Sammi Hide – Senior Library Assistant Local Studies and Information

I work at Eastbourne Library where I’m responsible for the Reference department. I’ve had a passion for history since I was young so I’m incredibly lucky because my job means I get to spend a large part of my day carrying out family and local history research. It also means that I sometimes get the […]

Defending Sussex’s Shores

At the outbreak of war in 1914, Britain began the process of sending soldiers to France. But  the fear of a German invasion of Sussex meant defenses had to be assembled and ready. The fear of invasion by a European power was not a new phenomenon in 1914. Since 1871 (and the conclusion of the […]

The Sussex Pledge

Whilst battle raged on land during the First World War, the seas and oceans became new battlefields. Danger lurked beneath the waves and East Sussex found itself on the frontline. By the time 1914 had become 1915, it was clear to most of the combatants on the Western Front that the war would not be […]

Natasha Silk and Flo Pollock – Graduate Researchers at The Keep

From the 14-25 of July 2014, we were exploring the First World War material held in The Keep archive. The principle focus of the project was to identify material that demonstrated the impact of the global war on the local communities in Brighton and Sussex. There is a wealth of relevant material including photographs, diaries, letters […]

St. Symphorien Military Cemetery - Copyright Commonwealth War Graves Commission

First and Last

Did you know the first British soldier killed in the war was John Parr? He had been a golf caddy before joining the army. He was no older than 16 at the time of his death so almost certainly lied about his age at enlistment. Parr was killed just to the north east of Mons […]

Newhaven’s Seaplanes

In order to get much needed supplies safely across the channel, munitions ships from Newhaven would have to be protected. As a result, East Sussex played host to a Seaplane Station to escort these ships from above. During the First World War, Newhaven was a major supply port for the Western Front.  Government Transports (the ships that […]

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 […]

Pauline Paget at Summerdown Camp

The Angel of Summerdown

Many soldiers were returned to Britain during the First World War with a variety of wounds. Recuperation could be difficult but for those sent to Summerdown Camp in Eastbourne, women from the Almeric Paget Massage Corps led by the Angel of Summerdown were on hand to speed their recovery. The use of massage as a means of treating wounded soldiers […]

Feathered Warriors

Did you know, over 100,000 pigeons served in the British Army alone during the First World War predominantly as messengers? Given the limitations of technology at the time, pigeons were one of the swiftest ways of delivering urgent messages to and from the front. Even early tanks carried pigeon messengers which were released out of […]