The Battle of the Somme was fought at such terrible cost, its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and it was felt deeply at home. Many of the soldiers were good friends, neighbours and colleagues from close-knit communities who signed up together to serve alongside each other.
The Battle of the Somme started on July 1st 1916 in early hours, when nearly a quarter of a million shells were fired at the German positions. So intense was the barrage that it was heard in London. At 7.28 a.m. ten mines were exploded under the German trenches. Two minutes later, British and French troops attacked along a 25-mile front. The main objective was “to break through the German lines by means of a massive infantry assault, to try to create the conditions in which cavalry could then move forward rapidly to exploit the breakthrough.”
On the first day of the battle thirteen British divisions went “over the top” in regular waves. The bombardment failed to destroy either the barbed-wire or the concrete bunkers protecting the German soldiers. This meant that the Germans were able to exploit their good defensive positions on higher ground. The battle lasted until November 1916.
STORRINGTON & DISTRICT CASUALTIES
ADSETT, Arthur of Washington
Private L/9151, 7th Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, 12th Division, Regular Soldier, served India 1909-1915, France 1916, transferred from the 2nd Battalion. Killed in action near Ovillers, Battle of Pozières, Somme 31st July 1916, aged 28. Born 1888 Stopham, son of JAMES ADSETT and SALLY (née WHITTINGTON) of Washington.
BROADBRIDGE, Charles Frederick of Washington
Private 6157, No 17 Company, The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), formerly G/7596 Royal Sussex Regt. Killed in action 18th August 1916, Battle of Delville Wood, Somme. Born Washington 1889, son of GEORGE BROADBRIDGE and OLIVE (née RICHARDSON).
BROOK (or BROOKS), Jesse of Storrington
Private L/10957 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. Killed in action at Ovillers, Somme 7 July 1916, aged 20. Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial. Born Alciston, Sussex in 1898, son of James and Avice Brook later of 474 Roundabouts, Storrington and of Lane End, Cootham.
DAUGHTRY, John, MM of Storrington
Lance Corporal G/2424, 8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (Pioneers). Awarded Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty on 13/14th July 1916. Killed in action in the Battle of the Ancre Heights (part of the Battle of the Somme) on 1 October 1916, aged 28. Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial. Born Storrington 3 January 1888, son of John and Susan Daughtry of Church Street, Storrington. Husband of Mrs Agnes Lily Howlett of Crawley Down.
DAY, Albert Edward of Ashington
Private L/10955, 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, 39th Division. Killed in action Redoubt Sector, Battle of the Ancre Heights, Somme, 21st October 1916, age 16. Born 1900 Arundel (service records suggest born Pulborough) ?son of Mrs. LILLYWHITE.
FIGG, William James of Storrington
Private G/7425, 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. Killed in action at Bazentin-le-Petit, Battle of the Pozieres, Somme on 17 August 1916, aged 23. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Born Battersea 18 September 1892, son of William and Alice (d1904) Figg. Lived Brewers Yard, Storrington.
FRANCIS, Percy Jesse of Washington
Private G/8619, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, 1st Division. Killed in action at High Wood, Battle of Pozières, Somme 9th September 1916, aged 20. Born Washington 1896, son of GEORGE FRANCIS and HARRIETT LABINA (née SHORT) of Heath Common, Washington.
FRENCH, Albert Anthony of Storrington
Second Lieutenant 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, Battalion Bombing Officer. Killed in action at Beaucourt Ridge, Somme, 3 September 1916, aged 20. Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial. Born 14 September 1895 Pirbright, Surrey, son of Philip and Susan French. Lived School Hill, Storrington.
HAMILTON, Percy George of Amberley
Private/Guardsman 12190, 2nd Battalion, The Coldstream Guards, Guards Division. Died of wounds from the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, Somme 17th September 1916, aged 22. Born 1894 Goring, Sussex, son of FREDERICK GEORGE A HAMILTON and FANNY (née LOVELOCK) later of Amberley. Husband of MINNIE ALICE CHARMAN.
HAWKINS, Charles George of West Chiltington
Private 9891, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, the Guards Division. Enlisted in Chichester. Killed in action at Lesboeufs, Flers-Courcelette, Somme 5th September 1916 age 24. Born in Greatham, son of GEORGE ELIJAH HAWKINS and ELIZABETH (née HARWOOD). 1911 census lived Hatches Cottages, West Chiltington.
JUPP, Clifford Henry Oliver of Storrington
2nd Lieutenant No.159, 1st Battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Killed in action 1st July 1916 the first day of the Somme, in the attack on Beaumont-Hamel, aged 25. Commemorated on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial and on Pulborough War Memorial. Born 1889, son of William and Marion Jupp. Family at Oldfields Farm, Storrington in 1911. Clifford working at 16 Stamford St, Southwark as wholesale Manchester Warehouseman.
LUCAS, PERCIVAL DREWETT of Parham
2nd Lieutenant, 10th Battalion attached to 2nd Battalion, The Border Regiment, 7th Division. Died at 2 Stationary Hospital, France, of wounds received near Fricourt, Battle of Albert, Somme, 6th July 1916, aged 36. Born 1879 Hove, son of ALFRED LUCAS (d1895) and JANE (née DREWETT). Lived Rackham Cottage, Greatham. Son-in-law of WILFRED MEYNELL of Greatham.
MAIN, Thomas George of Thakeham
Private G/5284, 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, 12th Division. Killed in action at Ovillers, Battle of Albert, Somme, France 7th July 1916. Born 1880 Hambleton, Hants, son of GEORGE and ANNA MARIA (née NIKLEN). Next of kin, Shipley.
NEWNHAM, George Vincent of West Chiltington
Private G/9650 2nd Battalion (formerly 3rd Battalion and 9th Battalion), Royal Sussex Regiment. 1st Division. Killed in action 27 Sep 1916 at High Wood, Battle of Flers-Courcelette, Somme. Born Bury, Sussex, c1880, son of HENRY NEWNHAM and ESTHER (née JACKSON) of Homeland (previously East View), Broadford Bridge, West Chiltington.
RUTTENS, Edward of Bury
Private 6123, 2nd/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 61st Division (Formerly 2554 2nd/4th Royal Sussex). Killed in action Battle of Fromelles 19 July 1916. Thought to be buried in a mass grave at Pheasant Wood, near Fromelles, Pas-de-Calais, France. Born Duncton 1898, posthumous son of PETER JOSEPH RUTTENS (d 1897) and ELLEN (née RAPSON). Lived West Burton, Bury before enlisting.
SEARLE, John James of Greatham and Rackham
Private 6125, 2/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 61st Division (formerly 2531 Royal Sussex Regiment). Killed in action 19th July 1916, aged 18, Battle of Fromelles, Nord Pas-de-Calais. Born 1898 Greatham, son of CHARLES SEARLE and EMILY (née HARDING) of Dora Cottages, Greatham, near Storrington.
SIMPSON, Ernest George of Bury
Private G/16071 (formerly 4140), 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, 39th Division. Killed in action Battle of the Ancre Heights, Somme 21st October 1916, aged 29. Born East Horsley, Surrey 1887, son of GEORGE SIMPSON and MARY ANN (ka Polly) (née BIXLEY), later of West Burton.
SMITH, Arthur John of Amberley (brother of Sydney Onslow Smith)
Private 17490, 12th Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment, 41st Division. Killed in action Fricourt, Battle of Flers-Courcelette, Somme 15th September 1916, aged 21. Born 1895 Hardham, son of SAMUEL SMITH & SARAH (née BLUNDEN), living in Amberley by 1901.
SMITH, Sydney Onslow of Amberley (brother of Arthur John Smith)
Private G/4154 (also GS/4154), 7th Battalion, The Royal West Kent Regiment (Queen’s Own), 18th Division. Killed in action Battle of the River Ancre, Somme 18th November 1916, aged 22. Born 1894 Hardham, son of SAMUEL SMITH & SARAH (née BLUNDEN), living in Amberley by 1901