THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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THE VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT.
CHAPTER XIII.
A Committee was appointed in 1779 to carry into
execution a plan for raising 24 Volunteer Companies to
be associated for the defence of Sussex, and Captains
were appointed in the different Rapes of this County, but
the movement would seem to have been of a temporary
character. However, in the year 1803 so real and acute
became the fear of an invasion of this country by the
French that the inhabitants of East Grinstead and the
surrounding neighbourhood, comprising the northern
district of the Rape of Pevensey, offered, to form a legion
of 1,220 men, consisting of two troops of cavalry, two
companies of riflemen or skirmishers, and 12 light
infantry companies. The then Lord Sheffield was at
the head of the movement; it was strongly backed up
by the Duke of Richmond, and George III. was
" graciously pleased to approve and accept" it, especially
as the Legion asked nothing from Government but arms
for the infantry and "a jacket and pantaloons for such
of the infantry as cannot afford to supply themselves; or
an allowance of one guinea each to furnish the same."
Thus sprung into being the first local volunteer military
organisation. The first East Grinstead officers were:
The Et. Hon. Charles Abbot, Kidbrook
(Speaker of the House of Commons)    Lieut.-Colonel.
Edward Cranston, East Court ........    Major.
Magens Dorrien Magens, Hammerwood    Capt.-Lieutenant.
Alexander Geo. Mackie, East Grinstead    1st Lieutenant.
John Shuter, East Grinstead..........     2nd ,,
Thomas Palmer, jun., East Grinstead ..       ,, ,,
The following were the first non-commissioned officers:
David Duke......    Paymaster Sergeant (afterwards 2nd Lieut.).
John Stenning ....     Sergeant.
John Palmer...... ,, (afterwards Qr.-Master-Sergt.).
William Moon ....    Drill Sergeant.
James Lynn......    Corporal.
John Trice ...... ,, (afterwards Sergeant).
William Pobgee .. ,, Henry Bysh......
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