Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. VI.] The Volunteer Movement.                       75
him to succeed in forming the 3rd Sussex Artillery Volunteers with their Head-Quarters at Hailsham ; and he was also able, owing to his influence with the farmers of the neighbourhood, to obtain the promise of assistance in the way of horses for horsing the guns of his Corps. This last-named matter was an entirely new departure in the Volunteer Movement, and the experiment was viewed with considerable interest by the War Office. At a later date an Artillery Battery was formed at East-Bourne in connection with Captain Darby's Corps, and at his death in 1877 the Head-Quarters were moved from Hailsham to East-Bourne and became the 2nd Sussex Artillery under Colonel Cardwell, a nephew of the former head of the War Office who made the well-known great changes in the British military system.
Just as Mr. Darby thought that the seaboard of Sussex needed an Artillery Volunteer Force, so I, for the same reason, thought it needed an Engineer Force; and I convened, in 1888, some meetings for the purpose of forming one. The artizans of East-Bourne responded promptly and nobly, and as the result of a lecture I gave at St. Mary's Hall, Old Town, on April 17, 1889, I soon collected 160 candidates to fill up the first company of 100 men in the 1st Sussex Engineers. However, the movement hung fire for many months owing to the difficulty of getting Officers. The War Office very strongly pressed me to accept the command, but I thought that owing to my age (47) and for other reasons, I was not good enough for the post. Yet, had I foreseen certain subsequent events and difficulties, I should certainly have consented to serve as Captain Com­mandant. At last a very capable 1st lieutenant offered his services in the person of Mr. A. A. Oakclen, now Lieut.-Colonel commanding the Sussex Engineers under Mr. Haldane's scheme, and right well has he stuck to his work during the 20 and more years that have elapsed. The regiment grew from 1 company to 2 ; from 2 companies to 4 ; and then from 4 companies to 12, and during the South African War mustered over 1100 members on an establishment of about 30 officers and
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