I only discovered yesterday that June 30th 1916 was known as the Day Sussex Died and the terrible losses suffered at the Battle of Boar’s Head by the Royal Sussex Battalions foreshadowed what was to come. The 11th, 12th and 13th Royal Sussex Battalions were ‘Pals’ battalions, made up of men who had enlisted together in local recruiting drives, with the promise that they would be able to serve alongside friends, neighbours and colleagues. In five hours the three Battalions of the Royal Sussex lost 17 officers and 349 men killed, including 12 sets of brothers, three from one family. A further 1,000 men were wounded, missing in action or taken prisoner.
Brighton Museum notes that 70% of those who died were born in Sussex and research reveals that many of the Brighton men lived in the working class areas of east Brighton and the Hanover area, and Poets’ Corner in Hove.
To commemorate the start of the Battle of the Somme today – 1st July
Joe Sacco’s Great War cartoon graphic tableau of the first day of the Battle of the Somme on display in Paris (I first posted this in August 2014)
The picture below more or less is captioned ‘The stretcher bearers often went overland above the trenches that were just too overcrowded’. One of the best commemorations I have ever seen and in such a key area no one could fail to be moved by it. I admit I tend to think of my Grandad when I see such things and am forever grateful he survived the war, despite shell shock and gas.
Just a taste of…
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