Now is the time for marching,
Now let your hearts be gay,
Hark to the merry bugles
Sounding along our way.
So let your voices ring, my boys,
And take the time from me,
And I'll sing you a song as we march along,
Of Sussex by the Sea!

The first verse of 'Sussex by the Sea', written by William Ward Higgs in 1907, and adopted as a marching song of the Royal Sussex Regiment in the First World War.

To mark the centenary of the First World War the Ashdown Forest Research Group has written case studies of all the men — 113 in total — who died while on military service during the war and who are commemorated by the war memorials at Forest Row, Hartfield and Coleman's Hatch. These villages lie on the northern fringes of Ashdown Forest and traditionally have strong links with it. Click here to read an illustrated online essay which gives an overview of how the project was undertaken and discusses the key findings that have emerged from the research. The studies are kept under review and are updated from time to time in the light of new information. We welcome any corrections, supplementary information or photographs that may be of interest. Please contact us by email.


Click on any man's name below to view their study. You can flick from one study to another by clicking the red arrows in the top corners of the web page. Clicking the red 'home' icon brings you back to this page. (Summary details of the men may be found here (ordered by surname) and here (ordered by date of death).)

Baker, Pte George Frank Maskell, Pte Harry George
Bannister, L/Cpl William Henry Maskell, Pte Mark
Bassett, Spr Albert May, L/Cpl Ernest William
Bassett, Pte James Baldwin Medhurst, Spr John Arthur
Baylay, Lt George Frederick Mellor, Pte Benjamin Charles
Biddlecombe, Seaman Henry George Melville, Lt William Woodfall
Boakes, Pte Ernest Stanley Miles, Pte Walter Alfred George
Brand, Pte Albert Victor Mills, L/Cpl Albert
Brooker, Pte Charles Frederick Mitchell, Pte Albert
Brown, Pte William George Padgham, Pte Spencer
Brownlow, Capt Wilfred Herbert Cecil Padgham, Pte William
Burfoot, Pte Bertram Page, Pte Harry
Cannon, Pte Ernest Edward Pannett, Pte Reginald Henry
Cook, Pte Sidney Herbert Parker, Pte Edward John
Cox, Pte Raymond Parker, Pte William George
Divall, Pte Edward Peel, 2nd Lt Charles William
Divall, Pte Reginald Polehampton, Lt Frederick William
Draper, Bomb. Thomas James Richardson, Pte Albert Edward
Dunstan, Cpl Herbert George Robinson, Lt Cyril Charles
Edwards, Pte Frederick Robert Robson, Pte Robert Charles
Edwards, Pte Frederick Sylvester Sands, Pte Alfred Jesse
Farley, Sh.Sm. Victor Frederick Sands, Pte William Thomas
Fielder, L/Cpl Edward Cecil Shelley, Spr Ewbert John
Fielder, L/Cpl Frederick Stephen Simmons, Pte James
Fisher, 2nd Lt Edmund Montagu Prinsep Simpson, Lt George
Fisher, Capt George Kenneth Thompson Sippetts, Sgt Jack Frederick
Fry, CSM Frederick Samuel Snelgrove, Lt Sidney Henry
Gladman, Pte Archibald Frederick Southey, Dvr Frederick Charles
Gordon, 2nd Lt Ronald Granville Stevens, Pte Charles Edward
Grayer, Pte Harold Stevenson, Pte George William
Gregory, Pte George Stevenson, Pte John
Grisbrook, Cpl Alfred Llewellyn Styles, Pte William Joseph
Harding, Pte Ernest Sumner, Pte Alfred William
Heasman, Pte George James Sykes, Lt Col William Ernest
Hill, Gnr Frederick William Syms, Pte Charles
Holmwood, Pte Frederick Tester, Pte William Edgar
Honeysett, Pte Thomas Edward Thomsett, Pte Philip
Horlick, Maj Gerald Nolekin Tibbles, Pte Frederick Charles
Humphrey, Pte Thomas Titcomb, Pte Arthur William
Hyder, Pte Frank Tomsett, Pte Albert Ernest Standen
Kekewich, Capt George Upton, Pte Albert James
Kekewich, Capt Hanbury Lewis Upton, Stoker Arthur
Kekewich, Capt John Vaughan, Dvr Ernest Stanley
Kennard, Pte Arthur Villiers, Lt Algernon Hyde
Kensett, Pte Henry James Waters, Lt Eric Gordon
Killick, Pte William Webber, Pte Frederick Percy
Lawrence, Capt Michael Charles Weeding, Tpr George
Lawrence, Capt Oliver John Weeding, Pte John
Leney, Pte Cyril Henry Weekes, Pte David
Lucas, Capt Keith Wheatley, Pte Doctor
Luxford, BSM Bernard Wheatley, L/Cpl George
Luxford, Gnr Edward James Wheatley, Pte Harry
Luxford, Sgt William Wheatley, L/Cpl William James
Martin, Pte Walter White, Pte Albert Henry
Martin, Capt William Gerald Whitfield, Capt Nigel Bernard
Maskell, Pte George Woodhams, Sgt Thomas Henry
Post-war casualty: Wheatley, O/S Charlie

Parliamentary Recruiting Committee poster, 1915
(Click to enlarge image)

This poster serves as a reminder that the devastating fighting on the Western Front during the First World War took place only a relatively short distance away from Sussex across the English Channel. For example, Ypres, shown on the poster by the soldier's left foot, lay only 125 miles away from Ashdown Forest. The constant rumble of the heavy bombardments could be heard, as the headmaster of Fletching School, Robert Saunders, noted in a letter to his son in Canada: 'The great blot on everything is the thud and throb of the guns night and day in France, and yesterday I could even hear them indoors.' (Source: The National Archives)


(Click each image to enlarge)

(Left) Early recruitment poster for the Southdown battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment
(Centre) The famous "Daddy, What Did YOU Do In the Great War?" recruitment poster
(Right) The start of full-scale conscription on 2 March 1916.

(Source for the above images: the Imperial War Museum)