The Royal Sussex Regiment

Battalions of the Regular Army

1st Battalion
August 1914 : in Peshawar. Part of 1st (Peshawar) Brigade, 1st (Peshawar) Division of Indian Army. Remained in India throughout the war. Moved to 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division December 1917.

2nd Battalion
August 1914 : in Woking, part of 2nd Brigade in 1st Division.
Landed in France in August 1914.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
August 1914 : in Chichester. A depot/training unit, it remained in UK throughout the war. Moved on mobilisation to Dover and on in May 1915 to Newhaven for duty as Newhaven Garrison.

Battalions of the Territorial Force

1/4th Battalion
August 1914 : in Horsham. Army Troops attached to Home Counties Division.
24 April 1915 : transferred to 160th Brigade in 53rd (Welsh) Division.
Moved to Cambridge and in May 1915 on to Bedford.
Landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on 9 August 1915.
May 1918 : left the Division and moved to France.
30 June 1918 : came under command of 101st Brigade in 34th Division, absorbing cadre of 13th Bn on 14 August 1918.

1/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion
August 1914 : in Hastings. Army Troops attached to Home Counties Division.
Moved to France in early 1915.
21 February 1915 : came under command of 2nd Brigade in 1st Division.
20 August 1915 : transferred as Pioneer Battalion to 48th (South Midland) Division.
November 1917 : moved with the Division to Italy.

1/6th (Cyclist) Battalion
August 1914 : in Brighton. Joined 1st Mounted Division in Norfolk in August 1914.
Remained in UK and Ireland throughout the war. Moved in July 1916 into General Reserve and to St Leonard's. Moved to Folkestone in March 1917 and on to Wingham (Kent) in July. Went to Tralee in early 1918 and on to Limerick by August 1918.

2/4th and 2/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalions
Formed at Horsham and Hastings in January 1915 and November 1914 respectively as home service ("second line") units.
Absorbed by the 3rd-Line Battalions in September 1915, which were then renamed 2/4th and 2/5th Bns.
8 April 1916 : renamed 4th and 5th Reserve Bns; eventually 5th was absorbed, as was 3/6th (Cyclist) Bn, into 4th Reserve Bn. Was at Tunbridge Wells in September 1916.

2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion
Formed at Brighton in November 1914.
November 1915 : moved to Chisledon, joined with three other Cyclist Bns - 1/9th Hampshire, 1/25th London, and 1/1st Kent Cyclist Battalion, and converted to infantry. This 'Brigade' was originally intended for East Africa.
4 February 1916 : sailed from Devonport to India.
In October 1918: moved to Vladivostock and moved into Siberia, where then remained until November 1919 before returning to England.
Some troops formerly with the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company (aka 2nd Div. Cyclist Co.). are known to have been transferred into this battalion.

3/4th and 3/5th Battalions
Formed at Horsham and Hastings in March and June 1915 respectively as home service ("third line") units.
Absorbed the 2nd-Line Battalions in September 1915 and were then renamed 2/4th and 2/5th Bns.

3/6th (Cyclist) Battalion
Formed at Purfleet in 1916 but absorbed into 4th Reserve Battalion on 1 September. See above.

15th Battalion
Formed on 1 January 1917 at Burnham (Somerset) from what had previously been the 7oth Provisional Battalion of the TF. It had been formed in June 1915 from "Home Service only" personnel. Came under orders of 215th Brigade in 72nd Division from November 1916. Was in Bedford by January 1917, moved on to Ipswich in May 1917. Disbanded in Cambridge area in March 1918.

16th (Sussex Yeomanry) Battalion
Formed in Mersa Matruh, Egypt on 3 January 1917 from dismounted Sussex Yeomanry.
January 1917 : came under command of 230th Brigade in 74th (Yeomanry) Division.
Landed at Marseilles 7 May 1918.

Battalions of the New Armies

7th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Chichester on 12 August 1914 as part of K1 and came under command of 36th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division. Moved to Shorncliffe in October 1914 and into billets in Folkestone in December 1914. Moved to Ramillies Barracks (Aldershot) in March 1915.
Landed at Boulogne 1 June 1915.

8th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
Formed at Chichester in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of 54th Brigade in 18th (Eastern) Division. Moved to Colchester.
4 February 1915 : became Pioneer Battalion to the same Division. Moved to Salisbury Plain in May 1915.
Landed at Boulogne late July 1915.

9th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Chichester in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of 73rd Brigade in 24th Division. Moved to South Downs and went into billets in Portslade in December 1914. Moved to Shoreham in April 1915 and on to Woking in June. Landed at Boulogne 1 September 1915.

10th (Reserve) Battalion
Formed in Dover in October 1914 as Service Battalion of K4, part of 97th Brigade of original 32nd Division.
10 April 1915 : became Reserve battalion. Moved to Colchester.
1 September 1916 : at Shoreham, converted into 23rd Training Reserve Battalion of 5th Reserve Brigade.

11th (Service) Battalion (1st South Down)
Formed at Bexhill on 7 September 1914 by Lieut-Col. Lowther, MP and Committee. Moved to Maidstone in July 1915 and then adopted by the War Office. Moved to Aldershot in September 1915.
October 1915 : moved to Witley and came under command of 116th Brigade in 39th Division.
Landed at Le Havre in March 1916.
23 May 1918 : reduced to cadre strength.
30 June 1918 : transferred to 75th Brigade in 25th Division. Moved back to England, going to Aldershot.
July 1918 : absorbed the 13th Bn, the Royal West Kents.
9 September 1918: Brigade renamed 236th Brigade and left Division. Sailed from Dundee for North Russia 17 October 1918.

12th (Service) Battalion (2nd South Down)
Formed at Bexhill on 3 November 1914 by Lieut-Col. Lowther, MP and Committee. Moved to Maidstone in July 1915 and then adopted by the War Office. Moved to Aldershot in September 1915.
October 1915 : moved to Witley and came under command of 116th Brigade in 39th Division.
Landed at Le Havre in March 1916.
8 February 1918: disbanded in France.

13th (Service) Battalion (3rd South Down)
Formed at Bexhill on 20 November 1914 by Lieut-Col. Lowther, MP and Committee. Moved to Maidstone in July 1915 and then adopted by the War Office. Moved to Aldershot in September 1915.
October 1915 : moved to Witley and came under command of 116th Brigade in 39th Division.
Landed at Le Havre in March 1916.
23 May 1918 : reduced to cadre strength.
17 June 1918 : transferred to 118th Brigade in same 39th Division.
14 August 1918 : disbanded in France, personnel going to 1/4th Battalion.
War diary extract on this site

The pals battalions of the Royal Sussex - the South Down battalions, or "Lowther's Lambs", - suffered terrible casualties on 30 June 1916, 24 hours before the much better known "First Day on the Somme". This was in a diversionary attack, a large scale raid launched by 39th Division at a position called the Boar's Head, near Richebourg l'Avoue. Just under 1,100 casualties (dead, wounded and prisoners) were incurred in a fruitless attack that had no effect on the enemy's abilities to withstand next day's assault on the Somme. The vast majority of the losses were to men from the county of Sussex.

14th (Reserve) Battalion
Formed in Bexhill in August 1915 from depot companies of the 11th, 12th and 13th Bns as a Reserve Bn. Moved to Colchester in October 1915 and to Aldershot in May 1916
1 September 1916 : absorbed into Training Reserve Battalions of 23rd Reserve Brigade.

Other Battalions

17th Battalion
26 May 1918 : the 5th Garrison Guard Bn (which had been formed in France) was redesignated 17th (Garrison) Bn.
May 1918 : attached to 176th Brigade in 59th (2nd North Midland) Division.
16 July 1918 : renamed 17th (Service) Bn.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
Up to 27 October 1917, this was known as 253rd Graduated Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. Before that it had been 99th Battalion of the Training Reserve and up to September 1916 had been the 12th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal West Kent. A training unit based at Colchester, it was part of 213th Brigade in 71st Division. In February 1918 it went to 191st Brigade of 64th (2nd Highland) Division at Cromer. In April 1918 it had moved to Thetford.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
Up to 27 October 1917, this was known as 256th Graduated Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. Before that it had been 100th Battalion of the Training Reserve and up to September 1916 had been the 24th (Reserve) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. A training unit based at Colchester, it was part of 214th Brigade in 71st Division. In early November 1917 it was transferred to 212th Brigade in the same Division. In February 1918 it went to 191st Brigade of 64th (2nd Highland) Division at Cromer. In April 1918 it had moved to Thetford.

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
Up to 27 October 1917, this was known as 97th Young Soldier Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. A basic recruit training unit based at Aldershot, it was part of 23rd Reserve Brigade.