Direct hit – In memory of those who died when the Swan Inn was destroyed

It will be exactly 78 years ago on Sunday that the historic Swan Inn, a Hastings landmark since the early 14th century, was destroyed by enemy action.

The memorial gardens where Sunday’s service will be held.

It was around lunchtime on Sunday 23rd May 1943 that a Luftwaffe raid caused damage and casualties around the town with 16 people being killed inside the Swan Inn, now the site of a memorial garden opposite St Clements Church.

The step great grand-daughter of one of the casualties, Thomas Winborne, will be among those attending a short outdoor service of remembrance close to Swan Gardens at 11.15am this Sunday led by the Reverend Paul Hunt and members of the Old Town Parish congregation.

Churchwarden Judy Cubison recalls that two of the victims were her neighbours: “It was so tragic. Violet Cox and her niece Ann Tester heard the siren and sheltered in the post office passage. But the landlord of the Swan Inn invited them to shelter in the Inn which received a direct hit. Ann was not much older than my sister who was only fiver-years-old at the time.”

Members of the public who want to attend the service are asked to wear a face covering and be mindful of social distancing.

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