Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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78                   Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. VI.
Easter Monday Volunteer Reviews of the original sort are now a thing of the past; they began at Brighton and in early days took a very picnic shape. The first Easter Monday Review held at East-Bourne was on April 11, 1887. There was another review on April 2, 1888 ; then not another till 1890. In 1891, there was one on a limited scale, the troops assembled comprising only a Surrey Regiment and the Sussex Engineers. In
1893,  however, there was a large gathering, and the operations covered a considerable extent of ground. In
1894, there was again only a limited force for the day's work—operations by the Engineers on the Downs through East Dean and as far as Birling Gap. I reckoned that I walked on that day 14 miles, though at no time was I more than about 3 miles away from home. The proceedings ended in an unusual scene. We had provided food for a much larger number of men than actually appeared on parade ; this was because of the known impossibility of making good any shortage, if there had been one, in a village which had practically no shops. At the end of the day, therefore, when, as Quartermaster, I found myself in the possession of a large surplus of eatables, I sold it off to the villagers, who proved eager to buy such dainties as Melton Mowbray pork pies, etc., at so much a dozen. In 1897 we Engineers only, took train to Polegate and marched to Alfriston. My own last Easter Monday military duties were performed in 1902, on the Downs immediately contiguous to Jevington. The autumn of that year saw me gazetted out of the Volunteer Force as too old and decrepit. This rebuff was the outcome of red-tape at the War Office without even the knowledge or consent of my Commanding Officer. Subsequently, in consequence of his remonstrances, the Gazette notice was cancelled, and another one substituted, in language which at least was respectful, and which at the same time conferred on me a step in rank.
The South African War gave rise to certain incidents connected with the 1st Sussex Engineers which are of sufficient interest to deserve record in these pages, the more so as I suppose that nobody but myself
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