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England in Time of War, some notes. Dome Brighton,Darwan Singh Negi VC

Sussex at War.

England in Time Of War.

The South Coast 1914-1915.

Soldiers By The Seaside. From a Correspondent at the time.


Not even London is “ set ”in her ways as a winter resort in on the South Coast of England.

The inhabitants are nearly all elderly, and few robust. Habit is the prop of their lives, and their devotion to habit affects all about them.

At first site the Bournemouth of this winter is precisely the same as the Bournemouth of last winter.

The Neue Freie Presse ( Neue Freie Presse (“New Free Press”) known locally as “Die Presse” was a Viennese newspaper founded by Adolf Werthner together with the journalists Max Friedländer and Michael Etienne on 1 September 1864. It existed until 1938.

is wrong in stating that Bournemouth is absolutely deserted,and that even the permanent inhabitants have fled panic-stricken.

But a town so full as Bournemouth of Anglo-Indians, and retired officers of Navy and Army must have many anxieties about sons and brothers who are carrying on the family traditions. It is only

imagination that sees faces graver and clothes less cheerful than of old ?.

With little or no diminution in the numbers the town is even soberer than usual. And then suddenly the sight of a crowd round the window of the local newspaper reveals much that else would be hidden in the common round of these people whose task is only to wait and pray. It tells more eloquently of war even tan the dark sea front at night, or the rare adventure of being challenged by a sentry on the deserted cliff. Behind and around this residential, invalidish part of the struggling town there is activity enough, with some thousands of the the new Army billeted, and trade enough with their 15s per head a week in circulation.

But they make strangely little show, these troops, one must almost look for them, as one must look for the wounded Indians in the Mont Dore Hotel – to see workman tearing up the gardens in order to plant temporary structures, and the patients scarcely more than a blue coat, a black beard, and a turban taking the sun on a balcony.

The whole impression is that people are “ going on just the same “because of powers and resources scarcely stirred by great new demands; that there is a reserve of energy which could double or treble its function without disturbing the normal course of its routine.


Bournemouth does not try to be gay in winter, but ,winter and summer. Brighton lives by gaiety. A pitch- dark front, and not a light upon either pier- under such conditions Brighton is unimaginable.

Not only the Pavilion, but the Dome is now a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers; and her wounded Indians ( who include Naik Darwan Sing Negi, of the 1st Battalion 39th Garhwal Rifles,

Darwan Singh Negi VC

(November 1881 – 24 June 1950) was among the earliest Indian recipients of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

He was approximately 33 years old, and a Naik in the 1st Battalion, 39th Garhwal Rifles, British Indian Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC, the citation was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 4 December 1914 (dated 7 December 1914), and read:

War Office, 7th December, 1914.

His Majesty the KING-EMPEROR has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned soldiers of the Indian Army for conspicuous bravery whilst serving with the Indian Army Corps, British Expeditionary Force: —

1909, Naik Darwan Sing Negi, 1st Battalion, 39th Garhwal Rifles.

For great gallantry on the night of the 23rd-24th November, near Festubert, France, when the regiment was engaged in retaking and clearing the enemy out of our trenches, and, although wounded in two places in the head, and also in the arm, being one of the first to push round each successive traverse, in the face of severe fire from bombs and rifles at the closest range.

decorated with the Victoria Cross by the hand of the King in France ) are now Brighton’s chief interest. A mile or two beyond decorators Hove and the turmoil of war is thick about you. The recent fortunes of Little Shoreham-that ancient place, Shoreham crowned with the grace of years,

Shoreham clad with the sunset glad and grave with glory that death reveres, would make an interesting chapter of social history.

It lived partly on the visitors who come to see its two ancient and beautiful churches, but mainly on the hideous little erections of “ Bungalow-Town”.Two or three years ago an outraged ocean swept away much of “ Bungalow Town “; Shoreham was hoping to recover something of its prosperity last autumn, when the outbreak of war darkened its hopes. And then , almost suddenly, Shoreham found itself teaming with hungry souls and full of business.

Opposite the workhouse a huge camp pitched ; 20.000 men or more found Shoreham their nearest place for shopping.

The sunniest August could have brought but a small fraction of the trade that has streamed on Shoreham in these drenching months of autumn and winter.

The complete depopulation of the South Coast of England”- to brave the mud from the sea-front to the old wooden bridge beyond New Shoreham and Old is to think how trifling, even in the great days of the Romans or of the de Braoses,much life have been here compared with the crowded, busy, happy activity of the present moment.

Soldiers Everywhere

Beyond the bridge the road runs westward into a scene of change yet more striking. The camp at Shoreham, like most camps, was made uninhabitable by the wet. Many of the troops were billeted upon neighbouring towns till the huts should be ready on drier ground.

And of the troops some 5.000 found themselves at Worthing. The place full of them. Soldiers heads and shoulders appear at the windows of the sober houses on the seafront; soldiers sleep in the little houses in the side streets.

Soldiers are almost the only young men to be seen; the middle-aged and the elderly do the work of the town, for the young are wearing the dark blue or the khaki that colours every street.

At the midday the company’s or platoons return-many of them from breaking the ancient peace of the Sussex Downs that took over Worthing to the sea-to dismiss in the town.

Here come a few who have been digging trenches, pick and spade over the shoulder; here is a young officer talking with an engaging mixture of shyness and fatherliness to the men who are about to dismiss for an hours rest;


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