Ready to defend the realm

Rouser 2012

Rouser 2012

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FEAR of invasion by the French prompted the British to organise and deploy land forces in an unprecedented way.

Sussex with its low-lying beaches and proximity to France was seen as especially vulnerable.

There were three distinct groups of armed land forces.

The regular army was a permanent paid force of men serving at home and abroad. The

militia was a paid force of infantry raised in the counties by ballot.

The volunteers were men living at home who volunteered to serve part-time in their own areas.

Rouser isn’t sure, but he thinks this photograph (almost certainly Reeves) shows a Lewes volunteer brigade at attention in the precincts of

the castle.

The picture was probably taken around 1870 - quite late in the day.

Note the man, second from left, with the long white beard. He must have had a tale to tell. And the dog - the brigade’s mascot - at ease below the gun.

 

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