Armistice centenary 2018 – Strike a Light attends memorial at Westminster Abbey

45284353_282863865696332_219482063005286400_nWe’re off to Westminster Abbey in London this Sunday 11th November for the special centenary commemorations of World War I along with the Royal Family, for our work with Strike a Light-Arts & Heritage on The Orange Lilies: Brighton & Hove in the Somme project from 2016 onwards.

We’re very honoured to have been invited and feel like we’re representing all the fantastic Great War focussed projects in Brighton and Hove on a national level.

Thanks to all our project partners – Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, Fabrica Gallery and Gateways to the First World War, as well as our indispensible volunteers and participants who were involved in bringing this research to life during this time and helping remember the lives of the Royal Sussex Regiment during WWI.


Frederick Edward Upton

Frederick Edward Upton was born in 1889 in Brighton, he died on the 3rd of September 1916 at Beaucourt Ridge at the age of 27. Upton was with the 11th Royal Sussex Regiment  and his service number was SD 4973.

Family life

Frederick was one  of  eight children born to William Henry Upton (born 1861 in Lewes, died 1897 in Brighton) and Rose Ellen Corke (born 1863 in West Hoathly, died 1931 in Brighton).  They were married in 1882.  Their eldest daughter, Rose, was born the following year and her birth was rapidly followed by that of Obediah, Naomi, Amelia, Frederick, Albert, Mabel and finally, Daisy, who was born in 1893.

William was a labourer and the family were poor.  In 1897 William was working for Brighton Corporation as a scavenger (dustman/street cleaner) and was killed in an accident in the Corporation yard when he fell into the incinerator.  At the inquest the Corporation said that they would do what they could to assist his widow and this resulted in Naomi, Amelia and Frederick being placed in children’s homes in order to give them some chance of an education and hopefully a better life.  The eldest children, Rose and Obediah were considered old enough to help the family by earning something. By 1901 Ellen had moved with her remaining children to 23 Arnold Street and the census shows Rose working as a laundress and Obediah working as a road labourer.

In 1913 Frederick married Elizabeth Langley at the Church of the Annunciation and one of the witnesses at the wedding was his brother Albert’s wife Florence (known as Rebecca) Upton. They had two daughters, Elizabeth born in 1914 and Mabel born in 1915. Some of his siblings had also married by this time: Obediah married Alice in 1907 , Albert had married Rebecca/Florence in 1908, and Naomi married John Mace in 1911.

Military career

Frederick enlisted with the 1st South Downs Battalion which  became the 11th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. The Battalion trained at Cooden, near Bexhill, from September 1914 until July 1915 when they were moved first to Detling, near Maidstone and then to Aldershot.  In October of that year they became part of 116th Brigade and were based at Witley until the beginning of March 1916 when then crossed from Southampton to France, landing at Le Havre.  The battalion was a carrying/support battalion during the battle of Boar’s Head. Frederick was killed on 3 September 1916 during the attack by the 116th Brigade on Beaucourt Ridge.

The poet, Edmund Blunden, was a junior officer of this regiment and in his book “Undertones of War” he wrote about the action in which Frederick died.  He described them as “ a sound, capable battalion, deserving far better treatment than they were now getting, and a battle, not a massacre.”  

The battalion was decimated and by the end of the day the tally was:  Officers killed 0, wounded 3, missing 8, Other Ranks killed 5, wounded 160, missing 123. The remnant of the battalion was made into two companies:  the original A and D companies forming No. 1 Company, and B and C companies forming No. 2 Company.

Frederick Upton is listed in St. Peters Memorial Book and on St. Luke’s Parish Church Memorial. Buried in Hamel Military Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel.

Post war

Frederick’s widow, Elizabeth, and daughters, Elizabeth A. and Mabel, stayed in Brighton after his death.  In 1939 her registration record shows her as a widow doing paid domestic work.  She was living with her son-in-law Frank Knowelden, a furniture upholsterer, who had married Mabel.  Also in the house at 67 Southampton Street, was her other daughter, Elizabeth A. Lankstead (nee Upton) and her son George Lankstead. who had been born in 1935.  Another member of the Upton family, Dorothy, was also living there.

The house next door was occupied by Elizabeth A.’s in-laws:  George and Rachel Lankstead and two of their adult children Thomas, a railway labourer, and Cissy, a ward maid.

The War was not particularly kind to the Upton family. Frederick’s brother, Albert Nelson, private G/194, 8th Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment, (the Queen’s) 24th Division, died on the opening day of the Battle of Loos, on 25 September, 1915.  At that time his wife, Rebecca, was living at 70, Carlyle Street, Elm Grove, Brighton, with their son, Albert Walter who was 6. Albert Nelson is listed in St. Peters Memorial book and on St. Luke’s Parish Church Memorial. He was an employee of Brighton Corporation and is commemorated on The Loos Memorial. MR.19.

In March 1915 Naomi’s husband, John Mace, who was a Wheeler Corporal in the Army Service Corps, died of enteric fever (typhoid) at Rouen.  Naomi was left with a son of 2, John Frederick.  The personal effects which were returned to her contained a Princess Mary Box, which had been given to soldiers at Christmas 1914.   She received a pension of 15s 6d.

At the time of John’s death she was living at 50 Bernard Road, but by September of 1915 she had moved to 28 Coombe Terrace which is the same address at which she was living in 1939.  Then she was still living with her son who by this time was a Marine Engineer/Fitter.

However, Obediah Upton survived the war and post war ran a garage in Upper Beeding, which is where he was living in 1939 with his wife and son, Henry.  He lived until February 1960.  It has not been possible to trace service for him during the First World War. 

Albury Charles Turner

Albury Charles Turner was born on the 24th August 1884 in Coventry, Warwickshire. Albury was presumed dead on the 30th of June 1916 in the Battle of Boar’s Head in France at the age of 32. Albury was with the 13th Royal Sussex Regiment, his rank was Private and his service number was SD/2804.

Family Life

Albury was the grandson of Josiah Turner (b 1826 in Southwark – d 17 June 1886 in Coventry leaving an estate of £190 15s 0d) and Sarah Ann Lister Lee (b 28 January 1829 in Leeds, Yorkshire d 11 October 1893 at Binley, Coventry, leaving an estate of £184 15s 5d). Josiah and Sarah married in South Australia on 6 March 1851.   

Josiah was a manufacturer of sewing machines, an inventor and entrepreneur. He held several patents for the improvement of mechanisms of sewing machines and bicycles. Albury’s father, Charles Thomas Turner, was the eldest of Josiah’s four surviving children and he was born in Kensington (South Australia) in on 3 December 1851 and died in Coventry on 8 March 1908, leaving an estate of £1654 6s 6d.

In Brighton, between April and June 1880, Charles Turner married Albury’s mother, Maria Georgina Bagg (born 20 September 1851 in Bloomsbury, London, died 4 March 1929 in Hove, leaving an estate of £5622 11s 1d).  

Albury’s maternal grandfather, William George Thomas Bagg (b 1804 d 20 December 1869 leaving an estate of between £1000 and £2000), was described as an “artist” on Maria’s baptismal certificate, but he was also a talented engraver and his work was sought after for the production of plates for books on anatomy and botany. He is mentioned in a letter from Charles Darwin to his publisher, John Murray in 1861.

Charles and Maria lived in Coventry where Charles eventually became a director of J and J Cash Ltd (described in the 1891 census as a frilling manufacturer making ribbons, tapes and woven pictures. They had eight children: Jessie Vaughan (b 1881), Horace Lister (b 1882), Albury Charles (b 1884), Leonard Frederick (b 1885), Kathleen Ada (b 1886), twins Stanley Josiah and Elsie Maria Georgina (b 1890) and Dorothy Dale (b 1893).

After Charles’s death in 1908 Maria returned to Brighton, perhaps to be near her widowed sister, Selina Morris, and some of her children came with her.  In the 1911 census Maria, Leonard, Kathleen, Elsie and Dorothy are all living at 7 Sudeley Terrace.  By the time Albury is killed the family has moved to 9 Hove Park Villas.

Albury’s eldest sister, Jessie, had married Harry Nichols, a railway clerk, in 1903 and was living in Birmingham.  Horace went to South Norwalk, Connecticut, USA, and lived there for several years.  In the USA census of 1910 there is a Horace Turner living in South Norwalk, Ct, and working as a book-keeper in a lace shop and the census states that he has been resident since 1903.  The Ellis Island records show that Horace Lister Turner was certainly in America from 1908 until 1911 and his destination in these records is South Norwalk.   Albury remained in Coventry and worked as a surveyor, a profession also followed by his mother’s brother, another William Bagg. Stanley emigrated to Australia but came back with the ANZAC forces and in 1917 he married a girl in Coventry, which is where he spent the rest of his life.  

Leonard, Kathleen and Elsie all remained in Brighton.  They did not marry and continued to live together. When Kathleen died in 1974 she was still living at 101 Edburton Avenue which had been the family home for at least forty years.   Dorothy also stayed in Brighton and married John W. Collinge in 1917. In 1920 she had a son whom she christened Albury and who went to Canada in 1951. She had a second son, Charles, in 1927.

Military career

Albury enlisted in Brighton into the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. The battalion crossed to Le Havre from Southampton on 5/6 March 1916. Albury’s regimental number is consecutive to that of Clement Trill (SD 2803 – another Brighton man, who was wounded at the Battle of Boar’s Head and died the following day of his wounds).  

It is presumed that Albury was killed during the fighting at Boar’s Head.  The war diary for the battalion merely notes that casualties were “very heavy” and no estimate is given of how many men were killed or injured.  However, it was later reckoned that 360 men died and over 1100 were injured or missing hence “The Day Sussex Died”.

In essence, the bombardment, which had been arranged to quell the Germans and drive them from their trenches, failed and the smoke from the bombardment drifted into the attackers, so men lost their sense of direction. Some ended up advancing at an angle across No Man’s Land, exposing their vulnerable flanks to the Germans. Many were mowed down in waves. A ditch existed in front of the British trenches, and carrying parties with small bridges had gone forward to assist in the crossing of it. These men had been amongst the first to fall and very few of the bridges were in place. Most had to scramble in and out of the ditch, as machine-gun fire swept the area. When they reached the German front line most of the wire was intact, and very few of the 13th ever made it into the German trenches. By the close of operations very few survivors had made their way back to the British frontline.
Albury’s date of death was presumed 30 June 1916 – Battle of Boar’s Head.


His body was exhumed from a large trench grave marked with a cross and a German cross.  The grave contained 84 unidentified British soldiers and 7 unidentified British officers.  The Graves Registration Unit then identified some of the men in the grave by their dog tags, their uniform, their badges of rank or their personal effects. Albury Turner was identified by his clothing and his identity disc.  

25 July 1923 he is recorded as having been reburied at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez.  His headstone carries a cross, his name, age, date of death and regimental badge.

Turner re-burial document copy

Probate was granted to his mother in May 1917 and his total effects amounted to £114 2s 11d

Turner Albury Charles soldiers  effects copy.jpeg

He is commemorated in the City of Coventry Roll of the Fallen:  the Great War 1914-1918, also in the Hove Library War Memorial.


Sidney John Stoner

Sidney John Stoner was born on the 13th of December 1896 in Brighton. He died in 1968 also in Brighton at the age of 71. His regiment was the Royal Sussex Regiment [13th Battalion] 3rd Southdowners. His rank was private and his service number was 4101. 

Family life

Sidney Stoner’s direct forebears lived and grew-up around the Burgess Hill area of Sussex. There is a solid connection to the village of Keymer – just east of Hassocks – where Sidney’s great-grandfather, James Stoner, and his family lived at the time of the 1871 census.

They resided in Oldland Cottage which was very near to Oldland Mill [both now Grade II-listed]. James and his two sons – James [jnr.] and Henry worked as labourers, though whether they were employees of the nearby mill is not stated.  Ann – James’s wife was a laundress. Their two daughters – Sarah & Charity were still at school. Also present at Oldland Cottage was 2-year-old George Stoner – Sidney’s dad – who was either staying with, or being looked after by his grandparents on the day of the Census. There is no mention of George’s parents until the 1881 census.

By 1881 George was aged 12, at school, and living with his immediate family at 3 Norway Cottages in Keymer. His father was working as a gardener whilst his mother, Dinah – who was now 40 years-old and five years George’s senior, was entered on the census as ‘gardeners wife’. Whilst George was the eldest child, there were three other sons [William aged 7, James aged 3 and Henry aged one] and one daughter [Sarah aged 9]

In the 1891 Census Sidney’s dad, George, now aged 22, was employed as one of two grooms at The Grange in London Road, Patcham – being recorded as ‘dwelling in the Grooms Stables’. In the main house lived Henry Young – a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, along with a cook and a housemaid. A gardener and his family inhabited The Grange Lodge. Elsewhere, the main body of the Stoner family were still in Keymer – though they had now moved to Junction Road. Head-of-the-household, William, was now marked down as a widower. Dinah Stoner had died in 1885 aged 44 – having produced a third daughter, Minnie, two years previously.   All working-age members of the family were employed as servants or gardeners.

George Stoner’s future wife [Sidney’s mother], Elizabeth Soloman was, at this time, aged 25 and working as a cook & domestic servant to William Dickinson [1825-1907] and his family at Woodside in Keymer. Dickinson was a retired Major-General who had served with distinction with the Royal Engineers. His own son – Major William Egerton de Brissac Dickinson – would die of wounds received at Flanders in 1918 whilst serving with the Royal Field Artillery.

George Stoner & Elizabeth Soloman married in 1894. Their first son, William, was born the next year – and Sidney was born a year later in 1896.

Home life

In 1901, 4 year-old Sidney was living at 14, Crown Gardens, Brighton with his father, George, his mother, Elizabeth, and his 6 year-old brother, William. George was working as a domestic coachman – the forerunner of a chauffeur.  

Ten years later George, now forty-two years-old, was still working as a coachman. He was also a widower – Elizabeth having died in 1905 at the age of thirty-nine. Three years earlier she had given birth to a third son, Harry, who was now at school. Meanwhile, William, 16 and Sidney ,14 were both employed as porters – William, at a drapers.

The family had now moved east to the Hanover area, and the four of them were living as sole-residents of 18, Montreal Street.

Military career

The nineteen year-old Sidney Stoner enlisted and was attested as a Private  with the Royal Sussex Regiment – 3rd Southdowners in Bexhill on January 5th 1915. The following day he was posted to the 13th Battalion. But it wasn’t until March 3rd 1916 that he joined the British Expeditionary Force in France where he served until the Battle of Boer’s Head. He was posted home the day after the battle – on July 2nd 1916.

There is medical evidence to suggest that his right arm had to be amputated. He was listed as ‘wounded’ – along with many others – in the Brighton Argus on Thursday 20th July 1916. On 15th November 1916 Sidney received his Discharge and Pension Claim at Queen Mary’s Convalescent Hospital, Roehampton also known as the Human Repair Factory – for the rehabilitation of Amputees. It is recorded that he would also receive a pension of 25/- for 2 years and thereafter 14/- for life. To help him into his post-combatant life. 

Sidney was registered as permanently unfit for duty on the following day – 16th November 1916 – and he was officially discharged as ’no longer physically fit for war service’ on 6th December 1916. Having been deemed ‘Permanently unfit’, Sidney was given £1 advance and a suit of plain clothes. He was awarded his War Badge & Certificate [no.177506] in respect of service on 22nd May 1917. This was registered to the family address at 18 Montreal Rd. He was later decorated with a British War & Victory Medal.10/5/17 His personal effects were returned to him on May 10th 1917. This consisted of a packet of letters and photographs which were, presumably, ‘lost’ on the ‘front’.


British War Medal


Victory Medal

Post War:

By the 1939 Register, there was an unmarried Sidney J Stoner living at 30 Elder Row, Brighton. It appears that he was lodging with Albert & Mabel Pratt, a postman and housewife respectively – and their 14 year-old son Albert, who was working as a messenger boy at an electrical engineering works. Sidney was working as a Drapers Warehouse Porter.

‘Stoner’ is a name that is extremely prevalent around the Brighton area – as is ‘Sidney’. Therefore the timeline of this particular ‘Sidney Stoner’ is difficult to pin down. There are many possible leads to his post-war life, but none – apart from the 1939 Register – that can be considered definite.

Research problems:

I have only recorded what is definitely known. There were quite a number of ‘S Stoner’s’ who are recorded as living in the Brighton & Hove area during the time-frame. Without a great deal of time and access to further resources, it is difficult to say what his life became post-war.


George Thomas Simmons

 George Thomas Simmons was born on the 24th March 1888 in East Grinstead, Sussex. He died in 1962 at the age of 73 in East Grinstead, Sussex. His regiment was the The Royal Sussex Regiment and his rank was private with the service number: GS 6824.

Family life

There are at least three generations of George Simmons. Our particular George Thomas Simmons was born on 24th March 1888. It would appear that the Simmons family have lived in the area of East Grinstead for several generations. George’s father is a Plumber. His parents George and Eliza were married in 1887 in East Grinstead, Sussex. George was the first child born. He was baptised on 10th June 1888 at East Grinstead.

The 1891 Census of England and Wales finds the family living at 68 Glen Vue, East Grinstead. George is a 3 living with his parents George and Eliza. Another child has been born; Jessie Emily was born on 22nd April 1889 and is now 2.

Home life

The 1901 Census finds George as a 13 years old. No occupation is shown for George or his sister Jessie who is now 11, they are probably at school. The family are all still at the same address of 68 Glen Vue, East Grinstead.

On 18th May 1907 George is 19 and employed at East Grinstead Railway Station as a Porter according to the UK Rail Employment Records 1833 – 1956. The 1911 Census for England and Wales finds George as a boarder at 5 Goodwood Road, New Cross, London. George is now 23 years old and is a Railway Guard.  It is interesting to note at this stage that one of the daughters living at the same house where George is boarding, Lillian Young, later becomes his wife. On 20th May 1912 George became a Police Constable with the Brighton Borough Police Force. It is not known where he was living.

On 27th May 1913 George married Lillian Young at East Grinstead Parish Church. Lillian is the daughter of Mrs Young who boarded out rooms to George.

Military career

George Thomas Simmons appears on both WW1 Plaques within The Old Police Cells Museum at Brighton Town Hall. 


Police Cell Plaque

George Simmons received permission to join the Army from the then Chief Constable Mr William Gentle on 12th May 1915. He left the Police on the same day and attested to join the Army. He stated his age was 27 years and 1 month, a Police Constable living at 59 Sandgate Road, Brighton.

Other Police Officers that had applied for permission to join the Army and released on the same day are shown below:- Arthur H Avis, Edward Eade, Edmund N Funnell, Christopher Gaston, Clifford Gaston, William Daniels, William J Berry, Frederick Stephenson, Samuel V Kitchener and Ernest Lynn.

George Simmons has a service number of GS/6824 which is consistent with joining The Royal Sussex Regiment between 2nd May 1915 and 1st June 1915. The “GS” signifies those that joined up for General Service but was not always prefixed on their records.

George was initially sent for training with the 10th Battalion on 21st May 1915 at Colchester the same day as Sydney MillenOn 8th September George passed a course of instruction in stretcher bearing and first aid. Catt, Avis, Cheesman, Clinch, Lynn, Lintott and Millen were also on this course.

Whilst all of George’s Police colleagues were being posted, mostly to the British Expeditionary Force in France, for some reason he remains in Colchester with the 10th Battalion. According to his war record George is posted to The Royal Engineers on 7th March 1916. His new Service number is 128008RE. He is a Pioneer. He went to France for training. On 20th June 1917 George receives a gunshot wound to his left arm. He was sent home and taken to the University Hospital, Gower Street, London. He is posted on 8th July 1916 to the Royal Engineers 3rd Pioneers Company in England.

On 13th March 1917 George is posted and embarks for the British Expeditionary Force in France with the Royal Engineers Special Brigade. The First World War witnessed the first use of Chemical Weapons in armed conflict. Chlorine Gas was first used on the Western Front by the Germans against French units in the Ypres Salient in 1915.

Special units of the Royal Engineers were established to use chemical weapons. They were wholly a wartime innovation – prior to 1915 the British Army had no capability for using Gas. In retaliation for the use of Chlorine by the Germans at Ypres, retaliatory measures were authorised by Lord Kitchener.

The British Army first used Gas in the preliminary stages of the Battle of Loos in September 1915. Although it had a very limited effect at Loos, the decision was taken to formalise the special Engineer units. A Special Brigade was formed, containing 4 Battalions, each of four companies. These would handle gases discharged from cylinders. Four other special companies were also formed to fire gas shells from Stokes Mortars, and four special sections to use flamethrowers. The total establishment of the whole Brigade was 208 officers and 5,306 men.

George was only in France for a few months when he was transferred back to England on 3rd July 1917. On 20th April 1918 George was promoted to unpaid Lance Corporal, He is with B Company 110 Royal Engineers Special Brigade. In 1916 Army Council instruction No. 1733 was issued with regards to The Military Police. The instruction is long and tedious but in short explains that the system of Policing such large numbers of Soldiers at home and abroad required trained Police Officers. As a result it would appear that soldiers who were Police Officers prior to the war were being transferred to either the MMP (Mounted Military Police) or MFP (Military Foot Police).

On 23rd July 1917 George was temporarily transferred to the Military Foot Police for the duration of the war. He remains a Lance Corporal and his new service number is P15921. On 17th August George is posted to Italy where he remained until 23rd March 1919. George report for disposal and was demobilized on 22nd April 1919. George was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.


Victory Medal


British War Medal








Post war

George rejoins Brighton Police on 10th April 1919 along with another returning Police Officer Alfred Hobden. It has not been possible to prove with any certainty that George and Lillian had any children. The 1939 Register reveals that George is a Widower. It has not been possible to establish a date of his wife Lilian’s death at present. George is living with his sister Jessie at 17 Sackville Gardens, East Grinstead. The record states that he is a Sewerage Pumping Station Attendant. George died in 1962, at least 22 years after his wife. His death is registered in Uckfield but he probably died in East Grinstead.

Jessie Emily Simmonds, George’s sister died the year after in 1973.

Research problems

Lack of information between rejoining Brighton Police in 1919 to his Death in 1973.

Copyright Researched and reported by Ian Borthwick 2017, retired Sussex Police Officer AB579, served between Nov 1976 to March 2007.

Ernest Henry Lynn

Ernest Henry Lynn was born 22nd January 1890 in East Grinstead, Sussex. He died in 1975 in Brighton at the age of 80. His regiment was the Royal Sussex Regiment and his rank was sergeant with the service number 6815.  

Family life

Ernest Henry Lynn was born on 22nd January 1890 in East Grinstead, Sussex. Although it cannot be certain he was probably born at 42 High Street, East Grinstead. It would appear that Ernest comes from a long line of Builders and Monumental Masons. His father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather are all Masons

Home life

Ernest is baptised in East Grinstead on 30th March 1890, His parents are shown as George Henry Lynn and Mary Jane Lynn. The 1891 Census of England and Wales finds Ernest as a 1yr old boy living with his family at 46 High Street, East Grinstead. His parents George and Mary were married in 1876. The marriage is registered at Steyning. Ernest has five elder siblings ; Florence Mary 13, Bernard George 10, Frederick Charles 8, Alice Lilian 6 and Henrietta Louisa 3.

The 1901 Census finds Ernest still at home with his father and siblings at 46 High Street, East Grinstead, Ernest is 11. His mother Mary does not appear on the Census and cannot at present be found. His brother Frederick who is now 18 is not on the Census and cannot be found either.

Ernest’s remaining siblings are all still living at home. Florence is 23 and is a Housekeeper, Bernard is 20 and is a Mason, Alice is 17 and is a Shop Assistant. Hernrietta is now 13.The 1911 Census of England and Wales find Ernest still living at home with his father at 46 High Street, East Grinstead. Ernest is now a Mason. He is single. Ernest’s father George is now 63yrs. He states that he is married and has been so for 34 years. There is still no trace of his wife Mary.

Bernard is still at home and is a 30 year old single Mason. Frederick Charles has returned home, he is married and is a Carpenter. He Married Fannie Istead and now has a son Reginald. Henrietta is now 23 and is a Housekeeper. Florence has left the family home and cannot at present be traced.

Ernest was a member of the 4th Royal Sussex Territorials which he left in order to become a Police Officer. On 6th July 1911 Ernest became a Police Constable with the Brighton Borough Police Force. It is not known where he was living at the time.

Military career

Ernest Henry Lynn appears on both WW1 Plaques within The Old Police Museum Cells at Brighton. He is shown to be with The Royal Sussex Regiment.


Police Cell Plaque

Ernest applied to the then Chief Constable of Brighton Borough Police William Gentle for permission to join the Army. With others, Arthur H Avis, Edward Eade, Edmund N Funnell, Christopher Gaston, Clifford Gaston, William Daniels, William J Berry, Frederick Stephenson, George Simmons, Samuel V Kitchener. Ernest Lynn was granted permission to leave on 12th May 1915. Ernest Lynn attested on 13th May 1915 at Brighton, Sussex along with William Berry for the Royal Sussex Regiment.

Ernest declared his age to be 25 years and 5 months old. He declared his father George, of 46 High Street, East Grinstead, Sussex to be his next of kin.

On 21st May, along with PC Avis, PC Catt, PC Cheesman, PC Lintott and PC Clinch he was posted to 10th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment for training at Colchester until 13th September 1915. He was allocated service number GS/6823. (This is the number after Arhur Avis 6822 and before George Simmons 6824). His record shows the number prefixed with the letters “GS”, which was used to signify that the soldier was conscripted for “General Service”.

On 8th September Ernest passed a course of instruction in stretcher bearing and first aid. Catt, Avis, Cheesman, Clinch, Lintott and Millen were also on this course. Despite all the other Brighton Police Officers being posted to different battalions after initial training it would appear Ernest remained in the UK for just over 11 months.

On 1st October 1915 Ernest was promoted to Lance Corporal whilst remaining with the 10th Battalion where he remained until 1st March 1916 when he was promoted to Corporal. On 3rd March 1916 Ernest was posted to the Pioneer Depot Royal Sussex Regiment where he remained in the rank of Corporal until 30th May 1916 when he returned to the 10th Battalion.

On 29th June 1916, a year after several of his Police Colleagues had been in France Ernest is posted to join 9th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment at the front. Ernest would have caught up with 9th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment at a time when the Battalion was due to be relieved and moved by buses and trains away from the Ypres area and travelled to Montagne.

Ernest Lynn probably did not travel with the 9th but instead was posted to 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment on 15th July 1916. He was promoted a Lance Sergeant. The 7th Battalion had been part of the “push” at the notorious Battle of the Somme around Ovillers and on 7th July was still fighting. The 7th Battalion had fought with great credit but suffered its highest number of deaths and casualties for any single day in the war. Twenty five officers and 650 other ranks went into the attack but only 5 officers and 220 other ranks remained unscathed. As a result of the severe losses suffered, the 7th Royal Sussex Regiment and 9th Royal Fusiliers were merged to form a battalion.

Ernest would have remained with 7th Battalion. Several more attacks were launched against the enemy in early August 1916 until they were sent for a well-earned rest but were soon to return in the area of Agny. The King and the Prince of Wales visited the Battalion on 10th August.

The Battalion remained in the area of Agny throughout September. October 1st brought the Battalion into the Somme front line once more, moving to the area of Flers and Gueudecourt. Front, support, and reserve trenches were shelled by the German for the first ten days. It was at this time that Ernest was wounded suffering from Shell Shock.

On 10th October 1916 Ernest was promoted to Sergeant.

The war continued for Ernest including his participation in the Battle of Arras and the third Battle of Ypres and the continued scramble of the Battle of the Somme.

October saw the 7th Battalion in intensive training near the 15th century battlefield at Agincourt which involved the first use of Tanks. They were training to be Tank support infantry. Upon completion the Battalion were involved in the first major tank offensive at the battle of Cambrai on 20th November 1917. This involved 380 tanks. The enemy were taken by surprise and their resistance was feeble. The 7th Battalion attained every one of their allotted objectives and it proved to be the most successful attack ever made by the 7th.

Early February found the 7th Battalion had moved to Doulieu. At 5.30 am on 4th February the Germans raided a post held by “A” Company, which resulted in the first injuries of 1918. Ernest Henry Lynn received Gunshot wounds to the neck and back and returned to England with his injuries. We next find Ernest being posted to the Royal Sussex regiment depot at Colchester on 25th February 1918.

On 25th November 1918 Ernest is posted to the Military Provost Staff Corps where he is basically a prison officer with the rank of Sergeant at a Military Corrective Training Centre at Aldershot. Ernest remains at this post until he is demobilized on 26th June 1919. His address was shown as 99 Queens Park Road, Brighton. Sussex. Ernest was awarded The British War Medal and Victory Medal. The medals below are not the actual medals issued to Lynn.


Victory Medal

British War Medal

Post war

It is known that Ernest rejoined the Brighton Borough Police after returning from the War. On 11th September 1929, Mary Jane Lynn, Ernest’s mother died. The Administration was granted to Ernest who is a Police Constable and his Sister Lilian. The 1939 Register is our next insight into Ernest, he is living at 3 Reading Road, Brighton. Ernest is shown as being a Retired Police Constable. He is shown as being born on 22nd January 1890.

Ernest is living with his wife Florence Agnes Cross whom he married at Newton Abbott, Devon in 1920. Her date of birth is shown as 26th March 1890. Further research reveals that Ernest and Florence had two children, Peggy Lynn born in 1921 and Ernest Lynn born in 1922. Florence died in 4th June 1952 at 45 Norton Road, Hove aged 62yrs.

Ernest Henry Lynn survived his wife for twenty three years. He died on 31st January 1975 aged 85yrs. His death is registered at Brighton.

Research problems

The only research problem was sorting out the sequence of events from within his army service records. Copyright Researched and reported by Ian Borthwick 2017, retired Sussex Police Officer AB579, served between Nov 1976 to March 2007.

William Edward Lucas

William Edward Lucus was born in Brighton in 1897. He died at the age of 18 on the 30th of June 1916 at Ferme de Bois France. His regiment was the Royal Sussex Regiment 12th Battalion and his rank was Private with the service number SD/2357.

Family Life

The 1911 Census shows that Robert Lucas senior, was widowed age 46. This cannot be correct as Mary his wife was still alive in 1919 – as witness – her son Frederick’s MIC on which there is a note:-
“Mrs Lucas applies for 1914 star in respect of the services of her son the late Pte F.G. Lucas 25.4.19” ( He was killed in 1917.)

Research does not show that Mary died between 1901 and 1911. Also William’s gratuity and effects were paid to his mother Mary after this date.
Further a Mary Lucas died in Brighton in 1946 aged 74. This age would link up with her age of 29 from the 1901 census. The death certificate has not been seen to validate this conjecture. It will remain a mystery as to why Robert senior referred to himself as a widower when his wife was still alive.
All three of Robert and Mary’s sons were killed in action. Their daughter Mable married William Cobby. Mable died in 1916 age 27. She had a daughter also called Mable.
By the end of the war Robert senior, his youngest daughter (and his wife Mary) were the only remaining members of the family still living from those recorded on the 1901 census. (Great War Forum)

Robert Henry the eldest son was married at the time of his death to Lily May of Laburnham Cottage, North Berstead nr Bognor. He died on 1st July 1916 from wounds age 23. He was injured the day before on 30.06. 1916. The brothers’ fought together, off’ the Rue Bois . (Roll of honour Royal Sussex Regiment)
Frederick George the middle son was killed in action during the Arras offensive on 3RD May 1917 (roll of honour Royal Sussex Regiment)

Military Carrear

Private William Lucas enlisted in Hove age just 17. Listed in St Peters Memorial Book. Buried in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery. F 924. (Roll of honour Royal Sussex Regiment)
39th Division moved from Aldershot to Whitley camp to complete its training. Rifles were issued in January 1916 following which the infantry began musketry courses and during February the artillery carried out gunnery practice on Salisbury Plain.
Ferme de Bois 30/06/16 3.5 am
“12th Battalion attacked front and support lines and succeeded in entering same. The support line was occupied for about ½ hour and the front line for 4 hours. The withdrawal was necessitated by the supply of bombs and ammunition giving out and heavy enemy barrage on our from line communication trenches, preventing being sent forward.” (Battalion war Diary)
Loses were so great that the date was thereafter referred to as ‘the day Sussex died.’

Robert Henry Lucas

Robert Henry Lucas was born in 1892 in Brighton Sussex he was  wounded on 30th of June 1916 and died on the 1st of July 1916. He died on the Rue De Bois France at the age of 23. His regiment was the Royal Sussex Regiment 12 Battalion, 39th Division. His rank was private and service number SD/1772.

Family  Life                              

Robert and his wife Lily, lived in Laburnum Cottage North Berstead at the commencement of the war. During Robert’s childhood he lived with his parents Robert and Mary and four siblings  at 47 Southampton Street Brighton. His Fathers occupation was listed as a bricklayer.

Census 1901 The family consisted of three sons and two daughters. Mabel  11 years,  Lily  9 years, Robert 7 years, Frederick 5 years,  William 3 years.

Census 1911  Robert senior was recorded as being a widower age 46. All other members of the family were  the same as that of 1901  census but with the addition  of a  house keeper.  During the war years all three sons were killed in action followed by the death of the eldest daughter Mabel, who died of an infection. Mabel was married to William Cobby they had a baby daughter also called Mabel. By the end of the war only Robert senior and his youngest daughter Lily were living.

Military Career:    

Robert enlisted in Bognor Regis three months after his younger brother William. They were both soldiers in The  Royal Sussex Regiment 12th Battalion and  fought in Ferme de Bois France, known as ” The Battle of Boar’s Head.”  They died a day apart.  Frederick  the middle brother, a regular soldier, died in 1917 during The Arras offensive. Frederick was also in The Royal Sussex Regiment but served in the  7th  Battalion.

Private Robert Henry Lucas, Listed in St Peter’s memorial Book under Unknown Ranks. Buried in Merville Communal  Cemetery  F:345 The concentration report with his CWGC record indicated he was originally buried  in a large trench grave,  in a German cemetery. He was subsequently exhumed and buried in his current grave.  

Private William Edward Lucas SD/2351, Enlisted in Hove.  Listed in St Peter’s Memorial  Book. Buried in Cabaret Rouge British cemetery,  souchez F924.

Private Frederick George Lucas L/10141, Enlisted in Chichester.  Listed in St Peter’s Memorial Book. The Arras Memorial MR20.

Military Training

 The 39th Division moved from Aldershot to Whitley camp to complete its training. Rifles  were  issued  in  January 1916 following which the infantry began musketry courses and during February the artillery carried out gunnery practice on Salisbury Plain.

Military Action

For the 12th Sussex Battalion the war diary reads:

“Ferme Du Bois 29.0616 9pm. Two companies marched for Richbourge and Vielle Chapelle and joined the rest of battalion in front line in Ferme Du Bois. Artillery bombarded enemy trenches, Boar’s Head, from 2pm – 5pm.  The  battalion attacked front and support lines and succeeded in   entering same. The support line was occupied for about half an hour and the front line for four hours. The withdrawal was necessitated by the supply of bombs and ammunition. Heavy enemy barrage on our front line and communication trenches,  preventing  reinforcement being sent forward.”

Operation orders are attached to diary. “The battalion was relieved by 14th Hants at 10am and marched to Les Lobes after resting at Richbourge. The diary  also notes the casualties.

‘ missing reported killed 35;   wounded 236;   missing 120.  The officer casualties are:  killed in action 5;  wounded 7;  missing 120’ (Great War Forum)

Research Problem:

Referring to  the 1911 census. It records Robert Senior as  being a widower at the age of 46.   However Mary was still alive in 1919 as witness,  her son Edward’s MIC on which there was a note:  “Mrs M. Lucas applies for 1914 star in respect of the services of her son the late  Pte F.G. Lucas 25.04.19” Ancestry did not found the death of a Mary Lucas between 1901 and 1911.

There is however, a Mary Lucas who died in Brighton  in 1946 age 74 , this ties up with her age on 1901 census of 29.

It is open to speculation but further research does not reveal  any significant details of the life of Mary Lucas.  Her memory remains confused.


Henry Frederick Hayter

Henry Frederick Hayter was born on the 27th February 1892 in St. George’s, Hanover Square, London. He died in 1973 in Worthing at the age of 81 years. His regiment was the Sussex Yeomanry and his rank was Corporal.

Family life

Henry Frederick Hayter was born on 27th February 1892 in the registration district of St. George’s Hanover Square, London. Henry appears in the 1901 Census as a 9 year old. He is living at the family home in 66 Arthur Street, Chelsea, London, along with his parents and sister.

Home life

Henry appears to be the second child of Henry John and Rachel Anne Hayter. His father was a Police Inspector with the Metropolitan Police. Henry John Hayter and Rachel Anne married in the registration district of St George’s Hanover Square, London. Henry Frederick has one elder sister Elizabeth Harriet. 

The 1911 census of England and Wales shows that the family have moved house to 1 Palmerston Terrace, Park Road, East Molesey. Henry is single and unemployed. His father is now a retired Metropolitan Police Inspector and his mother is working as a registration agent for the Conservative party. Elizabeth, his sister, no longer lives at home. She can be found working as a barmaid in the area of Hampton Court.

On 3rd September 1914 Henry Frederick Hayter joins Brighton Borough Police along with Arthur John Green, Ernest Griggs, Frederick White and Thomas Arthur Matthews. It is not known at present where Henry was living.

On 6th January 1918, 13th January 1918 and 20th January 1918 Banns are read in St Stephens Church, East Twickenham for the marriage of Henry Frederick Hayter, a batchelor soldier in service and Amy Cordelia Lear a spinster. 
The marriage took place at St Stephens Church on 9th March 1918. It would appear that Sydney Barrow, a Brighton Borough Police Officer is Henry’s Best Man. Henry’s sister Elizabeth is a witness.

Military career

Henry Frederick Hayter appears on both WW1 Plaques within The Old Police Museum Cells at Brighton. He is shown to be with The Sussex Yeomanry.


Police Cell Plaque

Henry applied to the then Chief Constable of Brighton Borough Police William Gentle for permission to join the Army. With others, Herbert Boxall, Sidney Barrow, Thomas Ford, Ernest Griggs, Charles Moorey andGeorge Sutton permission was granted to leave on 19th May 1815. It is probable that Henry joined the Military Police at some stage.

No information of any certainty has been forthcoming with regards to Henry’s military career apart from his wedding certificate and the wedding Banns which show him as a Corporal with the Sussex Yeomanry and the records of the Watch Committee.

The Chief Constable of Brighton Borough Police, William Gentle, reports to the Brighton Police Watch Committee that Frederick V Redman, Henry F Hayter, Bertram Winter, John W Bayley, Samuel Cornford and James H Tipping had all been demobilized and had reported back for Police Duty on 30th January 1919.

No other war records can be found.

Post war

It is known that Henry Frederick Hayter was a member of the Brighton Borough Police after the war. The question that is to remain unanswered at present is “Did he go to war? Or did he remain at home with the Sussex Yeomanry?

The newspapers help us trace Henry. The Hastings and St Leonards Observer dated 4th September 1920 details Detective Sergeant Hayter of Brighton Police arresting a man for theft of a bicycle. On 25th May 1925 The Police News reported that a woman had bitten a detectives hand. On July 30th 1926 the Shepton Mallet Journal reports on a runaway Army Horse that kicks and injures PC Hayter.
During 1929 Amy gave birth to a baby boy Henry M Hayter. Unfortunately baby Henry died. His birth and death are both registered in the 1st quarter at Brighton.

In 1937 A Guildford Voters register shows both Henry and Amy at the Malabar Hotel, Epsom Road, Guildford.

The 1939 Register is our next insight to Henry Hayter and his wife Amy. They are both living at 11 Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton. Henry’s date of birth is shown as 27th February 1892. Cordelia Amy has her birth shown as 24th June 1893. Henry is a retired Police Constable.

Amy Cordelia Hayter died in the first quarter of 1973 in Worthing aged 82. Her husband Henry Frederick Hayter also died in 1973. His death is registered in the 3rd quarter at Worthing. Henry was 81 years of age.

Research problems

The frustration of not having any Army records.
Copyright Researched and reported by, Ian Borthwick 2017, Retired Sussex Police Officer AB579, served between Nov 1976 to March 2007.

George William Henry Hackett

George William Henry Hackett was born on the 4th of September 1881 in Horsham, Sussex. He died in 1933 in Horsham at the age of 52.  His regiment was the Sussex Yeomanry / MFP. His rank was sergeant, with the service number: 3432/ P7579. 

Family life

George William Henry Hackett was born on 4th September 1881. His birth was registered in Horsham during the 3rd quarter. Within his Army records George’s birth date is shown as 4/8/1880 at Brighton. It is unknown why this should be a different date other than an error. George is 33 at attestation.

George appears in the 1891 Census as a 9 year old. He is living at the family home at 9 Railway Cottages, Worth, Three Bridges along with his parents and siblings.

Home life

George is the second child of George and Ellen Hackett. His father was a Yardsman for the Railway. George Hackett Senior and Mary Jessie Harvey married within the Horsham registration area in 1904. George has one elder sister, Annie and four younger brothers Albert, Charles, Alfred and Frederick. George William Henry Hackett cannot be found within the 1901 Census. It may be that he is fighting in the Boer War with the Cape Mounted Rifles.

According to The Army Attestation document of George Hackett he stated that he has previously served with the Cape Mounted Rifles. The Cape Mounted Rifles, previously the “Frontier Armed and Mounted Police” were fully militarised in 1878 as a unit of the Colonial Forces. They were used in the 2nd Boer War of 1899 – 1902. During peacetime the “CMR” served as a Police Force.

On 12th August 1903 George joined Brighton Borough Police. The picture below was taken before the war.


In 1904 George married Mary Jessie Harvey in the registration district of Horsham. Mary gave birth to twins John Henry and George William on 6th September 1905 and later in 1910 Charles Sydney is born.

The 1911 census shows the family living at 48 Spring Gardens, Brighton. George is a Police Constable with the Borough force. It would appear the Mary had given birth to four children. One did not survive. There is no further information available.

Military career

As already stated, George declared that he had previous military experience with the Cape Mounted Rifles. There is no other information available with this regards and no records can be found. George, whilst being employed by Brighton Police as a Police Sergeant was “loaned” by the police to The Royal Sussex Regiment as a Drill Instructor in 1914. The Chief Constable reported to the Brighton Borough Police Watch Committee that from 19/4/1914 four Drill Instructors Hackett, Hibbs, Pearson, and Read had been loaned to the War Office.  The Chief Constable, William Gentle recommended that due to George Hackett and other Officers being taken for War duties that he, along with others be replaced as members of the Fire Brigade.

On 11th December 1915 George attested to join the Army and was immediately posted to the Army Reserve, where he continued to be a Drill Instructor with the Royal Sussex Regiment. On 5th April 1916 The Chief Constable again reported to the Brighton Borough Police Watch Committee that Sgt Robson, PC Vigar, Pc Hackett, and PC Reid had applied for permission to rejoin the Army. They have previously been employed as Drill Instructors at Chichester. Permission was granted.

On 7th April 1916 George was mobilised and posted to The Sussex Yeomanry with the 8th Cycles Regiment. His service number was 3432. It is believed that George had attested under the “Derby” scheme which was devised to encourage men to voluntarily register their name on the principle that once registered they would be called up for service only when necessary. As an added incentive married men were advised that they would only be called up once the supply of single men was exhausted.

George was classed as a group B Soldier due to his age and marital status which did not allow him to go abroad to fight. He remained on home territory for the duration of the war.

On 21st June 1916 George was promoted to Sergeant and remained with the Sussex Yeomanry until, like most other Police Officers from civilian life he was transferred to the Military Foot Police, where he served firstly as a Lance Corporal and promoted to Sergeant at number 8 area in Kent. His new service number was P7579. Herbert Robson also from Brighton Police was with him at demob. Robson was P7580.

On 2nd March 1919 George was at the Crystal Palace dispersal unit where on 29th March 1919 he was posted to group Z reserves and demobilised. On 19th March 1919 The Chief Constable of Brighton Police reported to the Brighton Police Watch Committee that Hector Bradley and George Hackett had been demobilized and returned to Police duties on 13th March 1919.

Two of George’s brother saw action. Albert was killed in action on 12th October 1916 whilst serving with 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Alfred was injured and awarded a Silver Badge.

Post war

It is known that George returned to the Brighton Borough Police after the war.

George William Henry Hackett died aged 52yrs in 1933 in the registration district of Horsham. The 1939 Register finds Mary Jessie Hackett as a widow. Mary is living at 46 Ellen Street, Hove. Mary survived her husband until 1947. She died in Hove.

Research problems

The Army records were complicated and the chronology was difficult to ascertain.

Copyright Researched and reported by, Ian Borthwick 2017, Retired Sussex Police Officer AB579, Served between Nov 1976 to March 2007.