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Arundel in Sussex 1914?


John Henderson

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This is a long shot but I've exhausted all other sources. The attached photograph is in the possession of Arundel Museum in West Sussex. It was digitized and catalogued in 2003 with the following caption: "Volunteers to join the military march in London Road, Arundel, on the outbreak of World War One in 1914." As the image will possibly be used in commemorative publications, now at advanced planning stages, the accuracy of the description is being questioned. I hope the attached image can be enlarged for you to scrutinize it. If you can, you will see that the average age of the men must be late 30s, maybe 40s. Also, all of the men wear a small lapel badge. The uniformed gentleman walking alongside the body of men does not look like a recruiting sergeant! Also, closer examination shows that there appears to be a scout troop at the rear of the column. All of this makes me doubt the accuracy of the catalogue description. Can anyone suggest what the lapel badges might be? Can anyone say what uniform the military gentleman is wearing? Is anyone familiar with such a scene from this era? Could they be reservists? Or could this be some other sort of civic parade? Any help or suggestions would be most welcome.

Many thanks,

John Henderson

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Morning John,

Just wonder if they could be Sussex Home Protection Volunteer Brigade / Volunteer Training Corps men? Have you seen a copy of 'Sussex in the First World War' by Keith Grieves, libraries and WSRO hold copies?

Hope useful

All the best with your research

Jim

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Sorry, not an expert on the volunteer home defence side, but looks like the Sussex Home Protection Volunteer Brigade were got together at the start of the war, and the VTC a little later - have found in Grieves page 57 a notice from the Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle, about the setting up of a training fund for the VTC dated 3rd Feb 1915

Hopefully another forum pal will be able to advise you better

All the best

Jim

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Morning Jim, thanks for a prompt reply.

Yes, I'll look in Grieves and at the VTC possibility. Although was there not a VTC uniform? But I don't know. It's certainly worth me following that up. Thanks for the reference.

I have written a piece for the West Sussex Great War Project on the men on the Tortington (a parish just outside Arundel) Roll of Honour which is due to be published on the dedicated GWP web site quite soon. The easiest thing to do would be to simply change the caption on the photograph from 'volunteers...Arundel 1914' to something less specific - or find a photograph that actually is of Arundel volunteers!

Thanks for your advice,

John

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Morning John,

I know they did get uniforms, as there is a recruitment poster in the Newhaven Fort WW1 section of the Brighton (if I remember correctly) Volunteers, and the volunteer is portrayed in uniform. But this may have been a mid war poster (?). I suppose if the New Army men were not getting uniforms for a while, serving in civilian clothes, to 'Blues' and eventually to khaki, then I'm assuming the Volunteers must have been lower down the pecking order for kit. Badges were given for a number of reasons, from the SWB to the brassard for Derby Scheme men, so maybe the Volunteers were given a badge first of all to wear on their civilian clothes until they finally got uniforms?

I know Conan-Doyle had lots to do with the VTC over this side of Sussex, and I know the Duke of Norfolk, as Lord Lieutenant was a focus for recruiting in West Sussex (Keith Grieves gave a talk about it in Lewes last weekend, ironically!!)

I'll see what else I can find for you, Conan-Doyle might make some reference to badges or something

All the best

Jim

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Looking in Grieves page 36, the Sussex Protection Volunteer Brigade became affiliated to the VTC in Jan 1915. The volunteers were clothed trained and equipped at their own expense and the government only supplied military advisors under the authority of the Duke of Norfolk. There is mention of a grey green Norfolk jacket type uniform for Jan 1915, but before that they seemed to wear a brassard. So afraid no mention of a badge ...

Cheers Jim

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Thanks Phil, that's very useful to get an image of the badge. Unfortunately I also think it rules out the VTC as the likely identity of the body of men in the photograph. Their badges are distinctly white/silver/light-coloured in hue, even those visible in the middle-distance, and I'm not sure that the predominantly red badge would have come out like that in a b/w photograph. I'm very pleased to now have an image of the VTC badge. It may be used (with appropriate permissions!) at some later stage of my research.

Many thanks,

John

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Just a thought John, and I know really nothing on this matter so may be sending you off at an unnecessary tangent, but considering the age group could these men be Boer War vets on a parade, do not know if they had an identifying badge of any sort? Some of these would have ended up in the Volunteers, and even in the New Army battalions? I mean could it be a pre-August 1914 photo?

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Jim, someone else suggested this but I believe the Boer War Veterans Association didn't come into being until 1929.

However, if those are scouts at the rear of the parade it has to be after 1907 when the scouts were founded. The parade, whatever kind it may be, is 100 yards or so away from both St Nicholas's church (CofE) and Arundel Roman Catholic Cathedral just across the road from it so it could well be a solemn commemorative occasion, in whose memory I just don't know.

With only guesses available - pretty good ones I might add - I don't think I can use the image. I have come across a good photograph of the Sussex Yeomanry on the platform at Chichester railway station which gives a good sense of the period and the response of Sussex men.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Cheers

John

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Personally I would not rule out the VTC.

Kipling and King (the authority on military badges): "On the outbreak of war in August 1914, Volunteer Units were formed all over the country and although some wore uniform of a military pattern, they mostly wore button-hole badges in their civilian dress.". K & K dont show the lapel badges as their work is confined to headdress. I suspect the designs of the badges changed if K&K is anything to go by. The later cap badges show a wide range of designs. If this is supposed to be Aug 1914 they appear to have got lapel badges quite quickly. To my mind it is either a pre-war organisation or not Aug 1914 as I suspect getting label badges made that quickly would have been difficult. My speculation.

The front ranks look too well heeled. Bowler hat count v flat cap count is rather high (compare to the classic recruiting melee outside Scotland Yard), but it may diminish down the line which might suggest some hierarchy in the ranks. They do appear to be marching in step which suggests to me ex servicemen. It is very difficult to get that number of civilians to synchronise step as well as maintain dressing in the ranks. They even appear to have a Left flank marker.

The problem with this is that ex servicemen had Reservists commitments so for these guys to all be ex military and not have Reservist obligations they would have had to left the Army before 1909 for the 7&5 men to avoid having Reservist commitments - which in other terms means there were large numbers of men (tens of thousands) who had served, and left and finished their Reserve obligations before Aug 1914 who were not Boer War veterans. I think this is a picture with quite a few of these men.

Terms of service was 7&5 then 3&9 then 9&3 for most of the Army (the Line Infantry).

Some 5&7 men were still in the ranks in 1902 having served less than 1 year, but the vast majority would have settled all obligations by Aug 1914.

the 3&( men would have had to leave the Army befor Aug 1902 to have settled their 9 years in the Reserves and to have fulfilled their commitment

All 9&3 man would still have obligations in the Reserves as these terms of service started in Dec 1904.

The transitions from one term of service to another being early 1902 (from 3&9 to 7&5) and Dec 1904 (from 7&5 to 9&3). To add to complications men could extend and also be kept for an extra year if serving overseas...and a proportion of Reservists could extend for anything up to four more years in Section D. Some men joining in 1902 after the Boer War would have completed all service obligations by 1914. Also not all men who joined in 1900 and 1901 would necessarily have gone to South Africa. There were also tens of thousands of men who were ex Volunteers and ex TF (after 1908) and ex Militaimen (pre 1908) so there are quite a number of sources of men who had prior military experience but who in Aug 1914 had no commitments to serving in the Army on mobilisation.

A long winded way of saying they could be any of the various bodies of ex-servicemen and they didn't necessarily have to be Boer War veterans. There would be many tens of thousands of ex-servicemen who had not served in the Boer War . My money says they are VTC.

MG

Edited for clarity. MG

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Jim, someone else suggested this but I believe the Boer War Veterans Association didn't come into being until 1929.

However, if those are scouts at the rear of the parade it has to be after 1907 when the scouts were founded. The parade, whatever kind it may be, is 100 yards or so away from both St Nicholas's church (CofE) and Arundel Roman Catholic Cathedral just across the road from it so it could well be a solemn commemorative occasion, in whose memory I just don't know.

With only guesses available - pretty good ones I might add - I don't think I can use the image. I have come across a good photograph of the Sussex Yeomanry on the platform at Chichester railway station which gives a good sense of the period and the response of Sussex men.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Cheers

John

Do the local Newspapers not show anything. I would have thought a march like this might have been mentioned in one of the local newspapers. Just a thought. MG

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I have seen, somewhere a mention of Teretorials

4th Royal Sussex Regiment held an annual camp in Arundel.

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Hi Johnboy

4th Sussex were commanded by the Duke of Norfolk just prior to the war and he maintained great interest in them and their war. I believe his Land Manager took over the command. Arundel was very much the 'HQ' of the 4th Sussex. I believe the Castle planning an exhibition on the 4th Sussex in their new museum, so a local told me

Cheers

Jim

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  • 1 month later...

Hi there, this is my first post on this forum and I have just come across this fantastic thread, and in particular the picture of the volunteers in 1914 in Arundel. I am currently trying to look into the war service history of a branch of my family which lived in Arundel for a number of generations, one of which may or may not be in that picture. Including my Great Grandfather who was in the Sussex Yeomanry, no idea which battalion yet as I think his records were destroyed in the bombing during the second war.

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Hi Stew and welcome to the forum

Your best bet, if you haven't already, (first post I've looked at in a number of days) is to start new posts for each family member you'd like help tracking - include all the info you have on each person and forum members will happily help you out. Also look at the Long Long Trail (top, left), a brilliant resource. I'm afraid I know very little about the 4th Sussex and the Sussex Yeomanry (later 16th Sussex), apart from knowing they spent time in Gallipoli and the Middle East and went to the Western Front mid 1918. Post away and we'll gladly help where we can. A new post will also attract more views and will get you a better response.

All the best with your research

Jim

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Hi Stew and welcome to the forum

Your best bet, if you haven't already, (first post I've looked at in a number of days) is to start new posts for each family member you'd like help tracking - include all the info you have on each person and forum members will happily help you out. Also look at the Long Long Trail (top, left), a brilliant resource. I'm afraid I know very little about the 4th Sussex and the Sussex Yeomanry (later 16th Sussex), apart from knowing they spent time in Gallipoli and the Middle East and went to the Western Front mid 1918. Post away and we'll gladly help where we can. A new post will also attract more views and will get you a better response.

All the best with your research

Jim

Thank you Jim, So far I have tracked down my Great Grandfather's Medal card, but not that much else but it seems to show he might have got around a little bit. If anyone based still based in the Arundel area has any, more local knowledge the surnames I'm interested in are Haselgrove and Mundy.

Will start another thread going by what information I already have and see where this leads.

Once again, Thanks

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The History of the Sussex Yeomanry and 16th Bn (Sussex Yeomanry) Royal Sussex Regiment is one of those rare histories that lists every man who served. Appendix E lists Pte W P Mundy who served in the 2/1st and served abroad in France. No listing for Haselgrove in the book.

MG

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