Discover the secrets of Rustington’s home front efforts

Troops in the front lines overseas during the war    PHOTO: Imperial War Museums
Troops in the front lines overseas during the war PHOTO: Imperial War Museums

UNEARTHING the history of Rustington’s involvement in the First World War is the topic of a special talk at the village’s library.

Martin Hayes, county local studies librarian, has been investigating the home front activities in Rustington and the surrounding area as part of his talk ‘Great War West Sussex 1914-18: The Home Front, Civilians at War’.

The latest event will be taking place on April 23, from 7pm at Rustington Library, in Claigmar Road. Tickets cost £3 each.

Martin said: “I’ll be remembering the contribution local people made to the war effort - for example, did you know that Rustington Women’s Corps, established by December 1914, was apparently the first female civil defence group – a kind of Dad’s Army – in Britain?

“Littlehampton also formed a civil defence unit, which used armoured motorbikes to patrol local roads to counter any invasion threats.

“East Preston Workhouse, in The Street, was used as a convalescent home for sick and wounded servicemen throughout the war.

“And in 1918 an American air base was built on 159 acres to the north and south of Station Road, Rustington, to train US Handley Page bomber pilots. This is now the site of the Sea Estate. US personnel from the base often played baseball on Littlehampton Common and entertained at local concerts.”

The talk is one of many being organised by the county council to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

For more details and tickets, call 01903 785857.