The stories told by his two grandfathers of The Cuckmere Valley, smugglers in Alfriston and a mysterious wreck off Beachy Head, all feature in a new novel by a Sussex author.
Raymond Kemp dedicated ‘Harold – The Dog who mended broken hearts’ to his grandfathers, who served in World War I and lived in High Hurstwood.
The novel is based on true events leading up to the war, following two teenagers who fall madly in love but whose relationship is ripped apart by the war and the snobbery of a class conscious society.
Only Harold the Labrador dog can bring them back together again.
It describes how raw recruits to the Royal Sussex Regiment were forced to spend the winter in flimsy tents in hastily assembled camps on the South Downs.
When they were finally sent to France, hundreds were killed in the battle of the ‘Boar’s Head’ in what became known as ‘The day that Sussex died’.
“The novel is dedicated to my grandfathers who both served in World War 1 and returned to Sussex with severe injuries,” said Raymond.
“Their lives were never the same again.
“Both of them lived in High Hurstwood near Uckfield and much of the novel is based on stories they told me about life in Sussex before the war cast a dark shadow across the English countryside.”
Raymond has been a writer for more than 40 years.
He was the Sussex reporter for Television South and the Sussex press officer for the National Rivers Authority and Environment Agency.
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