Search for Lewes’ World War One heroes

The War Memorial in Lewes, by Vernon March, who also created the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa
The War Memorial in Lewes, by Vernon March, who also created the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa

A list of Lewes men and women killed during World War I is being put together to identify missing names from the Lewes War Memorial.

Lewes Town Councillor Graham Mayhew would like to see family letters or diaries about Lewes men at the front which residents may have.

He will also provide brief biographies of each individual in time for the commemoration of the end of the war in November 2018.

This is going to be a lengthy and complex task as there are more than 270 names on the memorial in School Hill and at least another 20 or 30 people whose names were originally omitted.

When the work is complete Councillor Mayhew will pass the information to the town council in time for the 2018 centenary commemoration of the end of the war.

Cllr Mayhew’s investigations have revealed interesting insights into how the troops spent Christmas during the war.

For instance in 1914 members of the 2nd (Lewes) Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery spent Christmas at Dover Castle where they decorated their sleeping quarters and dining hall specially for the festivities.

On Christmas Day they awoke to carol singing and later that morning there was great excitement when Carvill’s motor van arrived with parcels from Lewes, apparently including mineral waters, chocolates, cigarettes and tobacco.

After Church Parade the men sat down to enjoy roast pork, parsnips, brussel sprouts and potatoes, followed by plum pudding – the officers and sergeants acting as waiters.

On Christmas Eve and Boxing Day Lewes Town Hall hosted upwards of 800 members of the Royal Field Artillery 22nd Division then billeted in Lewes in two lots.

Lewes people helped feed the troops, which was followed by musical entertainment, an orchestra and popular songs, rounded off by a supper of mince pies, plum puddings and other refreshments.

On Christmas Day the men were entertained by Lewes residents in their own homes.

Contact Cllr Mayhew at 2 Montacute Road, Lewes, BN7 1EN or by email to