
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Local Veterans gathered together last week to remember the victims of the worst bombing attack Hastings experienced.

March 11 1943 came to be known locally as ‘The Darkest Day’.

Darkest Day service, Hastings town centre 11/3/16. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072108001

Darkest Day service, Hastings town centre 11/3/16. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072108001

A total of 25 powerful high explosive bombs were dropped seemingly at random over the town, mainly in the Bohemia and Silverhill districts of St Leonards, with the raiders also firing their 13mm machine guns and 20mm cannons.

The devastation inflicted upon the town was unprecedented, with 38 people losing their lives, 39 seriously injured and 51 slightly injured.

In a short ceremony, in front of the Town Hall, on Friday March 11, in the presence of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, members of the Hastings and St,Leonards Veterans Association commemorated the sacrifice and those who lost their lives.

Richard Butcher, Chairman of Hastings and St Leonards Veterans Association, said: “After the ceremony, two ladies who had survived this day 73 years ago when living in Silverhill, came forward, saying that they remembered the day well, confirming that the air raid sirens had not sounded, and that no RAF fighter aircraft appeared.”

Hastings Cemetery: Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, Sunday 13th March. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072315001

Hastings Cemetery: Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, Sunday 13th March. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072315001

Veterans also gathered at the graves of Commonwealth soldiers at Hastings Crematorium on Sunday March 13 to mark British Commonwealth Day.

The graves are maintained by The British Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a representative from the Commission was present to lay a wreath.

Also attending the ceremony were the Hastings Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Many of the graves are those of Canadian soldiers who were garrisoned at Hastings during the first and second world wars.

Hastings Cemetery: Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, Sunday 13th March. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072303001

Hastings Cemetery: Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, Sunday 13th March. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072303001

Pictures by Frank Copper.

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Hastings Cemetery: Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, Sunday 13th March. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072222001

Hastings Cemetery: Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, Sunday 13th March. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-160314-072222001

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