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Battlefield Tour 2018

Posted by Colonel RM Arnold on Sat, Feb 17 2018 at 12:21 PM CST:

The Regimental Associationís battlefield tour this year was due to be in November in order to commemorate three main events. These would comprise the Regimentís last two battles of the Great War; the 2nd Battalionís crossing of the Sambre-Oise Canal on 4th November and, slightly further upstream, the 9th Battalion crossing the Rhonelle River on 6th November. The third but more important event is to commemorate the Regimentís last casualty, Corporal Newton of the 9th Battalion, who was killed by shellfire on 10th November at Bersillies. In effect, this would also be a fitting climax for commemorating the end of the Regimentís Great War hostilities.

The immediate problem with this programme is that the dates conflict with the National Armistice and Remembrance Programmes, and all members will wish to be back in England for their own Parades and Services Ė our Westminster Abbey Service is 8th November. We have therefore decided to move the battlefield tours to 30th and 31st October Ė the dates for these is not critical, as long as we retain some battlefield realism. We will travel out on Day 1 and do the Sambre-Oise crossing, and then stay the night in a local hotel. On Day 2 we will do the Rhonelle River crossing and then return home via some recommended wine outlets.

The main difficulty is fitting in the last casualty commemoration Ė we canít do it on its proper date of 10th November, so we need to move it away completely. We should make it a special Commemoration, which combines both the death of the last member of the Regiment and the end of the Great War. The Royal Sussex Regimentís Great War did not actually finish until 1919, when the 11th Battalion came back from Russia in August of that year. It will therefore be fitting to hold this Commemoration in July or August of 2019, and we would aim to do this at Bersillies in France.

A detailed action plan, including costs is to be circulated to Branches shortly and I will ensure that a copy is put on this website for non-Branch members.

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