Down on the Sussex coast, about as far south as you can get, there’s a little church,…
…unfortunately locked, as it turned out, on this particular day,…
…although luckily for us,…
…it’s the lych gate that we have primarily come to see.
The panel on the left here contains the names of the dead, that on the right the first of three panels listing those who served, the other two to be found on the opposite side of the gate (below).
Personally, I am unconvinced that these panels have always been sited here in the lych gate, primarily because the panel listing the dead has a familiar half-finished sentence at the bottom, the remainder of which, if you look very closely, has disappeared at some point, presumably when the board itself was shortened for some reason. The answer to that might be as simple as the bottom of the board rotting over time, but to my mind there’s something not quite right about the way these panels are fitted.
Memorial to the Rye Harbour lifeboat crew, all of whom perished one terrible November morning in 1928 in conditions among the worst, they said at the time, in living memory.
With tragic irony, the crew of the Latvian steamer S.S. Alice had already been rescued before the Rye Harbour lifeboat even set sail, the recall message reaching the lifeboat station just five minutes after the boat had been launched. However the appalling conditions ensured that all efforts to contact the crew by flare failed, and ultimately, although the exact circumstances must remain speculation, all were drowned.
There’s a single CWGC grave in the south western corner of the churchyard.
On 21st February 1916, the hired trawler H.M.T. “Carlton” struck a mine laid by the minelaying U-boat UC-6 off Folkestone in the English Channel and sank with the loss of nine of her crew. One of these was Trimmer Thomas Stevenson, aged 36, whose body was later recovered and interred here.
A few miles away, down on the beach, and no horrendous conditions on this day, the view looking out across a benign-looking English Channel. If you were a crow and you were to fly about ninety miles roughly in that direction, you’d arrive at a picturesque little Belgian city known, these days, as Ieper.