Chichester remembers those lost on ‘The Day Sussex Died’

DM16127838a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary service; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203746008
DM16127838a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary service; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203746008

The Sussex men who lost their lives 100 years ago on ‘The Day Sussex Died’ were remembered yesterday at the Portfield Cemetery in Chichester.

Yesterday, June 30, marked a century since the First World War Battle of the Boar’s Head, when three battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment – the 11th, 12th and 13th – went over the top in Richebourg, France.

DM16127842a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Chris Ainsworth. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203757008

DM16127842a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Chris Ainsworth. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203757008

All three were pals battalions, which means they were made up of male volunteers who had enlisted together in local recruiting drives.

Pals battalions were specially constituted by the British Army during the First World War.

President of Chichester Branch of the Royal British Legion, Graham Matthews, attended the service.

He said: “The ceremony went well and the men of Sussex were remembered.

DM16127845a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Chris Ainsworth. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203809008

DM16127845a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Chris Ainsworth. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203809008

“The Royal Sussex Regiment was also involved throughout the Battle of the Somme, hence the planting of Somme 100 crosses yesterday.”

Mr Matthews added: “Although the battle meant the loss of so many men of Sussex as an engagement, it has barely rated a mention in the history of World War One.

“All those killed as a result of war should never be forgotten.”

The battle came to be known as the Battle of the Boar’s Head as the salient here looked like the head of a boar on trench maps.

DM16127931a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary, Portfield Cemetery, Chichester. Graham Matthews, RBL president. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203118008

DM16127931a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary, Portfield Cemetery, Chichester. Graham Matthews, RBL president. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203118008

The battle was a diversion to try to make German troops think that the main attack was coming there, and not at the Somme a few days later.

At the end of that day of fighting 100 years ago, 1,100 men were dead, missing or wounded. A number of these were brothers.

The following day, July 1, 1916, was the start of the Battle of the Somme and by the end of that day, 60,000 men were dead, missing or wounded. It remains the bloodiest day in British military history.

The tragic loss was remembered across Sussex yesterday, and Chichester Cathedral rang the bells to show their respects.

DM16127931a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203129008

DM16127931a.jpg 'The Day Sussex Died' 100th anniversary; Portfield Cemetery; Chichester. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160630-203129008

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