A story of “almost love” and War

During the First World War soldiers who travelled abroad would often make connections with those they encountered. This is one such story. In December 1917, British and French divisions  were sent to support the  Italian army after the defeat at the Battle of Caporetto . Overhung by the fame of the disastrous battle, in Italy […]

West Indian Soldiers in Seaford

The outbreak of war in 1914 saw the major combatants draw heavily on their empires, dominions and colonies. The use of West Indian and African soldiers in the various armies provided much needed manpower in fighting the war but also gives a clear insight into the attitudes and prejudices that existed towards these men. Once war was […]

An Eastbournian in Italy

This summer I worked at the Eastbourne Library researching every kind of information (names, news and images) on soldiers killed, wounded or missing in action during the First World War for the local study collection. In particular I worked on the archive of the Eastbourne Chronicle a local newspaper issued every Saturday, which is now […]

Chinese Labourers in Newhaven

With manpower shortages hampering the war effort, the British Army looked further afield in order to find able workers. 1915 was the worst year of the war for Britain and France whilst, correspondingly, proving to be one of the best for Germany and its allies. The casualties sustained in battles at Ypres and Gallipoli had brought […]

Canadians in Bexhill-on-Sea

The Canadians arrived in Bexhill on 12 March 1917 following the relocation of the Canadian Training School (CTS) from Crowborough. The CTS was joined by the Canadian Trench Warfare School (CTWS) in May of the same year. In January 1918, the Canadians took over Cooden Camp and converted it into Princess Patricia’s Canadian Red Cross […]

Eastbourne’s Belgians

With their countries gripped by war and their homes and possessions destroyed, refugees fled the battlefields of Europe. In their time of need East Sussex would provide shelter. Agatha Christie’s most famous detective was also the fictional manifestation of a real phenomenon. Hercules Poirot may be better remembered now for his ability to solve intricate […]

Indian soldiers at the Royal Pavilion - The Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove

Indian Soldiers in East Sussex

When war was declared in 1914 the major combatants would come to rely heavily on soldiers from their empires and colonies. Men from around the world would arrive in East Sussex to fight for Britain.  At the outbreak of the First World War the Indian Army numbered 240,000 men; by 1918 its ranks had swelled […]

Adoption and Reconstruction

After the war, many French towns and villages lay in ruins. Rebuilding them would require time, effort, and money … which is where East Sussex stepped in.  Whilst the Armistice in 1918 brought an end to the fighting, it was not the end of the suffering for many people in Belgium or Northern France. Over four […]