13th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment
(3rd South Downs)

13th Bn Royal Sussex at Cooden Camp early 1915 (©Paul Reed)

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

This battalion was formed on 20th 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. Despite the early success in recruiting men for the original South Downs battalions, the 13th was not up to strength until mid-1915.

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. Following heavy losses in the German Offensive of March/April 1918 the battalion was reduced to a training cadre on 23rd May 1918. The remaining personnel were used to train soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force. On 17th June 1918 the battalion was posted to 118th Brigade, 39th Division, but it was still under strength and was not sent to the front line. The 13th were finally disbanded on 14th August 1918, with all ranks posted to the 1/4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, then in Flanders with the 34th Division.

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


Officers March 1916


Commanding Officer: Lieutenant-Colonel R.J.Spurrell

Major: C.K.Peache

Adjutant: Lieutenant R.D'A. Whittaker

Quarter-Master: Hon Lieut-QM E.Ellis

Captains:    S.Huges                                      Lieutenants:     F.C.Keliher

                    C.M.Humble-Crofts                                             H.J.Coxhead

                    C.W.Mayo                                                           A.C.Taylor

                    W.T.Heagerty                                                      W.W.Fitzherbert

                    F.S.Gillespie                                                         J.P.M.Valon

                    M.J.M.Makalua                                                     J.Bradford

Second Lieutenants:

V.C. de Grelle
N. de P. MacRoberts




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