Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Joseph David Coussens

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 24 April 1943

MEMORIAL SERVICE AT ST. CLEMENTS On Sunday the fishing boats of Hastings flew their nags at half mast honour of three local fishermen, Mr. J. E. Muggridge, Mr. D. Cousins,[sic] and Mr. C. Page, who recently lost their lives at sea.  In the evening between 500 - 600 people attended a special service at St. Clement’s Church, Old Town, in memory the three men. The Rev. J. C. Poole (priest-in-charge) conducted the service, and Alderman P. W. Morgan read the lesson. The Hastings and St. Leonards branch of the British Legion was represented and at the commencement of the service their standard was placed before the altar.

Only one of these men is remembered on a grave in the cemetery.  Behind the above report lies a very sad story recounted in the following obituary.

The Observer published an obituary for J. E Muggridge

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 24 April 1943
Obituary - Lifeboat Coxswain MR. J. E. MUGGRIDGE

The Old Town of Hastings has lost a popular figure by the death recently of Mr. John Muggridge of 8, Post-Office Passage, High-street.

A native of Hastings. Mr. Muggridge, who was 48 years of age, was born in the Old Town and was well known as a fishsherman.  As a youth he was in the Royal Naval Reserve and was called up for service at the outbreak of the last war.  He served throughout the war and his ship was was torpedoed four times.

Early in the present war he volunteered and again joined the Royal Navy, but was discharged about nine months ago medical grounds.

For many years a member of the lifeboat crew, even from the days of the old pulling and sailing boat, Mr. Muggridge became coxswain, following his discharge from the Navy.

Mr. Muggridge. who was also a member the British Legion and the Cinque Ports Old Comrades Association, leaves a widow and four children.

There are no cemetery records for John Edward Muggridge or Charles Page, only the Family Notices below…

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 17 April 1943
.—On April 10th, Charles Page, aged 54. of 14, Scrivens buildings, passed suddenly away.
He has anchored his soul
In a haven of rest.
He will sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep o’er the wide stormy deep,
But In Jesus he’s safe evermore

Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 1st May 1943
April 27th, 1943,
Joseph Coussens, aged 61, lost at sea alter 48 years' fishing.

Has anchored his soul in a haven of rest.
He will sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep o’er the wild stormy deep,
But in Jesus he’s safe evermore.

There is a record for Joseph David Coussens , a fisherman , aged 61 , found at Sea , home address 51a George Street Date of burial 29/4/1943.

He was buried in HA C3 with his wife Caroline Alice Coussens (aged 57) buried 19/7/1938.
The burial notes state: No ceremony, portion of leg found in sea-boot buried in foot end of grave , no fee”.

Behind these notices lies the story of the fishing vessel "Boy Billie RX61", one of the Hastings vessels which sailed to Dover in response to the call to aid in the Dunkirk evacuation.