A publicity shot of a WWII soldier and girlfriend visiting the fishing boats in Hastings

Propaganda may have been used to show that Hastings was still open for business, even though most of the beach was fenced off with razor wire.
Image reproduced with permission of Hastings Museum and Art Gallery

In 1940 Hastings was included in the defence area on alert against Nazi invasion. No one could enter except on business, and foreigners were forced to move inland at least twenty miles from the coast. The St Clements caves were used as an air raid shelter, hospital and school. Barbed wire, gun emplacements and tank traps appeared along the seafront, as well as oil pipes for a flame defence system. Access to the beach was forbidden except to fishermen who had special permits to use a guarded gateway at Rock-a-Nore. In June 1940 twelve Hastings boats were called to Dover to assist in evacuation of the British troops from Dunkirk

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