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Edward (Ted) John Hemsley

Stoker 2nd Class
Service No: P/KX 130478


Ted was born in 1910 in Punnetts Town, Heathfield, East Sussex the eighth and youngest son of Ernest and Ellen Hemsley. He was soon to move with his family to the nearby village of Burwash Common where he attended the village school and St Philips Church Sunday School.

Upon leaving school at the age of fourteen, he was employed in a number of positions as gardener, with local estates.
Ted was a great sports enthusiast both as a player and spectator, he played both football and cricket for the village teams, along with billiards and snooker at the local men's club. he supported West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion football clubs and regularly followed Sussex County Cricket Club. He would often arrange his annual weeks holiday to coincide with the horse racing meeting at Folkestone to which he would travel by bicycle, a round trip of nearly 100 miles ( in those days the only way to place a legal bet was at the course) In 1937 at the Burwash Weald Coronation Sports Day Ted was the best overall competitor for men 18-35 years, winning a china dinner service and a silver trophy.

With the outbreak of war, Ted in the summer of 1940 became a founder member of the local Home Guard patrolling the community at the time the Battle of Britain was being fought overhead. When in 1941his employers home was handed over for military use Ted decided to exchange army khaki for navy blue when he enlisted with the Royal Navy. After undergoing basic training, some time of which was spent at Butlins holiday Camp at Skegness (which was used by the navy during the war) he was drafted to the ships company of HMS Cornwall.

Little was known to his family of Ted's naval service, all post home being subject to strict censorship regulations, until news came of his loss along with the Cornwall to enemy aircraft on Easter Sunday 5th April 1942.

Ted is still remembered by family and members of the local community, his name is inscribed on the Burwash Common and Burwash Weald war memorial, a page is dedicated to his memory in the Book of Commemoration housed in St Philips Church and also on the CWGC Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common. 

Glynn Underhill

Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by
Glynn Underhill (
Great-Nephew) and CWGC.

Casualty Details
Nationality: United Kingdom 
Rank: Stoker 2nd Class 
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy 
Unit Text: H.M.S. Cornwall 
Age: 32 
Date of Death: 05/04/1942 
Service No: P/KX 130478 
Additional information: Son of Ernest John and Ellen Hemsley, of Burwash Common, Sussex. 
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead 
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 69, Column 1.