Category Archives: On This Day

On This Day 1914: Thousands of tents spring up on Shoreham’s Downs.

“Our final On This Day story from Shoreham Army Camp takes us right back to the beginning, 101 years ago when the local papers were discussing the new Camp that had sprung up on the Downs above Shoreham . . .”

One hundred years ago, when Napoleon was threatening these shores, the coasts of Sussex became an armed camp. Today history is repeating itself.

Thousands of tents have appeared on the slopes behind Shoreham housing a ‘motley crew’ of volunteers for Kitchener’s Army. They are training there under Divisional Commander Major General Sir J. G. Ramsay, K. C.B.

Image Courtesy of Graham Booth.
Image Courtesy of Graham Booth.

This ‘hatless brigade’, with no uniform and little equipment, have come from the four corners of England with one determination in common – to make themselves efficient in the quickest possible time. Squad drill and Swedish exercises keep them ‘as fit as fiddles’. They wash their own clothes in cold water and many have named their tents with wonderful titles such as, ‘Haunted Castle’, ‘Dreadnoughts’ and ‘Humming Birds’.

Check out the full story in the West Sussex County Times:

West Sussex County Times 19140926-006

(West Sussex County Times, 26/9/1914)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

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On this day 1915: A soldier committed for bigamy . . .

Private Fred Jeffries of the Royal Sussex Regiment was charged with ‘feloniously marrying’ Rose Olive Jane Gumbrell at Shoreham whilst his wife, Sarah Jane Jeffries, was still alive.

Rose had met the defendant whilst working at a hotel in Eastbourne where he was billeted. They were later engaged at Hastings and married at Shoreham Parish Church. She had no idea he had been married to Sarah since 1899 and had six children!

28.08.15 church
St Mary’s Church photographed for a Shoreham Army Camp Brochure. Courtesy of West Sussex County Council Library Service http://www.westsussexpast.org.uk

Check out the full story in the West Sussex County Times:

West Sussex County Times 19150828-008

(West Sussex County Times, 28/8/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On this day 1918: A boxing tournament at Shoreham Camp produced ‘good sport’

Amongst a range of sports that took place in Shoreham that week, a boxing tournament at Shoreham Camp, organised by Eastern Command, produced good sport and raised money for St Dunstan’s Hostel.

Brighton youth George Gallagham bested Londoner Tommy Harris and Pte. A. Robson of the London Regiment put on a good show winning his bout with Staff Sergeant Zimmer. An exciting rematch between Sergt. Evans, R.G.A. and Corpl. Power, Irish Guards, was won by Power on points.

The colonials in Camp also got involved with Corporal G. Green of the South Africans beating T. Moore from the Canadians to the dismay of Moore’s supporters.

Famous boxer Bombardier Billy Wells  boxed at Shoreham Camp early in the war. Wells, B. 1911. Modern Boxing: a practical guide to present-day methods.
Famous boxer Bombardier Billy Wells boxed at Shoreham Camp early in the war. Wells, B. 1911. Modern Boxing: a practical guide to present-day methods.

Check out the full story in the West Sussex Gazette:

West Sussex Gazette_19180822-007 (1)

(West Sussex Gazette, 22/8/1918)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1917: Canadian soldiers ‘Before the Bench’.

 

Two members of a Canadian Battalion stationed at Shoreham Camp appeared in court ‘before the bench’ charged with being absent without leave.

Constable Holden and Special Constable Bridgewater gave evidence that Private Murdoch McClosky and Corporal Roy Hovey were found accosting girls in Rowlands Road. Neither soldier had a pass to allow them out of Camp into Worthing and were detained in custody.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

15.08.17 worthing gazette

 

(Worthing Gazette, 15/8/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1915: Those dreadful cinemas!

The Assistant Provost Marshall’s application for Worthing to open its cinemas on Sundays to soldiers from Shoreham Camp has been turned down again. Fears include the ‘horrible suspicion that a few Tommies actually swap albums of picture post-cards and cigarette cards on Sundays!’

Local papers mocked ‘Worthy Worthing’ and this ‘mid-Victorian’ attitude to the cinema. In comparison Brighton cinemas are open on Sundays and a popular place for soldiers on leave.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

Worthing Gazette_19170725-002

(Worthing Gazette, 25/7/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.u

On This Day 1918: Local man guilty of stealing over 167,000 cigarettes!

Albert Humphrey, manager of the Central Stores of the Navy and Army Canteen board at Shoreham was found guilty for stealing 167,000 cigarettes, 22lb of tobacco, and 108 lb of soap with a total value of £332! Humphrey had sold the goods to Herbert Russell but pleaded his innocence. Russel said he swore the goods were sent to him to be sold on commission. However, the jury found both men guilty, and his Lordship, sentenced them both to 18 months hard labour, calling the case “a bad one”.

Shoreham trained soldier Edmund Goodchild's cigarette case. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Suffolk Regiment Museum.
Shoreham trained soldier Edmund Goodchild’s cigarette case. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Suffolk Regiment Museum.

 

Check out the full story in the West Sussex Gazette:

West Sussex Gazette_19180718-002

(West Sussex Gazette, 18/7/1918)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1917: Canada Day celebrated in Shoreham!

July 1st marks the national day of Canada, a day celebrating the enactment of the British North America Act 1867, which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. This just happened to be occurring when a large contingent of Canadians were encamped at Shoreham. Therefore, it was naturally suggested that the occasion should be celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, which would be decorated with maple as a way to welcome the Canadian soldiers and celebrate the day.

The great service was held at 6:30pm, and was well attended with 50 officers and 100 men representing various units in the camp from all parts of Canada. In addition to those who attended officially the congregation overflowed with more soldiers.

The opening procession showed off the beautiful St Mary de Haura Church banner and the Canadian Colours. The service was accompanied with music played by the splendid band of the Canadian 13th Reserve and delightful hymns. The day would not have been complete without a memorable rendition of the Canadian National Anthem “O Canada” that was sung by a choir of men and boys.

Cover of early 20th century sheet music. Courtesy of Patricia Gardner.
Cover of early 20th century sheet music.
Courtesy of Patricia Gardner.

Check out the full story on the Shoreham Parish Magazine:

Canada day

(Shoreham Parish Magazine, 01/07/1917)
Reproduced courtesy of West Sussex Records Office and by kind permission of the Parish of St Mary de Haura New Shoreham.

On This Day1917: Unhappy soldiers go AWOL

Privates John Carmichael and Frank Conway of the 23rd Canadian Reserve Battalion were charged with being absent without leave from Shoreham Camp.

The two were spotted at Goff’s Park by P.S. S. J. Capelin and challenged for their passes which they did not have. Carmichael claimed they had been robbed after a visit to London. P.S. Capelin took them to the Police Station with assistance from two civilians where the men finally admitted being absent form Shoreham Camp. When asked why, Conway declared that they were treated ‘pretty harsh’ at the Camp, ‘not treated as men’. He had been late back before and had had 4 days pay cut and 14 days punishment. The magistrate remarked that it did not seem to have been a deterrent and the two were remanded in custody to await military escort.

Check out the full story in the West Sussex County Times:
30.06.1917 WSCT

(West Sussex County Times, 30/06/1917)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1915: Soldiers thank Worthing for winter billets.

In spring 1915 soldiers returned to Shoreham camp from their winter billets in Worthing. They had been sent to live with the locals in Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton in December 1914 after bad weather washed away the tented Camp and they stayed there until the new hutted Camp was complete.

Soon after returning to the new huts Major-General Ramsay, Commanding officer of the 24th Division, sent a letter to the Mayor of Worthing thanking the Town Council, police and residents of Worthing for their kindness and the good fellowship they had shown the soldiers.

camp-huts
View looking north across the new huts built for the Camp.
Courtesy of West Sussex County Council Library Service

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

worthing-gazette-23/6/15worthing-gazette-23/6/15
(Worthing Gazette, 23/06/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1917: British troops entertain the Canadians.

The talented troupe from the 1st “B” Reserve Brigade of the RFA Camp visited the Canadian Camp at Shoreham. Well over 1000 soldiers were delighted by the high-class entertainments held in the YMCA Cinema Hut with many calls for encores.

Over two and a half hours of entertaining acts from the party included music by banjoist Gunner Lintott, comedy from Bomb. Herd and conjuring by Corporal Summers. Canadian Capt. Clarke introduced each performance with witty jokes that were heartily applauded.

The Concert Party were called upon to return soon and offered their service to any war charity or fellow soldiers who were interested.

Canadian-band-poster-1916
The Canadian troops from Shoreham Camp also entertained the British as shown in this 1916 poster.
Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.

 

Check out the full story in the Horsham Times:

horsham-times-16/6/1917

(Horsham Times, 16/06/1917)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk