Hands-on war project in Eastbourne

Learning about the brave young men of Sussex
Learning about the brave young men of Sussex

Bishop Bell School pupils are beginning an exciting new First World War project about The Royal Sussex Regiment in the Battle of Boar’s Head thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £9,200 for Eastbourne PALS.

Working in partnership with Sound Architect Creative Media, Eastbourne PALS gave a class of Year 8 students from the school in Langney, Eastbourne, a masterclass on the history of the battle.

Chris Richards from PALS, led the session during which the students could examine artefacts from the war including weapons.

He said, “It’s very important to keep this history alive, even though no doubt 100 years seems like a long time ago to the students. The Battle of Boar’s Head was hugely significant to Sussex, especially the Eastbourne area.

“The battle, in Richebourg, France, took place on June 30 1916 and more than 1,000 Sussex men were killed or wounded. The attack was a crucial strategic manoeuvre to deflect attention from the attack at the Somme further to the north which was due to start the next day: both battles, of course, resulted in a tragic loss of life.”

History teacher Jenny Clifton said, “In this current age it’s hard for the students to really understand how it was to live through war. This is an exciting opportunity for them to research something crucial to the area, and start tracing the descendants of the men in that battle. Maybe they will find a great grandfather or great uncle who was actually there.”

Stuart McLeod, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said, “Thanks to National Lottery players we’re pleased to support this project which will ensure the important stories and knowledge of the First World War’s continuing legacy are passed to the next generation.”

Project co-ordinators are keen to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer to help research into this crucial aspect of our past, and would love to hear from anyone who had relatives in the Royal Sussex Regiment.

If you have photographs or letters or anything passed down through the generations of your family, contact the project manager Susanne Crosby, through the website http://www.soundarchitect.org.uk or on 07592 021590.

The Battle of Boar’s Head is also known as “The Day Sussex Died” due to the numbers of men who lost their life during that one day of battle.

These young students will now be honouring and respecting the memory and the sacrifice of these brave Sussex men.

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