The Sussex Yeomanry Prior to WW1 (1908-1914)

The Sussex Yeomanry can trace its origins right back to the Napoleonic Wars and the threat of French invasion – as can many other Yeomanry Regiments. In this Group, we are particularly interested in the years leading up to WW1 (1908-1914).

The regiment was formed on the creation of the Territorial Force in April 1908. It was headquartered at Church Street in Brighton, with the squadrons being headquartered as shown below:-

  • A Squadron : Brighton (with drill stations at Horsham, Worthing, Haywards Heath and Crawley)
  • B Squadron : Lewes (Burgess Hill, Eridge, Brighton, Uckfield, Tunbridge Wells)
  • C Squadron : Chichester (Bognor)
  • D Squadron : Eastbourne (St. Leonarads, Bexhill and Rye)

In 1910 Sussex Yeomanry formed part of the UK’s Territorial Mounted Force. Along with the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles, West Kent (Queen’s Own) and Surrey Yeomanry they formed the South Eastern Mounted Brigade.

Like the majority of the Yeomanry Regiments, the Sussex was raised and trained as cavalry but never fought on horseback. At the outbreak of war they were stationed at Canterbury with the rest of the South Eastern Mounted Brigade. The Regiment agreed to serve abroad and was sent as dismounted infantry to Gallipoli (1915) and Egypt (1916). They were then sent to Palestine and France as infantry with the 230 th Brigade of the 7 th (Yeomanry) Division (1917).

In 1910 Sussex Yeomanry were issued with plain khaki service dress, worn with brown leather Stohwasser gaiters, plain khaki cap and a 50-round leather 1903 cartridge bandolier. Their Stohwasser gaiters were soon superseded by puttees. For walking-out and parade there was a blue uniform with shoulder chains. The forage cap had a yellow band and piping in the crown seam. The overalls had a yellow stripe down the outside of the leg.

Some Yeomanry units still used the 1899 cavalry sword in 1910. These swords were gradually replaced by the 1908 cavalry thrusting sword.

1899 British Cavalry Sabre1899 Cavalry Sword

1908 British Cavalry Thrusting Sabre with Scabbard1908 Cavalry Sword

The rifle that was used was the short rifle, magazine, Lee-Enfield, Mark III.

Short Rifle Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk3 and Bayonet

Members of The Sussex Yeomanry did not use the lance but our Group does use this weapon for displays.

Only officers and RSMs carried a revolver. However, our Group does make use of revolvers in displays.