Exhibit marks Day Sussex Died

An exhibit has been set up to inform members of the public about the Day Sussex Died ahead of the event's 100th anniversary.

Wayne Batchelor from the Great War Society at Worthing Town Hall
Wayne Batchelor from the Great War Society at Worthing Town Hall

The event is open to the public, with free entry, at the Worthing Town Hall foyer from 9am to 5pm until Friday, July 1.

On June 30, 1916, during the First World War, the Sussex Southdown Brigade lost 366 young men and officers in the Battle of Boar’s Head in Richebourg, Northern France, including 23 soldiers from Worthing. It has become known as the Day Sussex Died.

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The exhibit includes artefacts from the First World War, such as live ammunition, fish bone tea cups whittled by a British prisoner of war and biographies of the Worthing men who died in the battle.

A tea set whittled out of fish bones by a British serviceman while he was a prisoner of war in Germany during the First World War

Wayne Batchelor from the Great War Society, which organises First World War reenactments, donned his army uniform to bring the history to life on Tuesday.

On the war memorial in Chapel Road, only 22 of the fallen men are named.

But due to research organised by borough councillor Major Tom Wye and carried out by the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery, they have identified a 23rd soldier from Worthing who died in this battle.

Major Wye said his name will be added to the memorial.

The memorial plaque of Private John Searle, who died in the Battle of the Boar's Head on June 30, 1916

He has also organised a service for those who died at the Battle of Boar’s Head. It will take place outside the Town Hall on Thursday at 5pm.

He said: “The 30th June 1916 was the worst day of the entire First World War conflict for Worthing.

“While other towns and cities commemorate the 1st of July, the start of the Battle of the Somme, it is fitting that Worthing commemorates and remembers those young men who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“We will remember each as an individual and will read out details of their ​all too short lives.”

With the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery, Major Tom Wye has compiled biographies of the soldiers named on the war memorial outside Worthing Town Hall in Chapel Road

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