Friends of Hastings Cemetery


From the report in Steve Peak’s book on the Fishermen of Hastings : “Tremendous storm early last Weds (8th).  On Tuesday night there were four boats at sea.  Two returned about midnight as the gale was getting up, with large herring catches.  There was no sign of the other two until 11am on Wednesday when there was a telegram from Hythe; “Nets and barrels marked RX3 being washed ashore”.

This was William “Jimmy” Bumstead’s boat “James and Elizabeth”. Then we heard that the boat had been found bottom up at Hythe.

Fullager’s boat “Hard Times” had safely made Folkestone.

Meanwhile at Hythe, between 9am and 10am, the soldiers in the Dymchurch Redoubt saw a fishing boat making for the shore.  It put about half a mile off, but capsized and stayed bottom up, her occupants then were seen one by one to get up onto her, but one by one they were washed off.  They tried to make the shore but only one (the boy Consemore White, 16) made it.

He was rescued by the soldiers and taken into the fort and revived in front of the fire.  He said they had gone from Hastings to Dungeness, where they anchored, hoping to ride out the storm in the lee of Dungeness, but drifted to Dymchurch, tried to go about, but capsized.  He clung onto the seatboard with the Captain and saw the others in the water.  Captain Bumstead lost his hold and drowned.

The six dead are commemorated on the stone - William “Jimmy” Bumstead Captain age 26, Charles “Tring” Brasier Crew aged 61, William Brasier Crew aged 38, George Dunsten Crew aged 32, John Veness Crew aged 19 and William Lepper Crew aged 17.

Charles Brasier and William Lepper are not buried in the plot and the report of the funeral notes that their bodies had not yet been found. The Captain had been married 16 months and had one child. William Brasier was the son of “Tring”. The boat was owned by the skipper’s cousin, James W Bumstead.

The funeral was huge, the largest seen for 10 years – crowds lined the roads and there was several thousand people at the cemetery.


By the 12th January 1897 the relief fund stood at over £470 15s 2d.  The four widows were to receive between £65 - £75 each at 15/- a week and £21 was to go to parents of the other two men and to the father of Henry Betts.

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Henry John Taylor whose name was added later to the memorial, on the 7th November 1887 was injured trying to help a boat in distress.  George Gallop master and owner of “Cygnet” was trying to beach it with 3 horses, a rope and capstan.  Taylor was keeping the block clear of the stones when the chain gave way, the block struck him in the leg and the end of the chain on the neck and knocked him over.  Taylor was taken in hospital in a cart. He had a compound fracture of his right leg and a clean-cut wound at the back of his right ear.  He died 3 days later of a “fracture through the brain”.  

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Fishermen’s Plots, p.2