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 […]

‘Your True and Ever Loving Sweetheart’ – Letters from the Front

During the First World War, the only regular link soldiers had to the home front was through the postal service. The sheer number of letters and parcels travelling between the Western Front and Britain meant the postal service would have to adapt to the demands of war. Before the outbreak of war the British postal […]

Shot at Dawn

During the First World War, maintaining discipline within the various armies was a subject of debate, concern and controversy. How best to deal with those men who broke, or were perceived to have broken, military laws and expectations would see some soldiers being sentenced to death. The rules that governed the behaviour and treatment of the […]

White Star Liners

Did you know that the Royal Mail Ships (RMS) Britannic and Olympic, both sister ships of the Titanic, served in the First World War? The famous White Star cruise line built three ships in the same class. These were the RMS Olympic the Titanic, and the Britannic. The trio of ships had a checkered service history. The Titanic infamously struck an […]

Boxing World Champions Fight at Seaford

In 1917, the troops stationed at the North Camp in Seaford were treated to a unique sporting afternoon when three world champions gathered to fight. Two huge military camps had been built in Seaford in Autumn 1914, each to accommodate thousands of men training for the front.  Entertainment was quite staid with piano concerts, a YMCA […]

Don’t Look Down – Parachutes in the First World War

Did you know that the use of parachutes was highly contentious during the First World War? Whilst practical parachutes were originally invented in the late 18th century the use of them from airplanes was still in its infancy at the outbreak of war. Whilst the various nations involved began to experiment with the military potential of […]

Camouflage Trees

Did you know that, during the First World War, armies used to erect fake trees as observation and sniper posts? Trying to hide yourself in No Man’s Land during the war was a risky business. The badly damaged landscape gave no real cover from the watching eyes on either side. Therefore, the ability to spy […]

Frederick Thomas Divall – Blackham Village

Frederick Thomas Divall, was born and raised in Blackham Village. The town still commemorates his name and sacrifice during the First World War. Frederick was born in 1878 in Blackham, the son of Jesse and Sarah. In 1891 the family lived at Highfields Park Cottage. In 1901, aged 23, he lived at Gonore working as a bricklayer […]

Major Martineau – Newhaven Fort Commander 1914-1915

Major Alfred John Martineau was the Commander  of 1/1 Company Sussex Royal Garrison Artillery (R.G.A.) from the 26th Aug 1914 to 15th November 1915 Alfred John Martineau was born in 1871, the youngest son of Judge Alfred and Maria Martineau, 6 Evelyn Terrace, Brighton. He was educated at St.Thomas’s Hospital, taking the Membership of the Royal College of […]

Fokker Scourge

Did you know that the Germans first developed a way for machine guns to fire through plane propellers? Aircraft technology was not particularly advanced at the outbreak of the First World War and arming and firing weapons during combat in the air was no easy task. In April of 1915 the Germans successfully developed the […]