Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. VI.]               Military Episodes.                             71
great Napoleonic wars, as beyond the scope of my personal knowledge, the modern military history of the place begins for me with 1853, and the only thing antecedent to that which I will refer to is the following matter :óBetween 1815 and 1855, though of course I can only speak personally of the latest years of that period, there was maintained at East-Bourne a slight make-believe of military show by the occupation of the house now known as " Government House " (between 157 and 159 Seaside) as the residence of some elderly officer representing the War Office, and the occupation of the Great Redoubt and some of the other towers and Langney Fort by a handful of decrepit artillerymen. These men were long under the command of a certain Sergeant Glass, who, when he became too old for the service of his country in a military capacity, was thought to be good enough to perform the duty of Inspector of Nuisances under the Local Board.
In 1853, when the first ominous signs of the coming Crimean War were showing themselves, 2 "Companies" (as they were then called) of Foot Artillery, consisting of 4 Officers and about 140 men each, were sent to East-Bourne and quartered in the Great Redoubt and elsewhere. One of the Officers was a Mr. Phelips, a member of the Phelips Family who are still the owners of the celebrated and beautiful Jacobean Mansion of Montacnte in Somersetshire, which I had an opportunity of seeing in 1870, when staying with friends in the neighbourhood. From the time that the troops came to East-Bourne and onwards till about 1858 there were always a certain number of Royal Artillerya quartered at East-Bourne, and as they were changed at not very long intervals a considerable number of men, in all, must have passed through the town. On Christmas Days my grand≠mother always asked the young bachelor Officers to dinner. During the stress of the Crimean War the regular forces were strengthened, or replaced, by the Sussex Artillery
(a) Of the Officers whose names I remember Major Clifford, Capt. Boothby and Lieuts. Tatton Brown, Phelips and Wortham went out to the Crimea. Amongst the other Officers were Capts. Leslie and O'Connell, Lieuts. Bolton, Peirce and Young. O'Connell was a nephew of the great Irish " Liberator."
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