School memorial sheds light on The Day Sussex Died

Chatsmore Catholic High School teacher Caroline Woodward with assistant head Julian Morgan and pupils
Chatsmore Catholic High School teacher Caroline Woodward with assistant head Julian Morgan and pupils

As the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest in history, the first day of July in 1916 has made its mark in the history books.

But a school in Goring is commemorating the previous 24 hours of that First World War milestone and shedding light on ‘The Day Sussex Died’.

I believe this is the only memorial being made specifically to commemorate this event in Sussex and the country

Caroline Woodward

Chatsmore Catholic High School will be unveiling a memorial in Beach House Park on June 30, a century after the event took place, as the culmination of a community-based arts project with other schools and art agencies.

The Day Sussex Died, better known as the Battle of the Boar’s Head, took place in Richebourg, France, and saw 300 soldiers from the Royal Sussex Regiment die as part of a diversionary mission before the more infamous battle began the following day.

Teacher Caroline Woodward has led the project, and has invited the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to attend the opening.

She said it began when pupils applied to visit the battlefields of the First World War in France as part of a legacy programme.

As part of this, pupils had to pass on their experience to at least 110 people in the community – and the idea of a memorial was born.

Caroline said: “As part of Chatsmore’s wider work within the arts, we were able to complete this project by recruiting support form our local and national partners that include Worthing library, Worthing Borough Council, Creative Waves, Artswork and Steps Back In Time.

“We also sort help through sponsorship from businesses, and Caring Lady Funeral directors generously donated a memorial stone engraved with First World War poems, maps and Illustrations designed by students at Chatsmore Catholic High School.

“This fabulous memorial will be displayed alongside the commemorative sculpture that includes illustrations produced in a series of workshops held at Chatsmore for Year 5 students from St Mary’s Catholic Primary school, St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary school, St Catherine’s Catholic Primary school and English Martyrs Catholic Primary school.

“I believe this is the only memorial being made specifically to commemorate this event in Sussex and the country.”

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