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.


The Orange Lilies film shorts

shot_1493220388754.jpgJust to let you know about the new four short films we’ve created with young people from Brighton & Hove about life in the city in WWI supported by film maker Tracey Gue for The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme project.

They’re a talented bunch!

You can see them online on You Tube, link here:



Our final event!

20170630_170652-e1499443215907.jpgWe marked the end of our The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme project with a big community history event on 30th June 2017 at Jubilee Library in Brighton.

It was a roaring success with a great variety of speakers and around 150 visitors to the drop in day, listening to presentations, visiting stalls and exhibitions at the venue, followed by the unveiling of a memorial stone to those who fell at The Battle of Boar’s Head on 30th June 1916.

Just to say a huge thank you for your support and delivery for The Orange Lilies project since June 2016.
Your time and expertise has really served to make the project happen and is so very much appreciated. I really can’t thank you enough for your involvement!
We are still uploading research to the project website, so things won’t end right away, but in terms of project delivery we are now complete.
I must say it’s come round far too soon and I feel in some ways like we’ve just got started, so am sad to finish, but on to projects new for now.
We’ve had great feedback from visitors for the day in general and also each specific session. The day was a real success and we had around 150 visitors ongoing through the day to hear your presentations. I hope you enjoyed it too!
‘I was glad to catch Geoffrey Mead’s talk. Fascinating!’
‘The speakers were of an extremely high standard’
‘Chris Kempshall’s talk was my favourite part’
‘A fascinating day, thank you!’
‘Really enjoyed it’
‘The speakers were all inspirational, amusing, entertaining, relevant and inspiring’
‘It was an illuminating and fascinating day of events’
‘All the presentations (including the Q+A) were of an extremely high standard’
‘Many congratulations on a superb project’
If you’d like to join the Strike a Light mailing list for future project activities and events, do let me know and I’ll add you to the newsletter. 
To keep up with us in other ways you can ‘Follow’ the Strike a Light website –
or on Twitter – @strikerlight


Herbert Henry Boxall

Herbert Henry Boxall was born on the 26th March 1884 in Bury, West Sussex. He died in 1975 at Worthing living 91 years. His regiment was the Sussex Yeomanry.

 Home life

Herbert was the third child to Walter and Harriet Boxall. Herbert had two elder brothers Louis b.1879, Walter b.1882. He also had a younger sister Edith b. 22nd May 1990. In 1891 all the children were attending the local school.

In 1901 all three of the boys are following in their father’s footsteps as Blacksmiths.

On 7th April 1909 Herbert became a Police Constable with the Brighton Borough Police Force. It is not known where he was living at the time but within the 1911 Census, three years later; it is revealed that he was living as a boarder at 82 Coventry Street, Preston. (This is Preston Village, Brighton).

Military career

There appears to be no traceable Military records available for Herbert Boxall at this time although this matter will be reviewed. It is known that Herbert Boxall applied for permission to join the Army and was given permission to leave Brighton Borough Police by Chief Constable William Gentle on 19th May 1915.

Other Police officers that were given permission to leave the Brighton Borough Police Force on the same day included Sidney Barrow, Thomas Ford, Ernest Griggs, Henry Hayter, Charles Moorey and George Sutton.

It is not known at present whether Herbert went to war or remained with the Yeomanry.

Post war

It is known that Herbert rejoined Brighton Borough Police on 14th August 1919 along with Richard Lintott, Sydney Millen, Jack Cheesman, Christopher Gaston, Clifford Gaston, and Arthur Avis.

It can be presumed that Herbert Boxall did his bit for King and Country but it is not known where. The 1939 Register is our next insight to Herbert’s life which finds him alive and well living back at his parent’s home at Bury Gate. Herbert is living with his 87 year old mother Harriet along with his sister Edith.

Herbert is shown as a retired Police Inspector. (No trace can be found of his promotions). He is single and appears never to have married.

Herbert died on 11th April 1975 at 95 years of age at Swan Cottage, Rackham, Pulborough. His death is registered in Worthing.

Probate was registered in London on 23rd June 1975. Herbert’s estate was valued at £4018.

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

Charles Beesley

Charles Beesley was born in 1879 in Brighton. Charles died on the 30th of June 1916 at the Battles of Boar’s head in France at the age of 37 years. His regiment was the Royal Sussex Regiment, 13th Battalion. His service number was SD/3289.

Family and Home life:

Charles’ father Thomas Beesley was born in Oxford in 1840 and married Mary Bayliss of Woodstock, Oxfordshire in 1863. By 1871 they had five children and were living at 33 Marston Street, Cowley in Oxford and Mary’s mother Maria and Mary’s sister Adelina aged 15 years were living with them. Thomas was working as a college servant. Charles’ grandfather Richard Beesley, who was born in 1810, had also worked as a college servant.

Mary died in 1871 at the age of 29 years. At some time after the 1871 census Thomas moved to Brighton.

On 28/04/1878 in St Peter’s Church he married Lucy Comfort, who was born in Rotherhithe in about 1839 and was the fourth child of George Comfort and his wife Mary.

The Mathieson Brighton Suburban Directory of 1870, shows that Lucy was working as a milliner and dressmaker at 22, Bloomsbury Place and the 1874 Post Office directory shows she was a milliner working at 101 St George’s Road. Dressmakers would have been in high demand at this time in fashionable Brighton.
It is possible that Lucy may have learnt her trade at school or her father may have paid for an apprenticeship. He had at the time of the 1871 census worked as a clerk, but by the time of Lucy’s marriage was an accountant and therefore possibly of some means.

Charles’ birth was registered in Brighton between October and December 1879. The 1881 census showed him to be living with his parents and half sister Edith, who had been born in Oxford in 1870, at 33 Great College Street Brighton. Thomas was working as a waiter in a hotel and Lucy as a dressmaker.

Charles’ half brother Frank, in 1881, at the age of 13 years was working as a servant at 7 Regency Square in Brighton. Frank in 1887 joined the Royal Artillery and served for 21 years. He married twice.

Thomas’ other children, from his first marriage, in 1881 were living with relatives, Mary Maria born in 1866, with her Uncle Richard and Aunt  Annie in Oxford and  Emily, born in 1867,  with her Aunt Fanny in Battersea, but it is not clear where Tom, who was born in 1864, was living.
Thomas Beesley died in 1890. The 1891 census records Lucy to be a widow living at 9 Eastern Road with Charles who is aged 11 years; Lucy was the head of the household and continued to work as a dressmaker. There was another family of four living at the same address.

Lucy died in 1892 aged 53 years and so Charles, aged 12 years was an orphan.

In 1901 Charles was single, 21 years old and a boarder of Maria Dudman, living at 12 George Street Gardens. He was working as a printer’s compositor.

A compositor was the person who inset each letter of a word into the frames for printing. It needed the ability to read in mirror image, which apparently comes easier to those who are naturally left handed.

On January 10th 1903 in Hurstpierpoint, Charles at the age of 23 years, married Adelaide Wren, who was born in East Grinstead. They had two children, Charles Edward born on 29/09/1903 and Rosie Doris born on 10/02/1909.

In 1911 the family were living at 17, Terminus Road, Brighton and Charles was still working as a compositor and letterpress printer at an aerated water company.
There were seventeen Mineral Water Manufacturers in business in Brighton in 1901.

Military Career 

Charles enlisted at Brighton with the Royal Sussex Regiment, 13th Battalion. His regimental number is SD/3289 suggesting he was one of Lowthers Lambs. There appears to be limited information about Charles’ military career. He was killed in action on 30/06/1916 and is buried at Cabaret- Rouge British Cemetery, having been exhumed from Edward Road No 4 (Factory Trench). He was identified by his disc. Many of the soldiers found with Charles were not identified and came from other regiments.

He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

His effects totalling £1 15s 6d was sent to his wife as was his war gratuity of £6.

Post War

Adelaide did not remarry. The 1939 register showed her to be living in Rochford, Essex with her daughter Rosie D McRobert, who had married Alec J McRobert in 1935. Adelaide died in Essex in 1945. Rosie died in 1975.

Adelaide’s son, Charles Edward Beesley, in 1939 lived in Ealing, Middlesex with his wife Elsie and son Michael who was born in June 1936. Charles died in 1991 and is buried in Greenford Park Cemetery.

Sydney Barrow

Sydney Barrow was born, 13th October 1885 at Berwick, East Sussex. He died on the 11th October 1962 in Brighton. At the age of 77 years. His Regiment was the 2/1st Sussex Yeomanry and his rank was Acting Corporal, Service number: 171267.

 His profession pre-war was Brighton Borough Police Officer and his profession post-war was Bailiff at Brighton County Court.

He married in 1919 to Nellie Durden in Eastbourne.

Family life

Sydney Barrow was born 13th October 1885 in Berwick, East Sussex where his ancestors appear to have lived for several generations.

Home life

Sydney was the younger brother of Herbert who was born in 1884. Sydney and Herbert attended Berwick School.

The picture below shows the two boys with their parents Frederick and Ellen. Sydney is on the left.


By 1901 Sydney was working on a farm as a worker. He is still living in Berwick.

On 11th March 1908 Sydney became a Police Constable with the Brighton Borough Police Force. It is not known where he was living at the time but within the 1911 Census, three years later; it is revealed that he was living with his Uncle Benjamin John Woodall at 41 Kings Street, Brighton. Woodall had married Isabel Barrow. 

Military career

The Military records are very sketchy for Sydney Barrow, only two documents have been found. Upon the two WW1 Plaques within The Old Police Museum Cells at Brighton, Sydney appears to be with two units, The Sussex Yeomanry and The Northumberland Fusiliers.

Sydney Barrow received permission from Chief Constable William Gentle to join the Army from the then Chief Constable Mr. William Gentle on 19th May 1915. He left the Police on the same day and according to the “Silver Badge” records attested to join the Army the same day.

Other Police Officers that had applied for permission to join the Army that were released from the Police on the same date as Barrow are shown below:-

Herbert Boxall, Thomas Ford, Ernest Griggs, Henry Hayter, Charles Moorey and George Sutton.

The first record from the UK, WW1 Service Medal and Awards Rolls, 1914 -1920 shows that he qualified for the British War Medal along with the Victory Medal. He was Acting Corporal in the Sussex Yeomanry and his service number was SY 171267. The medal form which is dated 1920 also shows Sydney as a Lance Sergeant with the Northumberland Fusiliers, service number 237027.


Victory Medal


British War Medal


Within the Silver War Badge Roll transcription held at ‘Find my past an entry is found which records Sydney as having enlisted on 19th May 1915. At some stage unknown he received a Gun Shot wound and was discharged from the Army due to injury on 13th December 1918 aged 33yrs as a Lance Sgt. Sydney was awarded a Silver War Badge number B/65986.

Post war

Sydney Barrow eventually returns to Brighton Borough Police Force on 9th October 1919. It is not known where he has been since his discharge. A picture below is undated. The 1939 Register is our next insight to Sydney’s life which finds him alive and well living at 187 Ditchling Road, Brighton.  Sydney married Nellie Durden at Eastbourne in 1919. The couple appear to have four children;

Kathleen Mary Barrow born 25th April 1920 Brighton.

Norah Phyllis Barrow born 19th December Brighton.

Audrey Ellen Barrow born 1924 Brighton.

Hilda A Barrow born 1927 Brighton.

Sydney is shown to be employed as a Bailiff at Brighton County Court

Sydney died in Brighton on 11th October 1962 aged 76 years at Brighton General Hospital. Probate register shows that he was still living at 187 Ditchling Road.

Nellie Barrow died on 7th August 1981 aged 90 years.

Research problems-

The only research problem was a lack of army service records. Copyright Researched and reported by Ian Borthwick 2017. Retired Sussex Police Officer AB579. Served between Nov 1976 to March 2007.


Put a date in your diaries for this FREE event next week on Friday 30th June 11am-4.30pm at Jubilee Library, Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE.

Book your free place here:

We have lots of speakers during the day including Dr Frank Gray (Screen Archive South East) showing Sussex in WWI film clips, Dr Chris Kempshall discussing East Sussex in WWI, Gateways to the First World War, Dr Alison Fellon Women Workers in WWI, and Dr Geoffrey Mead from the University of Sussex talking about Laundrey Maids and Fisherman in Brighton during WWI.

We’ll also have exhibitions in the main area, and a Q& A lunchtime session chaired by Dr Sam Carroll. You are welcome to drop in, or stay all day, and sit and eat your lunch whilst hearing more about this fascinating period of history with a Brighton perspective.

We are exhibiting our textiles from two projects  alongside a series of bespoke short films about the city in WWI (made by young filmmakers), for the BFESTBrighton Youth Festival starting on 28th May. This exhibition will continue until 4th July 2017.

Find out more about The Orange Lilies project here:

With support from project partners Fabrica Gallery, Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, and Gateways to the First World War.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Our exhibition is open to the public!

20170525_102209.jpgWe’ve just set up the textiles part of our BFEST 2017 Youth Arts exhibition at Jubilee Library in Brighton, exploring Brighton and Hove during the Somme, and made with young people, and artist Rosie James. It’s looking great!
We will also be showing the short films made with young people for The Orange Lilies project, and they should be operation from tomorrow.
The BFST festival last for a week and offers free activities across the city created by, with and for young people.
It starts with the launch on Saturday 27th May at The Level so come down and see the exhibition. It’s on until 4th July.

Brighton & Hove in WWI – Free event day: Friday 30th June 2017

We welcome you to a free event day exploring Brighton and Hove during WWI and showcasing two related projects The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme (Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage), and The Boys on The Plaque (Fabrica gallery).
We’ve got a great series of speakers throughout the day, and a lunchtime Q & A session, so bring a packed lunch, grab a cup of tea from Temptations cafe in the library, hear some fascinating tales, and watch archive film footage of Brighton and Hove a hundred years ago.
There will also be a book launch for The Boys on the Plaque project, and an exhibition based at Jubilee Library for The Orange Lilies project.
The event is a drop in event, but welcome to come all day!
Free to attend, but please book a place: Brighton & Hove in WWI – Free event day

B&H in WWI event 30th June 2017

Brighton & Hove in WWI – Free event day

Free WWI Community history event marking the end of both The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme, and The Boys on the Plaque projects; exploring Brighton & Hove in WWI.

& Launch of The Boys on the Plaque book

Venue: Jubilee Library, Brighton, 11am – 4.30pm – 30th June 2017


11 – 11.20am: Introductions by Nicola Benge, The Orange LiliesProject Manager & Clare Hankinson, The Boys on the PlaqueProject Manager

11.20am – 12.10pm: Dr Frank Gray – Director of Screen Archive South East shows vintage film clips & discusses Brighton during WWI

12.15 – 1.30pm: Brighton & Hove in WWI Q & A – chaired by Dr Sam Carroll + Speakers: Dr Chris Kempshall, Dr Alison Fell, Dr Geoffrey Mead & Dr Frank Gray

1.35– 2.25pm: Dr Alison Fell – First World War Women workers and strikes

2.35 – 3.25pm: Dr Chris Kempshall – Brighton, The Boar’s Head, and the Somme

3.30 – 4.20pm: Dr Geoffrey Mead – Laundry maids and Fishermen – Aspects of work in WW1 Brighton

4.45pm onwards: Unveiling of new Battle of Boars Head memorial at The Steine War Memorial, Brighton


Battle of Boar’s Head exhibition courtesy of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove; The Boys on the Plaque project resources, WWI exhibitions and resources from Brighton & Hove Libraries, Gateways to the First World War, and The Royal British Legion.

Venue – Jubilee Library, Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE

Queries to:


The Orange Lilies project is delivered by Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage

The Boys on the Plaque project is delivered by Fabrica gallery

Both in Partnership with the following organisations:

Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, and Gateways to the First World War

with support from

Heritage Lottery Fund

Minnie Turner – Suffragette talk at Brighton Museum this week

The free talk we have organised for both The Orange Lilies project and The Boys on the Plaque WWI project is this Friday 12th May at Brighton Museum. 
Meet at the entrance to the museum
The Orange Lilies project is lucky to be having an illustrated talk at Brighton Museum this week about the famed Minnie Turner, a Brighton suffragette in the lead to and during WWI.
This will include looking at original suffragette local Brighton objects from a 100 years ago, as it will be a private event for us, with gallery enactor Karen Antoni.
This is a great way for  project researchers to find out more about the home front in Brighton and Hove during our project period (1916 and the Somme). you can read more about Minnie here:
The talk takes place at Brighton Museum on Friday 12th May 1-4pm. FREE. Meet at the museum entrance.
Please RSVP to