Day 7: David Vincent Hassett

This post is part of the Anglo-Indian Project Holiday Season series 2017

David Vincent Hassett was one of the first official records found in the early stages of the Anglo Indian Project. David was the father of Elaine Cynthia Hassett and Leonard Havelock Hassett, and the husband of Edith Aileen Wharton.

He was born in Bombay on 23 September 1896, to James and Martha Hassett. David worked for HM Customs in Bombay, as a Preventative Officer of Customs, later moving to work as a driver on the I.M. Railway. 

David appears to have been a very successful hockey player for Bombay Customs. As depicted below, between 1929-1936, the Bombay Customs hockey team appear to have taken in a haul of fifteen titles along with many other memorable achievements:

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During the trip to Bombay (Mumbai) in 2016, and a visit to Sewri cemetery David’s grave (along with his mother, Martha) was (unexpectedly) discovered. The inscription read:

David Vincent, Preventive Officer H.M.S. Customs, Bombay. Died 30 August 1941, aged 44 years, ‘and of the morn those angel faces smile which we have loved long & lost a while’.

Martha and David Hassett Grave


David Vincent Hassett lived a short, but seemingly full, life. Official records and family records are lacking – especially photographs of David (perhaps he preferred taking photographs rather than being in them) – but what is available appears to show him to have been a hard-working, dedicated family man. In the words of his daughter, Elaine:

I remember as a tot how I used to run to the gate to empty Dad’s pockets of anything he had in them. He always brought us sweets or other things we liked, and then he used to hoist us up on to his shoulders and come strolling home with his two naughty babies pulling at his hair.

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Cover photo by Anglo-Indian Project


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