Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion


World War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Transcribed & Researched Alan Seymour 2004

There are several memorials within Burgess Hill which are all detailed on this page, the names being combined into one list with a key to the source memorial/plaque/grave. The research behind the memorials was carried out by Alan Seymour. The names of those found on the various memorials are listed on a separate page for World War 1. Guy Voice has written a book on the men who died in World War 2 from Burgess Hill. It is on-line here in .pdf format, you can download it or read on-line. Alternatively a copy is available in Burgess Hill Library.

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Adobe Acrobat Doucment written by uy Voice detailing the Men of Burgess Hill Died 1939-1946

Men of Burgess Hill

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Town War Memorial

The town war memorial is located in the 'Garden of Remembrance' at the western end of Church Walk, opposite St. John's Church. The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on Armistice Day, 1923. Colonel C. H. M. Hitchins unveiled the memorial and the Rev. F. G. Beddard (Vicar of Burgess Hill) performed the dedication. 

The 'Garden of Remembrance' was originally described in the "The Story of Burgess Hill" by A. H. Gregory pub. 1933 as follows:

"The town's War Memorial is a hallowed "beauty spot" at the corner of Church Road and Crescent Road - a cenotaph in a " Garden of Remembrance." The site is enclosed by fences and gates of oak (near which seats have since been placed). A flagstone pavement, turfed on each side, lead to the monument, which has a background of poplar trees - reminiscent of Flanders - and the garden planted with beautiful shrubs and flowers and now illuminated at night, free of charge, by the Electric Supply Company. The cenotaph stands on a raised platform, and from the octagonal base rises a stone pillar, which is surmounted by a striking bronze figure of St. George. Mr. Walter Tower, of Lindfield, effectively designed the "Garden of Remembrance," and the memorial; under his supervision Messrs. Norman and Burt, of Burgess Hill, executed the stone work, the fences and entrance gates; and the bronze figure of the Patron Saint of England was done by Mr. Gough, of London."

Originally the panels on the base of the memorial were - incised with the names of the of the gallant dead in black lettering, these have now been replaced by eight bronze plaques, seven of which are inscribed with the names of the 145 who gave their lives in the Great War, these are fronted by the eighth which has the following inscription:- 

"This monument is set up by the inhabitants of Burgess Hill to commemorate their gratitude to all those who served their King and Country in the Great War, 1914-1918, and especially to the honoured memory of those whose names are here recorded, who went forth from this place and returned not again".

Under this plaque is another which commemorates the rededication of the memorial in 1972, which reads as follows:- 

"Re-dedicated in 1972 to all those who gave their lives throughout the years that we might live in peace"

There are145 names recorded on this memorial.

The two stone 'Memorial Tablets' which now stand each side of the Great War Memorial commemorate the names of the war dead from the 1939-1945 war and later conflicts, these record 90 names and were added to the memorial garden in 1995.

St. John's Institute - Park Road

Located to the north of the church in Park Road, is what was the St. John's Institute, now known as Park Centre (2002) and is used by the Oakmeed's Community School as their youth wing. The foundation stone for the building was laid in October 1872 after Madame Emily Temple, had decided to erect St. John's Institute to the memory of General Hall and bequeath it to the town. It was built by Simeon Norman Senior, for less than £1,200. The building had two sets of reading and smoking rooms - one set to be "free for ever for the use of working men". A framed memorial board with individual photographs (x) of five of the members who lost their lives in the Great War used to hang in the Institute. This memorial board is now in the safe keeping of the Burgess Hill Local History Society.

The memorial reads: 

St. John's Institute in memory of members who fell in the Great War 1914-18.

x NYE J. E. - 8th Royal Sussex 

x NORMAN D. D. - 60th Machine Gun Corps 

x COURT P. J. - 8th Royal Sussex 

x DALE J. - Northumberland Fusiliers

x DOWNER A. - Royal Fusiliers

St. Edward the Confessor - Royal George Road

This Church is located in Royal George Road near its junction with West Street. Originally this was just a cemetery with a burial chapel and was the extension to the St. John Churchyard which had been closed to new burials since 1918, the land was consecrated and opened in the 1920's. Next to the Burial Chapel there's now a new building which is St. Edward the Confessor and recently granted its own parish. There are no Great War Memorials inside this church but on the South wall is the Memorial which is dedicated to the 51 who lost their lives in the Second World War.


There are no Great War burials in this Cemetery but the following six inscriptions are found on family graves in this churchyard, all in memory to family lost in the Great War:

1. George Ernest Slater, 12th Royal Sussex Regt., killed in action in France, Oct. 30th 1916 aged 17 years. (George, is buried in the CABARET-ROUGE BRITISH CEMETERY, SOUCHEZ, Pas de Calais, France).

2. Harry & Alfred Weller, sons of Harry & Mary Weller, killed in action in France. (Alfred, is buried in the SOLFERINO FARM CEMETERY, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium & Harry , has no known grave and is commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France).

3. James Edwards A.B., lost in HMS Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916, age 23 yrs. also Edward H Edwards, 8th Hussars died in the Persian Gulf, 19th July 1916, aged 26yrs. (Edward, is buried in the AMARA WAR CEMETERY, Iraq & James, is commemorated on the PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, Hampshire, UK - two sons lost within two months). 

4. Charles Silsby, brother of Ernest Edward Silsby, Killed in action in France, 17th April 1916, aged 35. (Charles, is buried in the BETHUNE TOWN CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France).

5. Percy John Court, only son of Percy John & Catherine Louisa Court, killed in action in the Battle of the Somme 1st July 1916 aged 24 years. (Percy, has no known grave and it commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France).

6. ERA. (Engine Room Artificer) James Ainscough, HMS Pembroke, died 22 March 1915. - (James, is buried in the GILLINGHAM (WOODLANDS) CEMETERY, Kent, United Kingdom

St. John's Congregational Chapel - Leylands Road

This Chapel is located at the western end of Leylands Road near to its junction with London Road. The Chapel is now run by the Mid-Sussex Christians Association. The Chapel was built in 1828, and was regarded as one of the oldest places of worship in what was then St. John's Common, (now Burgess Hill).

Chapel Yard

In the north-east section is the CWGC war grave of:- 

TURNER, Pte. Harold, 3479. 3rd Bn., Royal Sussex Regt. 6th Aug., 1919. Age 21 died 06.08.1919.

In the north section is the family grave of George & Louisa Smith, on the kerb-stone is the following inscription:-

also George Stanley eldest son killed in action 6 August 1917 aged 19

Next to the Chapel and now (2002) joined to it by an extension is the St. John's War Memorial Hall. This building was built on land donated by Mr. A. J. Bridge J. P., for use as a Sunday School and other activities, at a cost of £1,720, when first built. The hall was dedicated in January, 1924 to the memory of the 24 brave sons of the chapel who laid down their lives in the Great War. A white memorial tablet of 'Sussex Winkle Stone', was mounted inside the hall on the West wall with their names inscribed on it. In 1985, when this Chapel changed hands it is believed that the war memorial stone was moved from the hall and placed in storage in the United Reform Church, Junction Road Burgess Hill. Unfortunately I haven't been able to locate this memorial stone and it now appears it may have been mislaid? The actual frame work of this memorial and a photograph showing the inscription and the names recorded on it is in the hands of the Burgess Hill Local History Society. On page 163 of A. H. Gregory's book "The Story of Burgess Hill" pub.1933, there's a photograph showing the the interior of the hall and the original location of the memorial tablet.

The Inscription on the memorial read:

To the glory of God and in grateful memory of the men of St. John's Chapel who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914-1918

























"Their name liveth for evermore"

United Reform Church - Junction Road

This church formerly The Congregational Church, built in 1881, it is located at the southern end of Junction Road near to its junction with Keymer Road. I haven't located a memorial for the Great War in this Church but on the north wall in the rear hall there's a memorial board commemorating the Jubilee of the Church and the erection of New School Buildings. On the centre panel is the following inscription:

Laus 1865-1915 Deo. To commerate the jubilee of the Church and the errection of new school buildings. Unveiled by Lt. Colonel Charles W. Berkeley 2nd 7th London Regt., & Maj. Sir Pieter van b Stewart-Bam, 3rd 7th London Regt. On 20th May 1915 in the time of the Great War as representing his Majesty troops quartered in the town.....

There is a war memorial commemorating five members who lost their lives in the Second World War. At present (2002), it's awaiting to be re-hung after redecoration and some modernization of the church.

Royal British Legion - Cyprus Road

Inside the Clubhouse on the south wall are two war memorials, one commemorates the 90 who lost their lives in the Second World War, the other is the London Road School, Great War Memorial Board. Originally this board used to hang in a classroom at the school, the school closed in 1986 but thankfully prior to its demolition in 1989, the board was removed. It was then passed onto the Burgess Hill Local History Society for safe keeping, along with the six picture frames that used to hand next to it. These picture frames contained 68 photographs (x) of old boys from the school who had fallen during the war. At present (2002) the Memorial Board is on long term loan to the Royal British Legion, Burgess Hill Branch, the photographs are in the Societies photographic collection.

There are eighty-nine, names inscribed on the memorial board and arranged in four columns, two each side of St. George. The majority of the names are in alphabetical order, except the last four, probable later additions. Above the figure of St. George, is the following inscription:-

Lest we forget (and under) Erected by the Old Boys of this School in memory of their Schoolfellows, who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1919. For God and Country Righteousness and Honour.

ANSCOMBE Frederick C. x



TULLEY Charles A. x

BALL Ernest x

HOADLEY James V. x

PASCOE Walter x


BARNES William J. x

HOLMES Charles x

PUTTICK Ephraim x

TURNER Thomas S.

BARTLEY Richard x

HYDE Frank C. x

PRATT Arthur x

VIRGO Herbert

BEARD Thomas H. x

JACKSON Joshua x

PRYOR Hubert c. x

VOICE Alfred E. x

BUCKMAN Sydney x

JUPP Mervyn G. C. x

REEVES James A. x


BUTCHER Robert L. x


ROWLAND Herbert N. x

WALDER Albert E. x

COURT Percy J. x

KING Thomas

ROWLAND Walter H. x

WALLER Arthur M. x

CRAMB William J.

KNIGHT Frank x

SEAMAN George J. x



MANN Manasseh

SEAMAN James W. x

WALLER Henry x

DAVEY William

MILES Norman R. x

SELSBY Alfred x

WALLER William

DAVIS William N. x

MORRIS Frank R. x


WELLER Alfred x

DENNETT Alfred J. x

MUDDLE Frank x


WHITE Arthur x

DOWN Alex G.

NEWELL Clifton D.

SIMMONDS William C. x

WHITE Leonard x



SLATER Ernest G. x

WILLEY Richard

EDWARDS Edward H. x

NORMAN Donald x

SMITH Albert A. x



NORMAN Gilbert T.

SMITH Stanley G. x



NYE John E. x

SMYTHE Bernard A. de P. x


FUNNELL Sydney F. x

PACKHAM Benjamin x

STAFF Arthur x

SHINE Edward x

GRAHAM Henry x

PAGE Daniel R.

STRINGER George W. x

STEVENS Herbert L.

GILMORE Reginald E. x


TURNER Geroge H. x


GREGORY Martin L. x

PARSONS Charles x

TEAGUE Eric J. x


HENTY Arthur

PARSONS Ernest x

THORPE Walter C. x



The Parish Church of St John The Evangelist

The church was built in 1862-63, and is located at the western end of what is now (2002) Church Walk. Inside the Church at the western end the dominant feature on the south wall is the War Memorial board. This Memorial commemorates the men who gave their lives in both the First and Second World Wars, there are 117 names recorded for the First and 52 on the Second. The 1914 -1918 board was unveiled and dedicated in 1919, and the 1939-1945 board was unveiled at a Dedication Service on Remembrance Sunday, 1947.

Above the names of the 1914-1918 board is the following inscription:-

"In loving and grateful memory of the men of this Parish who gave their lives for King & Country in the Great War 1914-1918. Their names are here recorded to be held in honour for evermore".

Individual Memorials

North Aisle

This part of the church is no longer accessible to the general public it has now been partitioned off from the main part of the church and is used as offices etc. Located on the north wall in the first office on the right as you enter the aisle from the north side entrance is a brass tablet erected by the 12th Royal Lancers in memory of Pte. C. Hellier, the inscription reads as follows:

In memory of Pte. Cymbeline Hellier XII Royal Lancers who gave his life for his country in South Africa June 5 1900. Erected by the 12th Royal Lancers Past & Present

South Chapel

Recently moved from the south wall and now (2002) located in the South Chapel is the memorial tablet to Walter Edwards, this had been erected in the church by his parents in 1916, the inscription reads as follows:

"In loving memory of 2nd Lieut. Walter Edwards of the 6th City of London Rifles. The Beloved Son of William and Maud Louisa Edwards who was killed in action at Souchez France on Apr 27 1916 age 20 yrs."


In the 1914 -1918 Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Register, published in 1990, the following four burials are recorded in this churchyard only three have a CWGC headstone which are all located in the North Churchyard.

They are recorded in the 1914-1918 CWGC. Register as follows:

BUTCHER, Pte. Robert Henry George, SD/1218. 12th Bn. Royal Sussex Regt. Died of pneumonia 10th April, 1915. Age 44. Son of John Lennox Butcher; husband of Catherine Emma Butcher, of 8, Cross Keys, Crawley, Sussex Grave ref. C.19 G. (North of Church). Not mentioned in the CWGC Register, but inscribed at the bottom of the headstone: Also in loving memory of my darling son Pte. R. L. Butcher Royal Fus. killed in action 8.October1918 aged 19 years. (Robert Lenox, is buried in the FORENVILLE MILITARY CEMETERY, Nord, France).

SIMMONDS, Pte. Albert, 201575. 3rd / 5th Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. 19th Jan., 1917, Age 29. Son of Henry and Emily Simmonds, of 5, Adelaide Cottages, Burgess Hill Grave ref. C. 105 D. (North of Church). Not mentioned in the CWGC. Register, but inscribed at the bottom of the headstone: Rest in Peace.

VOICE, Pte. Alfred Edward, G / 12999. 10th Bn. Royal Sussex Regt. 9th July, 1916. Age 18. Son of Ernest Job and Mary Eliza Voice, of 2, Edinburgh Cottages, Royal George Rd., Burgess Hill. Grave Ref. C. 25 D. (North of Church). Not mentioned in the CWGC. Register, but inscribed at the bottom of the headstone: Peace Perfect Peace.

WHATMORE, Pte. H., 8135. 1st Bn. Royal Sussex Regt. 18th Jan., 1920. Grave ref. A. 195. 

Herbert Whatmore, doesn't have a CWGC. headstone as he is buried in a family grave in the west Churchyard near to the south wall. The grave is located behind a holly tree and between the graves of , William & Sarah Verrall and William & Eliza King. The main head or kerb stone with the family surname is missing? (March 2002) but in the centre of the grave is small headstone that reads Herbert died 18 January 1920. On the three remaining kerbstone's is the following inscription, Lloyd died 3 February 1900 age 21, Herbert's brother. Confirmation that it is the Whatmore grave is found in the Church burial record, no.498, Lloyd Whatmore, buried 7 February, 1900, age 21.

The following seven inscriptions are found recorded on headstones of other family graves in this Churchyard, all in memory to family lost in the Great War::

West Churchyard

Henry & Caroline Hollingdale: Stone cross in centre of grave reads "Percy J Court Cpl. Royal Sussex Regt. only son of P J and C L Court killed in action in the Battle of the Somme France 1st July 1916 age 24 Pro Patria." (Percy, has no known grave and it commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France).

North Terrace

Mary Letita Laughton:- Stone cross in centre of grave reads "In memory of Ernest Chenery Laughton, Company Sergt. Major, East Surrey Regiment, son of James & Mary Laughton, killed in the Battle of the Somme France July 1st 1916 age 30 PRO PATRIA R.I.P." (Ernest, has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Somme, France. His name is not commemorated on the town's memorial, but it does appear on the war memorial located inside the church).

Thomas & Kate Walder:- Stone cross in centre of grave reads "In memory of Albert E. Walder, son of Thomas & Kate Walder, killed in the Battle of Gaza, Palestine on March 26th 1917, age 23 years. Loved and Lost. (Albert's has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the JERUSALEM MEMORIAL, Israel).

North Churchyard

Located by the east boundary wall is a metal white memorial cross, the inscription reads:- In loving memory my dear husband Pte. Charles Nelson West (under this is the hand painted badge of the Royal Sussex Regiment followed by) Killed in action 1916 age 33. (Charles, has no known grave and it commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France).

East Terrace 

Walter Frank & Mary Waterfall:- 2nd Lieut. Vincent Waterfall their youngest son killed in action 22 August 1914 aged 23. (Vincent, who along with Lt. Charles George Gordon BAYLY, also aged 23, were the first Royal Flying Corps fatalities in the Great War. They are both buried in the TOURNAI COMMUNAL CEMETERY ALLIED EXTENSION, Tournai, Hainaut, Belgium 

William & Anna Maria Downer:- Arthur Downer killed in action at Givenchy France 24 December 1915 aged 41 years. (Arthur, is buried in the WOBURN ABBEY CEMETERY, CUINCHY, Pas de Calais, France) 

South Terrace

Katherine Jane & Violet Isobel Frape:- also her son Reginald David Frape, Royal Sussex Regiment Killed in action 30 June 1916 age 32. (He is buried in the CABARET-ROUGE BRITISH CEMETERY, SOUCHEZ, Pas de Calais, France. His name is not commemorated the town's war memorial).

South Churchyard

Matilda Emily Muddle:- also of Frank Muddle, her son killed in France 1 May 1917 aged 23. (Frank is buried in the FAUBOURG D'AMIENS CEMETERY, ARRAS, Pas de Calais, France).

St. Andrew's Church - Junction Road

This Church was built by Messers. Norman and Burt a well known local firm, and it was consecrated by Dr. Redgeway, then Bishop of Chichester, on St. Andrew's Day ,1908. The site of the church was formerly part of Cant's Farm the farmhouse having been pulled down in 1903. The St. Andrew's Church Great War Memorial consisted of a Sanctuary, Choir Stalls and Memorial Window. The Consecration of the Sanctuary and Dedication of the Choir Stalls and Memorial Window by The Right Reverend The Bishop of Lewes took place on December 1st, 1924. Inside the last page of service programme is the following:

The following are the names of those who from the Parish of St. Andrew's, Burgess Hill, made the Great Sacrifice in The War, 1914-1919.


ANSCOMBE Frederick

HENTY Arthur John

BARNES James William

LITTLE Walter George

BLAKE Charles

MILES Norman Richard

BONE Arthur Henry

NYE John Edwin

BOWEN Thomas

PAGE Daniel

BUCKLAND Percy Augustus

PARSONS Ernest Leonard

BUNTING Edgar Victor


COOKE Thomas William

REEVES James Arthur

CRAMB William


ELLIOTT Arthur Henry

TASSELL Bertram Theodore



FUNNELL Frederick Sydney

WAILES Hubert Charles

HART Harry Valentine

WHITE Leonard

In the side Chapel are the wooden memorial tablets inscribed with 26 names of those from the Parish who lost there lives during the Great War. On another wall is another wooden tablet on which is inscribed 10 names of those from the Parish who lost their lives during the Second World War. The Great War Memorial reads:

In memory of the men of this Parish who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1919.

ANSCOMBE Frederick

HENTY Arthur J.

BARNES James W. 

LITTLE Walter G. 

BLAKE Charles

MILES Norman R.

BONE Arthur H.

NYE John E.

BOWEN Thomas

PAGE Daniel





COOKE Thomas W.

REEVES James A. 

CRAMB William

STENNING Lawrence 


TASSELL Bertram T. 



FUNNELL Frederick S.

WAILES Hubert C. 

HART Harry V.

WHITE Leonard

In 1924, the Church was extended eastwards by the erection of a Chancel. The dedication plaque on the south-wall of the Chancel reads:

"This Chancel with the Choir Stalls were erected by the Parishioners in grateful memory of the men from this Parish who fell in the Great War" G. Tindal-Atkinson, Vicar. S.T. Maynard, G. R. Cooke Church Wardens, E. Parsons, Hon-Sec., Parochical Church Council

Opposite this plaque on the north-wall another plaque reads:

 "The windows above the Sanctuary arch were dedicated on December 1st 1924, " in memory of Bertram Tassell, a choirman and sidesman of this Church who fell in the Great War"

In "Story of Burgess Hill" by A. H. Gregory pub. 1933 mention is made that in 1924, the late Alfred John Bridge J.P. of Wyberlye, gave a reading desk as a memorial to the men of this Parish who fell in the Great War.


There are five burials recorded in this Churchyard in the CWGC 1914-1918 War Grave Register for Cemeteries and Churchyards in East Sussex, they are:

CLEMENTS, Lce. Cpl A. E. 711. 10th Bn. London Regt. 13th Nov., 1914. South-East of Church.

HERRIOTT, Lce. Cpl. A. J., G/9269. 8th Bn. Royal Sussex Regt. 12th Aug., 1919. South-East of Church.

NYE, Lce. Cpl. John Edwin, G/2702. 8th Bn. Royal Sussex Regt. 6th Aug., 1916. Age 30. Son of Walter and Mary Nye, of Burgess Hill; husband of Anna Greer Penfold (formerly Nye), of Pollard's Farm, Burgess Hill. grave ref. 104.

SOUTHCOTT, Pte. S. S. M2/222300. 52nd M.T. Coy. Army Service Corps. 31st March, 1918. Age40. Son of William and Emily Paige Southcott, of Braintree, Essex.

WALKER, PTE. John, 20521. 2nd/5th Bn. Royal Sussex Regt. 16th Feb., 1916. Age 46. Son of John Arthur Walker; Husband of Mrs M. M. Walker, of Compton House, West St., Burgess Hill. South of Church.

Hammonds Place, London Road

Inside the porch of this 16th Century house will be found a memorial plaque that commemorates the three Meautys brothers, the sons of Major T. A. Meautys, one time owner of the house, the plaque reads:

"In faithfull and lasting memory of the three sons of this house who during the Great War gave their lives in France for their King & Country"

Lt. Thomas Gilliet Meauty, Died of wounds 22 Sep 1914 age 25

Lt. Denzil Hatfield Meauty, Died of wounds 7 May 1917, age 19

Both of the 1st Bn. West Yorkshire Reg.

Capt. Paul Raymond Meauty, MC (of the 2nd Bn. North Staffs Reg.) Brigade Major, 53 Brigade, killed in action 16 Jun 1917, age 26.

'Homes for Heroes'     

Few council houses were built before the Great War, but towards the end of the war attitudes to public housing began to change. This was partly due to evidence of civil unrest in some parts of England caused by the high prices of food and inadequate housing. Lloyd George's government became seriously concerned about the shortage of houses to rent and in December 1919 Parliament passed a new Housing Act which made it compulsory for local authorities to survey their areas for housing need and to build where necessary.

Still found (2002) on the western side of town, is a group of council houses named 'Mons Terrace' no's. 94 -108, West Street.  A similar group was also built on the eastern side of town and named 'Marne Terrace', they used to stand at the beginning of Valebridge Road, fronting the recreation ground.  Both groups of council houses were known locally as 'Homes for Heroes.’  'Marne Terrace' was demolished in the late 1960's early 1970's to make way for an Old People's Residence, called 'Manor Court'.   Another later group of council houses in Royal George Road was named 'Menin Gate Terrace', unfortunately this terrace no longer has the name plate showing.

The Valebridge Estate    

On the death of Frederick Tyrell Godman in 1917, (Lt. F. T. Godman was to die in 1917 as a German prisoner of war, see Wivelsfield) the Otehall estate (Wivelsfield) was administered by the Public Trustee, who in 1920 sold off the Theobalds Estate, which was renamed the Valebridge Estate, (south-west corner of Wivelsfield Parish where it joins Keymer Parish, Burgess Hill). It consisted of Theobalds, "…farm house with cottages, stable buildings and 254a. 2r. 38p meadow, pasture and woodland in the Wivelsfield, Keymer Urban & Keymer Rural in the occupation of J. Woolland" This they sold by dividing, the land up into plots; those fronting Valebridge Road and Janes Lane (both Burgess Hill) being sold for building while those on the corner, at World’s End, (Burgess Hill) were advertised as suitable for shops. These plots were advertised as "…suitable for the early building of a country Cottage or Bungalow, or otherwise for a few acres suitable for a Poultry Farm or for fruit and gardening." It was suggested as a good investment for "…officers and men who have fought in the War and now desire to live in the country, some of choice and many for health and to regain by this means health and vigour lost on the fields of War." This was a pattern followed at the end of the World War 1 in several places, including Carshalton Beeches, Wallington and Ripley in Surrey, in order to rehabilitate ex-service men.

The Victoria Pleasure Gardens    

The Gardens first opened in August 1897, the proprietor of these gardens was Edwin Street, standing six foot four inches and weighing just under 25 stones, was a conspicuous figure. As well as being the proprietor of what, in their heyday, were considered to have been the finest pleasure gardens on the south coast. He was also one of the best known farmers in the county, the premier butcher in the district, and a long serving and outspoken independent member of Burgess Hill Town Council. These gardens were the Victorian for-runner of today's (2003) Amusement & Pleasure parks, like 'Alton Towers, 'Chessington World of Adventure and Thorpe Park' to name three.

With the outbreak of the Great War, Edwin Street's future plans with regards to the Gardens had to be temporarily shelved, as they were immediately requisitioned by the War Office for the billeting and training of troops. In November, 1914, soldiers of two battalions of The London Regiment arrived, 2nd/6th (City of London) Battalion (Rifles), & 2nd/7th (City of London) Battalion.

In April, 1915, the 'Londoners' marched away, and a month later were replaced by the 2nd/4th & 2nd/5th Battalions, East Lancashire Regiment. They stayed for less than a month, nearly all of which was devoted to strenuous training, and so had little time or opportunity to socialize with the local residents in the way their predecessors had done. Nevertheless, these lads with their strange sounding accents, who had come from such far distant places as Accrington, Blackburn, Nelson and Preston were warmly received by the people of Burgess Hill.

Towards the end of June 1915, most of them had embarked fro Suez to join their front line battalion there. A message on a picture postcard of the period describes the manner of their departure:

 "This is a photo of our present soldiers. They all went off for a bath the other morning, each one had a towel. Some of them went to Egypt on Monday - it was a sight. About 1,200 went marching off towards the 'Magpie' (now the 'Sportsman' P.H. at Goddards Green), with a Brass Band and Bugle Band in the middle, playing 'Marching through Georgia' and 'Swannee River'. The Brass Band was playing all the time, and every now and then the bugles mixed in. It was simply grand."

On Whit Monday 1923, after a lot of hard work to bring them back into shape the Gardens were re-opened to the public. When WWII came In 1939, the Gardens for the second time in their history were taken over by the military authorities. This time the closure proved to be the final straw and the Gardens were never re-opened to the public. The land was later sold for building and where the Gardens once stood is now the site of the 'Victoria Industrial Estate'.

Honouring the Brave    

The following article appeared on the 14th August, 1917 in the 'The Mid-Sussex Times':- HONOURING THE BRAVE - No doubt many of the gallant Mid-Sussex boys on the high seas and at the military fronts who read in the newspapers of the public war shrines which are continually being erected in large town centres t home are asking whether anything of a similar character is being done in the smaller places. So far as regards our own district, we believe that, with the exception of lists of living and dead sailors and soldiers at places of worship, the answer to such a question is almost in the negative. Haywards Heath and Cuckfield are indeed collecting the portraits of local heroes and hanging them in public buildings, but at Burgess Hill a collection is being brought together in the shop window at 3 Keymer Road. This partakes more of the generally conceived form of a war shrine, and owes its existence to the patriotism of Mr. A. J. Brown, who began it in a comparatively small way with a list of local football players on active service on the sea, on the land and in the air, the card having been nicely penned by Mr. E. Terry. This gradually spread to a collection of the portraits of gallant Burgess Hill lads- there are now 106 of these in frames in the window - and vases of flowers, which are replenished two or three times a week by the offerings of kind residents, have been added, also drapings in the national colours. The shrine has a touching poem on the living men and a succinct prayer for the departed, and the latter has probably been heartily re-echoed by many passers-by, for it is very true that sorrow brings hearts together and that one touch of nature makes the whole world kin. So Burgess Hill lads who are upholding their country's cause far away will see that the town in which their lot at home was cast does not forget them - and will not do so as long as memory lasts. As to other places in the district, we believe there is at least one village where the erection of a war shrine is in contemplation, but so far no active steps in this direction have been taken there. (I wonder what happened to these photographs etc. after the war - perhaps they survive in someone's loft or collection somewhere?)

The names of those found on the various memorials are listed on a separate page for World War 1

15 August 2004

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