The 7th Battalion, R Sussex, was formed at Chichester on 12 August 1914 and allocated to 36th Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division with which it served throughout the war. It landed in France on 1st June 1915 and remained on the Western Front , distinguishing itself in many battles – Loos, Hohenzollern Craters, the Somme, Arras, Cambrai and the final advance. Seventeen Battle Honours were awarded. Total casualties numbered 147 officers and 3,500 other ranks, of whom 57 and 1012 died.
It is easy to run out of superlatives but this has to be one of the best histories I have come across, with graphic and detailed descriptions of the fighting, supported by clear maps and with photos that include trench scenes (surreptitiously taken?). Apart from the well-written narrative there is a wealth of information about the battalion to ensure a permanent record although in the preface the Colonel and first CO of the battalion does complain about the lack of official records, many of them “wantonly destroyed by those responsible for their custody.” One can only be left to imagine what a history this would have been had the records been complete. It is worth noting the detail which is available through the appendices. There is that most useful record, the diary of the battalion’s movements from embarkation (30 May 1915) to 16 June 1919 when the last remnants of the battalion left for England and this is followed by a table showing, year by year, the number of days spent in Rest areas, in Billeting areas, and in the Trenches from 1 June 1915 to 11 November 1918. Forty-two percent of the battalion’s service on the Western Front was spent in the trenches. There is a table summarising total casualties each year and another giving casualties in main engagements. There is the Roll of Honour of officers and of other ranks with dates of death, and there is the list of individual honours and awards headed by a summary. We have the nominal roll of officers, WOs and senior NCOs who embarked with the battalion in May 1915, and finally there is the list of officers who served with the battalion with their service records. What more can you ask? Oh yes! there is a 25-page index.
HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH (SERVICE) BATTALION THE ROYAL SUSSEX REGIMENT
Superb history of a Kitchener battalion with 36 Brigade,12th (Eastern) Division, which served on the Western Front from June 1915 to the end. Diary of movements, Roll of Honour, summary of casualties (1069 dead), list of awards, service of officers and comprehensive index