Visitors to St. Andrew’s church at Fairlight will see a plaque on the outside wall stating that the graveyard contains graves tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). There are four graves tended by the CWGC at Fairlight. The first two listed below have the traditional CWGC classic stone. However, the other two are buried with their families and have no such stone, but are simply mentioned on the family grave.

Jesse Dadswell stands out as being only 15 years old and in fact, he never left these shores, dying from pneumonia at the land-based H.M.S. Ganges training establishment in Suffolk. His family worked at Fishponds Farm, Barley Lane and lived at Tile Kiln Cottages – both then part of Fairlight Parish. His nephew, Chris, and other family are still based locally and they have supplied some information for us to share.
We include one photo of Jesse and one of his stone.

As we can see, the WW2 plaque inside St. Andrew’s names four men. Additionally, there is one WW2 CWGC gravestone, for Private Peter Gabbitas 6408494, 70th Bn., Royal Sussex Regiment, who died 27th January 1941. We are still investigating this, but records suggest he died after falling from the cliffs near the Fairlight Glen minefield.

Nineteen men, from or associated with Fairlight, are listed on the WW1 plaque inside St. Andrew’s Church, but two more men are buried at Fairlight with their families. The CWGC also tend their graves:-


1     Captain Robert Cecil Burton, 2nd Bn. Rifle Brigade, aged 32, who died
16th March 1915, son of Mrs E A Burton of 18 Mansion Place, Queen’s Gate, London. The family grave inscription states, ‘Died at Boulogne of wounds received at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, France’. The burial register gives his address as St. Leonard’s Lodge, St. Leonards-on-Sea.


2      Lt. Stuart Underwood Baily, 490th (Home Counties) Field Coy. Royal Engineers, who died 15th September 1918, aged 32. He was son of Cornwallis and Marion Baily of 6 Dane Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea. The CWGC state that he is remembered at Fairlight (St. Andrew’s) Churchyard.

Paul Draper 2018