A Good Soldier and Always a Gentleman

John William DANIELS was born in Loughton Essex in 1885, the son of landscape gardener Edwin Daniels from Ruabon, north Wales and Lydia from Shropshire.  The family moved to Eastbourne and John was educated at Holy Trinity School.  The 1911 Census shows that John with living with his parents and younger sister Annie at 2,…

Caring for the troops

During the Great War, Seaford became a garrison town and thousands of men trained there before experiencing the horrors of the Front.  A tented camp in 1914, soon expanded into two huge hutted camps filled with soldiers from across the country and indeed the world.  At 25,000, the population of the camps was many times larger…

A Sussex Prisoner-of-War

Thomas Reginald Charles TOMPKINS was born in West London on 11th August 1898. He was the son of James and Mary Tompkins. His father was a decorator.  The family lived at 4, Bayham Road, Ealing and he was baptised at St John’s Church , Northfields on 25thSeptember 1898. During the Great War, Thomas joined the Royal…

My St Georges’ Day Hero

My grandfather Alec Gordon, was a Royal Marine and was seriously injured in the fateful Zeebrugge Raid on St Georges Day, 23rdApril 1918.  Alexander Robert Gordon was born in London in 1896, the son of Frederick and Hannah Gordon.  In 1910 the Gordon family moved to 1, Romney Road, Eastbourne and his parents worked at…

The King of Eastbourne

In 1912 hundreds of Eastbourne children were treated to a party by William Washington King. A telegram was sent to George V at Balmoral Castle which read “Six hundred happy little children in meeting assembled, send your Majesty loyal greetings!” the answer was received and read out “His Majesty thanks the children assembled at the…

A Hidden Sussex Church

My visit to St John’s Church was short and rather muddy but it is a delightful little building hidden away on the edge of Ashdown Forest between Withyham and Crowborough.  It is not a church that you would stumble across by chance and sadly is usually locked due to the theft of some of the…

A unique Sussex Church

St Mary-in-the Castle in Hastings is one of the finest English churches I have visited and although it is now a thriving performance venue it is full of ecclesiastical interest. Strangely the best place to get a good view of the exterior of the church is on Google Maps as it is set back into…

Rioting that led to the death of a policeman.

100 years ago the Canadian soldiers stationed across England and Wales were not happy.  The armistice of November 1918 effectively ended the War and thousands of men returned from the battlefields of Flanders to Britain awaiting repatriation to Canada. This was a slow process. Most of the troopships that had been used to bring the…

An Irish Soldier in Seaford

In the Summer of 1915 and with the Great War in its second year, thousands of soldiers from Ireland arrived in Sussex for training before being transferred to the front.  One of these men was Private McClure of the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.  I have not been able to trace any…