12th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment
(2nd South Downs)

12th Bn Royal Sussex Regiment 1915 (©Paul Reed)

Researching a man from this battalion? See my WW1 Research page.

This battalion was formed on 3rd November 1914 by Lieutenant Colonel Claude Lowther MP and Committee. The main recruiting office was at Bexhill-on-Sea, but men came from all over Sussex to join, however in this battalion a large number were from Eastbourne . The battalion was fully recruited by the end of the month, and a Third South Downs battalion was then formed.

All original enlistments were given an "SD" ( South Downs ) prefix to their regimental number.

Training took place at Cooden Camp, near Bexhill, from November 1914 until July 1915. At this stage the War Office took over direct control of the battalion and it moved to Detling Camp, near Maidstone in Kent . On 29th September 1915 the battalion moved to North Camp, Aldershot . In October it became part of 116th Brigade, 39th Division. This division had been formed at Winchester in August 1915, but concentrated at Witley via Aldershot in October/November 1915. From this date until March 1916, the battalion stayed at Witley Camp.

It crossed to France via Southampton on 5th/6th March 1916, landing at Havre.

It served on the Western Front with 116th Brigade, 39th Division until the Spring of 1918. CSM Nelson Victor Carter of the battalion was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery at Richebourg on 30th June 1916.

The 12th Battalion was disbanded on 8th February 1918, and personnel went largely to the 11th and 13th Battalions, although some went to the 8th (Pioneer) Battalion as well.

Battles and Engagements



30 June                                     Boar’s Head, Richebourg [D Company only]


Battles of the Somme

3 September                             Fighting on the Ancre [Hamel]

26-28 September                     Battle of the Thiepval Ridge

5 October – 11 November       Battle of the Ancre Heights

14 October                                 Capture of the Schwaben Redoubt

21 October                                 Capture of Stuff Trench

13 & 14 November                     Battle of the Ancre



Battles of Ypres (3rd Ypres)

31 July – 2 August                     Battle of the Pilckem Ridge   

16-18 August                             Battle of Langemarck

20-25 September                     Battle of the Menin Road Ridge

29 October – 10 November     Second Battle of Passchendaele



First Battles of the Somme

22-23 March             Battle of St Quentin

24-25 March             Actions on the Somme crossings

24-25 March             Battle of Bapaume

26-27 March             Battle of Rozieres

Battles of the Lys

16 April                     Fighting on the Wytschaete Ridge

17-19 April               First Battle of Kemmel Ridge

25-26 April               Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge

29 April                     Battle of the Scherpenberg



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