Private Ernest Wooller

My great uncle Ernest Wooller was born at Malthouse Cottages, Red Lion Street, Willingdon on 10 October 1895, the younger of two sons of David and Emily Wooller. He enlisted in the 12th Bn. Royal Sussex Regiment at Bexhill on 17 September 1914, aged 18. His elder brother, Henry had already enlisted in the 9th […]

Willingdon children gathered conkers for the War Effort

During the First World War, Britain was faced with shortages to various chemicals and components for ammunition. In order to maintain its army in the field inventive solutions to these shortages were sought. Mr Haylock the headmaster wrote an entry in the Willingdon School Log Book for 30 January 1917: ‘Sent off today 3 bushels of […]

Educative Convalescence at Chailey Heritage

During the First World War, over 240,000 British soldiers lost limbs as a result of the fighting. Of these men a number would be sent to a hospital in East Sussex to learn from the limbless children who stayed there. At the end of the 19th, and beginning of the 20th, century there was little educational […]

Airship Disaster on the Downs

During the First World War, hydrogen filled airships patrolled the air and coastline around Britain. This duty was, however, not without some serious risks. On the morning of 20 December 1917 five airships set out early on a routine patrol of the Channel from the Polegate Royal Naval Airship Station at Willingdon. The weather was […]

East Sussex Munitionettes

The need for ammunition and weaponry on the front lines during the First World War led to huge numbers of women, including many in East Sussex, entering new, previously inaccessible, workplaces. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Britain lagged behind Germany in most forms of arms manufacture. They had only 300 machine guns compared […]

Soldiers Recreation Club in Willingdon School

From early in the war camps sprung up around Willingdon and there were also many troops billeted in the the parish. On 15 February 1915 a meeting of the gentlemen of the village was hastily called at the Vicarage and it was agreed to provide a Club Room for soldiers who were billeted in the […]

The Gypsy Traveller Community in WW1

Among the surviving 40% of the records of soldiers who served in the First World War, many Gypsy and Traveller names are to be found. The Medal Rolls give further evidence of their participation, including a number of Military Medals and at least one Victoria Cross. Many Gypsies and Travellers volunteered at the outbreak of […]

Horam’s Tribute to World War I

A Unique local Exhibition at the Horam Centre Like many people, I only have a rudimentary knowledge of the political events leading up to the outbreak of ‘The War to end all Wars’ and the horrors of the actual events, for the men involved in the fighting, and their families back home. This small and […]

Blackberries for the Government Jam Scheme

Did you know that, during the First World War, children picked blackberries for the Government? In 1918 as a result of the war, food rationing was introduced and a committee was set up to look at the ways of utilising any available natural resource. Throughout the country rural schools were instructed to ‘employ their children […]

Dark Meadow

My wife, Kate, has an uncle from Guernsey who died during WW1. She had thought that he had died of flu and was buried ‘somewhere in France’. We decided to do some research and found that he had, in fact, been wounded, taken back to hospital in London but died ten days later. We also […]