8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

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The 8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment were formed at Chichester in September 1914 as part of Kitchener ‘s Army. Initial volunteers were from all over Sussex , and tended to be older men in the their late 20s and early to mid 30s. The battalion was under strength when it went to Colchester in October 1914 to join 54th Brigade, 18th (Eastern) Division. Further recruits were drawn from the London area at this time, and it was several months before uniforms and equipment arrived. On 4th February 1915 it became the Pioneer Battalion of 18th (Eastern) Division, a role it would keep for the remainder of the war. In May 1915 the battalion moved to Salisbury Plain, and then crossed to France on 24th July 1915.

The 8th Battalion moved to the Somme front, and took over trenches in the Mametz-Montauban sector. Their first casualty was Private James Chandler, from West Wittering , who died of wounds on 25th August 1915, during the first tour of the trenches. They remained in this quiet sector until the Battle of the Somme , taking part in the attack on Montauban on 1st July 1916. During the subsequent fighting for Trônes Wood on 13th/14th July, they played a prominent role in the battle. They also fought in the capture of Thiepval on 26th September, and at Regina Trench in October.

The battalion stayed on the Somme until the Spring of 1917, when it moved to the Arras front. Here it took part in the fighting on the Hindenburg Line at Héninel, and at Chérisy on 3rd May. It then moved to Flanders , to take part in the Third Battle of Ypres, and fought along the Menin Road.

In the Spring of 1918 the battalion returned to the Somme front, and took part in the March 1918 offensive. It remained in the line opposite Albert until the summer, when on 8th August 1918 it took part in the attack along the Morlancourt Ridge. Fighting its way back across the old Somme battlefields, it was once again in action at Trônes Wood in late August, where it fought the Prussian Guard. Reaching the Hindenburg Line in September, it took part in the attack on the St Quentin Canal, and fought its final battle on the Sambre Canal on 4th November 1918.

On 11th November 1918 the battalion was near Le Cateau. Here the battalion remained until the New Year, all ranks being given educational and recreation training, and were employed on salvage work on the old battlefields. Demobilisation began on 10th December 1918, and the battalion was disbanded in March 1919.

During the war 15 officers and 215 men had died on active service with the 8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment.

BATTLE HONOURS

 1916

BATTLES OF THE SOMME

1 – 8 July                     Battle of Albert
14-17 July                    Battle of Bazentin Ridge
14 July                         Capture of Trones Wood
19-21 July                    Battle of Delville Wood
26-28 September         Battle of Thiepval Ridge
1-5 October, 17
October – 11
November                    Battle of the Ancre Heights
30 September –
5 October                    Capture of the Schwaben Redoubt
21 October                  Capture of Regina Trench
13-18 November         Battle of the Ancre

1917

 16 January –
13 March                     Operations on the Ancre
17-18 February            Miraumont [Boom Ravine]
10 March                     Capture of Irles
14-20 March                German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line

BATTLES OF ARRAS

3 & 4 May                   Third Battle of the Scarpe

BATTLES OF YPRES

31 July                         Battle of Pilckem Ridge
10 August                    Inverness Copse
16 & 17 August            Battle of Langemarck
12 October                  First Battle of Passchendaele
22 October                  Capture of Poelcappelle
5 – 10 November         Second Battle of Passchendaele

1918

 FIRST BATTLES OF THE SOMME

21-23 March                Battle of St Quentin
4 April                          Battle of the Avre
25 & 25 April               Villers-Bretonneux

THE ADVANCE TO VICTORY

 8 & 9 August                Battle of Amiens

SECOND BATTLES OF THE SOMME

21-23 August               Battle of Albert
23 August                     Capture of Usna and Tara Hills
27 August                     Capture of Trones Wood
31 August –
3 September                 Second Battle of Bapaume

BATTLES OF THE HINDENBURG LINE

18 September               Battle of Epéphy
29 September –
1 October                    Battle of the St Quentin Canal

THE FINAL ADVANCE IN PICARDY

20-26 October             Battle of the Selle
4 November                 Battle of the Sambre

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