7 June 2014

Sussex Yeomanry 1908-1914

This post will look at numbering in the Sussex Yeomanry between 1908 and 1914.

The Sussex Yeomanry did not start numbering from 1 in 1908 but rather continued with the numbering sequence which it had used when it was the Imperial Sussex Yeomanry. Thus 575 Henry Harris who joined the Sussex Yeomanry on 22nd May 1908 was actually a yeoman of some experience. He had originally been issued with this number when he joined the Imperial Sussex Yeomanry in December 1902 - and Henry was far from the longest serving man to transfer over in 1908.

By 1914 the regiment's disposition was as follows: headquarters and A Squadron were based in Brighton with drill stations at Horsham, Worthing, Hayward's Heath and Crawley. B Squadron was based at Lewes with drill stations at Burgess Hill, Eridge, Brighton, Uckfield, Tunbridge Wells and Hayward's Heath. C Squadron was at Chichester and had a single drill station at Bognor. Finally, D Squadron was based at Eastbourne and had drill stations at St Leonard's, Bexhill and Rye. The Sussex yeomanry formed part of the South Eastern Mounted Brigade.

1147 joined on 20th February 1909
1287 joined on 28th February 1910
1358 joined on 14th February 1911
1495 joined on 5th March 1912
1620 joined on 27th February 1913
1739 joined on 22nd February 1914
1798 joined on 6th August 1914
1929 joined on 9th September 1914
2153 joined on 5th October 1914
2284 joined on 3rd November 1914
2375 joined on 31st December 1914

A 2/1st battalion was formed in September 1914 as a second-line battalion to train and supply men to the 1/1st Battalion. A 3/1st battalion would be formed in July 1915 and it would train and supply men for the 1/1st and 2/1st Battalions. The three battalions all shared the same number sequence.

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


FAB said...

Hello Paul,

I'm trying to research any info on my grandfather, Francis James BOXELL (1888 - 1928). The only info I have is his Medal Card. Pte 1853 in Sussex Yeomanry and then Cpl 320153 in Royal Sussex Regiment. Do you know where and when he enlisted - I'm guessing it would be Chichester and 1/1st Brigade as he served in the Balkans and Europe.I'm also guessing he got his stripes on or after Jan 1917 when the 16th (Sussex Yeomanry)Battalion of RSR came into being.

I also understand you will only be doing paid research from 1st August and I'm happy to reimburse you for this enquiry if you will provide contact details etc.

Thanks in advance.

Frank (Boxell)

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Frank

The four digit number dates to August 1914 and the second number belongs to the series which was issued to the 16th (Sussex Yeomanry) Battalion. This battalion was formed in Mersa Matruh, Egypt on 3 January 1917 from dismounted Sussex Yeomanry. January 1917 and was attached to 230th Brigade, 74th Division.

I can't be certain where he enlisted but the original number would have been issued to him at the regimental depot at Chichester.

I'm sorry I can't be of more assistance. I did search for service records on Ancestry and Findmypast but came up with nothing.


FAB said...

Thank you Paul.

You have at least confirmed the limited facts I had already surmised ... the search goes on.


Paul E Mason said...


Your ancestor could have enlisted at any of the Drill Hall locations listed.

Regimental Headquarter was in Brighton, as was A Sqn with troops/detatchments in at Horsham, Worthing, Hayward's Heath and Crawley. B Sqn in Lewes with detectments at Burgess Hill, Eridge, Brighton, Uckfield and Hayward's Heath. C Sqn at Chichester with a detachement at Bognor (SE Mouted Brigade's Signal Troop). And D Sqn Squadron at Eastbourne with detachments in St Leonard's, Bexhill and Rye.

Unless you already have a family connection to the Chichester area I would not assume he enlisted there, as it could have been at any of these locations. There are no Regualar army cavalry training depots within easy travelling distance, and training unsertaken locally or at the two week summer concentration were the whole Regt came together. (Often in Arundel, but other locations, such as the Downs above Lewes were of used. (I have a list if you want it). On the outbreak of war in 1914 the 1st/1st Sussex Yeomanry moved to Canterbury with the other elements of the SE Mouted Brigade, less the Surrey Yeomanry who were tasked elsewhere.

In 1917, having been evacuated from Gallipoli in early 1916 they re-roled to Infantry. Training was undertaken locally at Tel-el-Kabir. At this time, the Headquaters of the Royal Sussex Regiment (in Chichester) would have issued a block of new numbers for the newly formed battalion. They would stay in Egypt and Palestine until relocated to France in 1918.

I hope this helps explain, and I would not assume he enlisted at Chichster, unless he was living in that area and joined C Sqn.

Kind regards,

Paul E Mason said...

I have checked the Regiment muster, but unfortunately it does not state where each individual enlisted. Against FJ Boxell it confirms he was with the 1st/1st Sussex Yeomanry and then, after re-rolling, the 16th (Sussex Yeomanry) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. He saw active service in Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine and France. Sorry but nothing else is detailed against him.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for your contributions to this post, Paul.

Grab a book bargain - 1000s of titles