A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Biography -
- Kate Bessie Ward -

Unknown person Name : Kate Bessie Ward

Daughter of : Thomas Downer and Sarah Downer (née Banting) of Ventnor.

Born : 1871, Ventnor.

Married : 1901, Edward Henry Ward, at St Catherine's Church, Ventnor.
  Census information :

1871 : Thomas and Sarah Downer, with their children including 'Kate B' aged 2 months, are at Marine Cottage, Ventnor. Thomas Downer is a Stone Mason.

1881 : Thomas and Sarah Downer, with their children including 'Bessie K' aged 10, are at Marine Cottage, Ventnor. Thomas Downer is a Stone Mason.

1891 : Thomas and Sarah Downer, with their children including 'Bessie' aged 20, are at Marine Cottage, Ventnor. Thomas Downer is a Stone Mason.

1901 : Thomas and Sarah Downer, with their children including 'Kate B' aged 30, are at Marine Cottage, Ventnor. Thomas Downer is a Stone Mason. Boarding with them is Edward H Ward, single, aged 30. Born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, he is a Grocer's Shop Assistant.

1911 : Edward Henry And Kate Bessie Ward are at Marine Cottage, Ventnor. Edward Ward is a Pork Butcher.

  Casualty Details :

Died : 2 April 1943 aged 72, at the Royal National Hospital, following injuries received on 1 April 1943 at Marine Cottage, Esplanade Road, Ventnor.

Buried at : Ventnor Cemetery.

CWGC Record
  Commemorated on these Memorials :

Ventnor War Memorial
  Documents and Newspaper cuttings :


Friday, April 2, 1943

Heavy Raid on South Coast Town
A few hours before we went to press, a South Coast town which suffered a number of previous raids, was again visited by sneak raiders. Three fighter-bombers came in from the Channel, dropped bombs at a low altitude, and machine gunned the district a little to the west of the centre of the town. Extensive damage was done to residential and business properties. Public buildings damaged included a cinema. This, happily, was not showing at the time, and with one exception, the commissionaire, Mr. E.G. Stickley, who was severely injured and removed to hospital, the staff had not arrived for the evening performance. Five minutes later the whole of the staff would have reported for duty. A post office, a police station, a church, parish hall, and many shops in a main street, lost their windows or sustained other damage in varying degree. Several hotels were involved in damage - including one partially wrecked on a former occasion - and at one a fire was promptly dealt with. In a residential road on a lower level two private dwellings were demolished and a third partially so, and whilst these lines were being written, rescue party squads were digging for inmates known to have been trapped.

(Last night's figures).
Late last night two fatal casualties were reported : -
Mr. William Newbery, an octogenarian, and Mrs. D. Capocchi, a visitor from a distant town.

Mrs D Capocchi was seriously injured, but survived. The IW Mercury printed a correction subsequently.


Friday, April 9, 1943 Page 2

WARD. - In April, by enemy action, Kate Bessie, beloved wife of Harry Ward, Marine Cottage, Esplanade Road, Ventnor, aged 72 years.

Page 2

Another regrettable death is that of Mrs. E.H. Ward, one of the kindest and least assertive of our older residents. Herself not in good health, her kindness and solicitude for others was always being expressed. She was the daughter of Mr. Thomas Downer, a well-known local character in his hey-day, and continued to live in the picturesque cottage which he acquired in Esplanade Road. Her death severs a link with old Ventnor, and the news will cause deep sorrow, especially in the home of her brother, Mr. Ben Downer, on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia.

Page 3

Raid Victims' Funerals

Sitting at tea when the raiders made their savage attack, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Ward made at once for their Morrison shelter. Mrs. Ward had her head and shoulders in the shelter when their house was practically demolished and the rest of her body became trapped. Her husband had not quite reached the shelter and became trapped in a crouching position. Mrs. Ward died soon after she was released several hours later. Mr. Ward escaped with head and facial injuries and was able, at the end of the week, to leave the hospital to which he and his wife were taken. It is pathetic to record that had they remained in their living room Mrs. Ward might have been alive to-day, for this part of the house escaped demolition, and although the tea-table was covered with debris the crockery was not broken. Mrs. Ward was 72 years of age - the same age, but for two months, as her husband. She was a woman of much charm of disposition; a great home lover and one whom to know was to highly esteem. The profound sympathy of his many friends has been extended to the stricken husband, who has for so many years been a popular figure in the town of his adoption. The funeral took place at the Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon, the Vicar (Rev. L. K. Morton) officiating. The mourners were E. H. Ward (husband), Mr. A. Ward (brother-in-law), Mr. H. Young, Portsmouth (cousin), and Mr. R. W. Thorpe. Wreaths, etc., were sent as follows: - From her loving husband Harry; Sarah, Tom and Alf (sister and brothers), Beds.; Sarah and family, Tilmersham; Eva, Leslie and Harry (cousins), Portsmouth; Mr. and Mrs. A. Brown; Mr. and Mrs. Thorpe and family; the Misses Burn; Mrs. P. Minshall; Mrs. Aldwinkle and family (Stamford); Mr. and Mrs. Bates; Mr. Vivian Yorke; Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Blake; Mrs. Williams; Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Weeks. Mr. A. F. Blake made the arrangements. Mr. Ward wishes to express sincere thanks for the many messages of sympathy he has received, and for the lovely flowers sent.


Friday, April 9, 1943 Page 2

WARD. - Mr. Harry Ward wishes to express heartfelt thanks to the many friends who have shown so much kindness to him in his time of sore trial and bereavement. Especially would he thank the military, doctors and nurses, W.V.S., Rescue Squads, and others who rendered such magnificent and untiring service.


Friday, April 30, 1943 Page 1

... We have received the following letter from John R. Deane, of Bournemouth : - "... may I offer, through you, my sympathy with Mr. Harry Ward, of Marine Cottage, on the death of his wife, whom I remember as Miss Bessie Downer. I lived two doors away, in my childhood, at Southsea Villa, but I believe the name of the house has been changed."
(not all the report has been transcribed)
  Further information :

From "Isle of Wight at War", by Adrian Searle

... but April was less than a day old when Ventnor was hammered once again by the 'tip and run' raiders. Four Fw 190s attacked the Island's most southerly town at 4.45 pm on All Fools Day. Their bombs badly damaged the Rex Cinema and several hotels, notably the Royal Marine and Trafalgar. Several houses were demolished. A lengthy rescue operation succeeding in extricating some people from the debris of wrecked buildings, but four people (two men and two women) lost their lives in the attack, and another ten were badly hurt. (p 75).

Edward Henry Ward died in 1950, aged 79.
  Links :

Morrison Shelter
  Acknowledgments :

Janet Griffin for Newspaper research
  Page status :
Page last updated : 20 November 2014


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