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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Royal Sussex Regiment (Southdown)


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Hello All,

For the Centenary of the Great War I want to put names to the faces of all the people in my home town, who took part in the Great War, but especially the men that didn't return. I'll never complete this venture, but I would like to do as much as I can. I have put 80 names to faces so far.

At the moment I am trying to get photos of all the men from Seaford, who were in the above Regiment, but I am confused because my list of names has come from a 1914 Seaford Roll of Honour, article of the "East Sussex News", and the battalions are 1st, 2nd and 9th.

My search on the internet does not mention these three battalions for the 'Southdown's', but starts at 11th Battalion. Can someone put me right, before I make a fool of myself.

I do have quite a few photos of 'Seaford' soldiers, and I have a list of names, but it is putting those names to the faces that is the main problem. I have been to the local museum, who are in the same boat as I, and I am also trying to find, and contact, relations who may have a photo hidden away somewhere.

Is there an avenue that I need to explore, that I haven't thought of yet?

I will be grateful for any advice that you can give.

Kind regards.


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Claude Lowther, the owner at the time of Herstmonceux Castle and MP for somewhere Oop North decided to actively recruit young men for a volunteers to serve in the New Armies being raised at the suggestion of Kitchener.

At first it was encouraging men from his own estate and surrounds but he was able to raise enough men to form the 9th Battalion of The Royal Sussex Regiment.

Within a few more weeks he had another almost 4,000 recruits, enough for virtually 3 new battalions, known as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd South Downs (mascot being a South Downs sheep)

These became the 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions RSR.

Unfortunately, their first taste of action, instead of joining the massacre on the Somme, on the day before, the 30th June 1916, they were used for a diversionary attack at Richebourg to assault a heavily defended feature known as the Boars Head. It signally failed against in depth defences and so many men were killed or missing it became known as "The Day Sussex Died".

Similar scenes would unfold across the country on 1st July when the "Pals Battalions" of volunteers from villages, towns, clubs and workplaces all were cut down on the Somme, often leaving some streets full of widows.

It also failed to shift a single German from the Somme.

You can Google an awful lot more, there are many books, some of which other, more expert, Pals will recommend, but a starter might be http://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/what-s-on/magazine/tragedy-of-lowther-s-lambs-1-1405918

Good luck, my stepdaughter lives in Seaford and there are plenty of local Pals who will do their best to help.

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Thank you Kevin for your reply, and information.

I have e-mailed David Lester at the address in the article that you suggested that I read, in the hope that he is still using that same address.

I hope he is, and that he can help.

Thank you again.


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I think he is David E Lester - there is a David M Lester with a BN23 postcode, but he might be related....

Social websites such as facebook, twitter etc may have an entry....

Otherwise the Herald may be able to put you in contact - they've been very helpful to me whenever I have contacted them.

I think there is also a useful book "We Wunt Be Druv" that you might want to look out for, and no doubt there'll soon be many other RSR experts near us responding with other useful suggestions. Newhaven Fort museum might be worth a call, by phone or in person to see what they may have.

If purchasing books, check the Abe and Amazon links on the GWF header bar, as ordering through this site earns a small amount to help defray the costs of maintaining this free website - but check if cheaper elsewhere as well.

Glad to be of help, you'll soon be addicted!

Do Google to see if others have/are already working on Seaford men, though, you may find a lot to help you on your quest.

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That's good news!

Can you ask if he gives talks for local history groups and if so, would you PM me with his contact details?

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