The Association: Aims and Objects
Association members gather at the CWGC cemetery, Montreuil-Aux-Lions, prior to the Priez memorial unveiling, 10 September 2014
The Aims and Objects of the Association are to maintain the highest ‘esprit de corps’ amongst the retired members of the Regiment, and all Branch members by promoting reunions, social occasions, parades, ceremonies and battlefield tours connected with the activities of the Royal Sussex Regiment. This is achieved in conjunction with, and the support of, the Branches of the Association throughout the County.
The Association exists to promote the heritage of The Royal Sussex Regiment within the County community, and to foster comradeship and to safeguard the welfare of members of the Association and the welfare of former members of the Regiment and their immediate dependants.
With the declining number of Royal British Legion Clubs for example, the Royal Sussex Regimental Association represents an opportunity to step in and provide local social groups for any personnel who served in the armed forces, as well as extending a warm welcome to Cadet Force personnel and civilians who’s relatives have served with the Regiment, or have a direct interest in the Regiment and its history.
The decision was taken to open the Association’s doors to a wider audience and to recruit the next generation of members in order to ensure the longevity of the Association and the retention of the name of this very famous British Regiment within the public consciousness, locally and nationally.
Brief History of the Association
Film compilation courtesy of Screen Archive South East of Royal Sussex recruit passing out parade Roussillon Barracks and North Street, Chichester. 13 June 1958.
After the armistice of 1918 ‘Old Comrades’ associations began to grow up all over the country as men who had been through the crucible of military action in the Great War sought the company of their own kind. This was however different in Sussex. Here The Royal Sussex Regimental Association was formed as early as 1910, mustering men from both the regular and territorial battalions that fought in the South African campaign, or Boer War as it is more commonly known. It was formed as an independent charitable organisation for the benefit of ex-members of The Royal Sussex Regiment.
After the First World War many Old Contemptibles joined the association and with such large numbers of veterans, smaller, unit specific associations, such as The Sussex Yeomanry’s ‘Broken Spur’ and individual Battalion associations flourished. As time passed and numbers inevitably thinned the association that we know now was formed. Initially it consisted of Branches across the whole of Sussex and played host not just to the First World War veterans, but to those who also fought during the Second World War, saw National Service, and regular army enlistment, up to the amalgamation of this famous regiment in 1966.
In 1949, the Association came under the control of the Regimental Committee which approved new rules that had been adopted at the 36th AGM in 1948. These rules were re-written in 1964 and approved by the Regimental Committee. They were revised again following approval at the 87th AGM in 2018.
With the passage of time it has now been reduced to seven Branches across the county. It is however remarkable that even after 50 years since the regiment ceased to exist, the bonds within the Association remain strong enough to ensure that over 200 members attended the Annual Re-union in Lewes in 2019, for example.
The links with our Freedom Towns: Brighton (1944), Hastings (1947), Chichester (1951), Eastbourne (1951), Lewes (1953), Arundel (1954), Hove (1958), Worthing (1959) and Belfast, where the Regiment was initially raised in 1701, also remain strong. Memorials and cenotaphs to life and service of the Regiment can be found across the County, indeed the focal point for commemorating the fallen is the Regimental Chapel (St. George’s) in Chichester Cathedral, the spiritual home of the Regiment. The Association annually holds a Remembrance Service for the fallen in the chapel on St. George’s Day.