19 May 2009

The Royal Sussex Regiment - 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion

Pictured above, Lieutenant Ivor Grantham, 1/5th Sussex, flanked by members of his platoon in October 1917. Read Ivor's story on my Chailey 1914-1918 blog.

The 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, was a Territorial Force battalion formed in April 1908. Its natural heir was the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

The battalion was headquartered at Hastings and in February 1914, the disposition of its eight companies was as follows:

A Company: Hastings; drill station at Eastbourne and Hailsham
B Company: Battle; drill stations at Dallington, Sedlescombe, Staplecross, Robertsbridge and Bexhill
C Company: Wadhurst; drill stations at Burwash, Flimwell, Hurst Green, Ticehurst and Frant
D Company: Lewes; drill stations at Glynde and Stanmer
E Company: Rye; drill stations at Icklesham, Winchelsea, Peasmarch and Northiam
F Company: Uckfield; drill stations at East Hoathly, Hadlow Down, Nutley, Buxted, Newick and Heathfield
G Company: Crowborough; drill stations at Blackham, Hartfield, Groombridge, Mayfield and Rotherfield
H Company: Ore; drill station at Westfield

Company information above courtesy of Ray Westlake's, The Territorial Force 1914.

Here are some sample army service numbers and joining dates for the 5th Royal Sussex.

686 joined on 16th October 1908
767 joined on 3rd February 1909
1118 joined on 12th February 1910
1346 joined on 5th April 1911
1450 joined on 5th February 1912
1606 joined on 5th February 1913
1716 joined on 5th January 1914
1865 joined on 6th August 1914
2356 joined on 5th September 1914
2752 joined on 25th November 1914
3123 joined on 4th December 1914
3231 joined on 31st January 1915
3305 joined on 28th June 1915
3343 joined on 31st July 1915
3396 joined on 18th August 1915
3440 joined on 28th October 1915
3533 joined on 17th November 1915
3680 joined on 11th December 1915
3727 joined on 5th January 1916
3871 joined on 4th March 1916
4147 joined on 18th May 1916
4240 joined on 25th July 1916
4672 joined on 8th August 1916
6015 joined on 28th September 1916

Service records for ALL of the numbers noted above survive in the burnt documents (WO 363)and pension (WO 364) series and can be viewed on-line via ANCESTRY.

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 5th Royal Sussex Regiment was allocated numbers within the range 240001 to 265000. Here are some numbers and dates from the six digit series:

240003 originally joined on 1st April 1908 (and was serving with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion prior to this)
240080 originally joined on 27th February 1912
240127 originally joined on 28th January 1913
240250 originally joined on 17th June 1914
240302 originally joined on 8th August 1914
240523 originally joined on 7th September 1914
240643 originally joined on 10th October 1914
240814 originally joined on 5th December 1914
240860 originally joined on 31st January 1915
240933 originally joined on 22nd July 1915
240977 originally joined on 26th October 1915
241005 originally joined on 13th November 1915
241153 originally joined on 4th March 1916
241363 originally joined on 16th June 1916

Also see Paul Reed's website and information about the 1/5th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.


Bryan McCready said...

Great listing and thanks for posting. This gives me at least a general idea of the enlistment date of my Wife's Great-Uncle, Frank Alfred Wettle (5/2008). This list should put him as enlisting around mid-August, 1914. Just another tidbit of info I've been able to learn.

He also had a brother, Albert George, who enlisted November 13, 1914 and his number was 3169 but it doesn't quite synch with the listing you have. Maybe because he was assigned to the 5th (Cinque Ports) Reserve Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment?

Bryan said...

A followup to my previous comment. I received an email from the President of the Royal Sussex Regimental Association (Colonel Roderick Arnold) and he stated that Frank A. Wettle enlisted December 11, 1914. Not sure if that throws a wrench into the enlistment listing or not. of course there are reasons that may have delayed his enlistment. As an example, my Great grandfather enlisted in the CEF in Jan of 1915 originally but had to re-enlist in May after varicose vein surgery.

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Bryan

Interesting, thanks for commenting. I have checked my data again. 3123 Eli Buckwell did enlist on 4th December 1914 and I see too, from his surviving service record that Albert George Wettle enlisted on the date that you mention - and I have other men with numbers close to his who enlisted at around the same time. It's possible, I suppose, that more than one numbering system was in use, or at best the numbering was out of kilter. Worthy of further investigation.


Anonymous said...

Hi, just found a valise/small pack marked 1918, with 5 RSX stamped on the straps inside. There's also what I assume is an army number, but it doesn't correspond with the 1917 re-numbering. I actually found it at Icklesham, just outside Rye, so hoped it might be an E Coy piece. Number : 23141655. Any thoughts? Cheers, Guy

Paul Nixon said...

It doesn't look like a regimental number to me; far too long for WW1 and even too long for 1920. Try posting on the Great war Forum with photos.


Simon said...

Hi Paul.
Do you know why a number of 5th Battalion men were renumbered in the 202000 range rather than the usual 240000? e.g. C E Golding 5/2908 renumbered 202151; P T Standen 5/1765 renumbered 202689, and H Creed 5/2587 renumbered 202859. All appear to have continued serving with the 1/5th Battalion. H Creed was KIA whilst serving in the 5th. There are many other examples from those who joined well before the outbreak of war to those who enlisted in 1916.
Many thanks Simon

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