Heroic Hastings police officers rescued woman from sea during Storm Dennis

Two heroic Hastings police officers who rescued a woman from the sea have been awarded major national bravery honours.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 4:30 pm
Storm Dennis brough appalling weather conditions to Hastings and St Leonards in February

The incident happened on February 17 during the appalling weather conditions of Storm Dennis.

PCSO’s Joshua Bone and John Tucker risked their lives in the sea to pull a woman, who was in imminent danger of being swept to her death by the massive waves, to safety.

During the rescue in the dark, cold, rain and howling wind, PCSO’s Bone and Tucker, who were knocked off their own feet by waves as high as themselves, could both have been swept out to sea.

They went on to the beach off Eversfield Place after spotting a woman who they were searching for in the water. They saw the woman, who was trying to reach the shore, being knocked over by waves and unable to get out of the water and went in after her.

They timed their entrance into the water between two large waves and ran into the water as one wave receded. However, before they could reach the woman, they were both knocked off their feet by the second wave.

They persevered and managed to reach the woman and drag her to safety and looked after her until an ambulance arrived.

PCSO’s from Eastbourne have also been recognised for a heroic rescue at Beachy Head.

On February 21, police went to the area because of reports a woman was on her way there after leaving a suicide note.

First on the scene were PCSO’s Mike Camille and Tom Dallaways who spotted the woman heading towards the cliff’s edge. It was dark, wet and windy. They chased after her across the slippery muddy grass with only the lights of their torches to help them. They caught the woman when they were only around 100 metres away from the edge. They then managed to haul her back to the road where they held her until assistance arrived.

Now all four officers have been awarded Royal Humane Society Testimonials on Parchment for their bravery and have been personally praised for their rescue by Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Society.

“The conditions during both these incidents were atrocious,” he said. “The officers at Hastings could easily have been swept out to sea and drowned.

“However, their only thought was to save the woman in the water and they did a superb job. They were true heroes and if they had not spotted the woman when they did and acted as they did the woman would almost certainly have been overcome by the sea and drowned.

“And in the incident at Beachy Head the two officers were running on slippery grass on high cliffs and only had the light of their torches to guide them. It was a situation fraught with danger but again they were determined to save the woman and succeeded.

“All these officers ignored their own safety and richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”

Mr Chapman added: “We are always anxious to receive nominations from anyone who knows some-one who has saved a life and who they believe merits an award from us. We suspect quite a few people responsible for acts of bravery and life-saving don’t always get put forward for our awards and as a result don’t get the public recognition they deserve.

“If any readers know of any-one they think should receive an award they can submit a nomination using the form found on the Royal Humane Society’s website.”