At 1pm on Sunday the 23rd May 1943 10 Focke-Wulf 190’s dropped 25 bombs and machine gunned the town. The Swan Hotel was one of five public houses and two hotels hit by the bombs. The hotel was packed with people having lunch when the bomb hit. It caused several deaths and injuries. Among the dead were the hotel owners’ wife Grace Gummerson, their three year old son Trevor, and her sister Hilda.
The image above shows the destruction caused to the Swan Hotel as workmen search for survivors after the flames died down. The search, lasting all night and the following day led to the rescue of one man and one dog. The raid was the same one that caused the damage seen in my previous post about the Albany Hotel.
This information was found in Nathan Goodwin’s excellent book; Hastings at War 1939 -1945. It is available to buy on Amazon here.
The Swan Hotel had been part of Hastings Old Town since 1523, originally a posting house and later an Inn it was a well known and popular focal point for the community. The site is now a memorial garden dedicated to those lost to the bombing.
The two photographs used to create the above image are below. The original photo was found in the Hastings Library photo archive.