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.