The Royal Sussex Regiment battlefield tour and Memorial

The Royal Sussex Regiment Battlefield Tour and Great War Memorial – September 2014

The Royal Sussex Regiment was formed in 1881 (raised from the 35th Regiment of foot and 107th Regiment of foot) and remained as an infantry regiment of the British army until 1966 when it was amalgamated into the Queens Regiment and in turn became part of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment in 1992.

In 2012 the Royal Sussex Regimental Association launched an appeal to raise £60,000 to erect a monument in Priez France. This would commemorate the 7302 officers and men who died during the Great War and they planned to mark this event on the centenary of when the Regiment suffered its first casualties, 10th of September 1914.

I therefore was extremely honoured to have been commissioned by The Royal Sussex Regimental Association, to document this event (in both Video and Photography); and follow veterans of the Regiment and members of the Association on their journey of remembrance into France and Belgium and the unveiling of the monument in Priez. 

Assisted by Keith Malda (Videographer) we travelled a few days in advance of the main party to Château-Thierry to setup a base of operations and recce the itinerary locations before the arrival of the veterans and members on the 10th.

While we were there to work (setting up equipment, establishing viewpoints and confirming timings) we very quickly became overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Priez community. For we had only been on location for less than an hour, when before we knew it we were invited to a splendid home cooked lunch (and wine of course) with the Mayor or Priez, his wife, other Priez officials, as well as some members of the Association. It took a fair bit of will power to get back to work after lunch I can tell you!!

The morning of the 10th of September 2014 started early with a wreath laying at the Montreuil-aux-Lyons British Cemetery, where a number of the 2nd Battalion are buried. This was especially significant as descendant family members of L/9596 Drummer George Benjamin Whittington and L/2946 Regimental Sergeant-Major William Cleare (both were Killed at Priez 10th September 1914, therefore 100 years to the day of the visit) were also in attendance for a very personal remembrance.

After the wreath laying and a period of remembrance, the main party moved onto a viewpoint over Priez where the President of the Regimental Association, Colonel Roderick Arnold, addressed the group, pointing out the landscape and features of what the 2nd Battalion faced on that day in 1914, as well as a description of the action that took place. Following this short history lesson, a contingent of the Regimental Association formed up on the road; ready to march into Priez, marking the beginning of the monument unveiling and dedication service.

This was probably the toughest part of the day, as there was a lot of running around and making sure that we were at the right place at the right time for both the video recording and photography. This is where having the mind-set and skills of a photojournalistic wedding photographer came in handy; being ready and adaptable to the situation and anticipating those key moments – improvise, adapt and overcome! After the service we barely had time to collect equipment, before catching up with the main party at the Priez cemetery, where further wreath laying at both the commonwealth burials, as well as the local Communal burials by the Association and the Mayor of Priez took place.

Considering how much was packed in so far, it was only just after midday, so for us it was a quick drive up to Neuilly-St-Front for the reception luncheon and just enough time prepare equipment to record an address from both the Regimental Association and the Mayor of Priez; giving thanks and presentation to all those involved in the planning and execution of the trip, especially for our excellent French hosts! The highlight for me though was when many of the Regimental Members stood and sang “Sussex By the Sea” in true rousing spirit…

The day was still not over though!

After lunch the Regimental Association members travelled onto the Asine battlefield and the Vendresse British Cemetery, where we continued to document the day and spent some time conducting  interviews for the video. When the day was over; and as much as we wanted to collapse from exhaustion, we made a further drive onto Laon where we just had enough time to back-up all the footage and photographs, charge batteries and prepare for the final day (and drive) towards Ypres, Belgium.

The following day, after stopping off at a number of battlefield sites around Polygone Wood we finally made our way to the Menin Gate in Ypres for a final wreath laying and remembrance for the Association members.

 

Spending time with veteran members of the Royal Sussex Regiment and Regimental Association, has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences I’ve had; listening and recording the personal stories and what the trip meant to them, observing the camaraderie of the regimental family and being given the opportunity and privilege of archiving a piece of history for generations to come. Enjoy!

“Honi soit qui mal y pense”

“Nothing succeeds like Sussex”

 


Montreuil-aux-Lyons British Cemetery

Montreuil-aux-Lions British Cemetery France | Royal Sussex Regimental Association

Montreuil-aux-Lions British Cemetery France | Royal Sussex Regimental Association

Montreuil-aux-Lions British Cemetery France | Royal Sussex Regiment

Montreuil-aux-Lions British Cemetery France | Royal Sussex Regimental Association

Montreuil-aux-Lions British Cemetery France | Royal Sussex Regiment


Priez Monument unveiling and dedication ceremony

British Cemetery France | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's visit 2014

Priez Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Priez Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regiment veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Priez Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regiment veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary 2014

Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary | Priez Memorial service

Priez Monument and Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary | Priez Memorial service

Priez Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regiment veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Priez Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Priez Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Priez Monument and Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Priez Monument and Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regiment Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Priez Monument and Memorial service | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014


Priez Cemetery

Priez Cemetery Memorial service | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit

Priez Cemetery Memorial service | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regiment veteran's First World War Centenary visit

Priez Cemetery Memorial service | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regiment veteran's First World War Centenary visit

Priez Cemetery Memorial service | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regiment veteran's First World War Centenary visit


The Royal Sussex Regimental Association Reception and Luncheon Neuilly-St-Front

Royal Sussex Regimental Association Reception and Luncheon at Neuilly-St-Front |veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary

Royal Sussex Regimental Association Reception and Luncheon at Neuilly-St-Front |veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary


Vendresse British Cemetery

Vendresse British Cemetery | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Vendresse British Cemetery | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regiment veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Vendresse British Cemetery | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014

Vendresse British Cemetery | Commonwealth War Graves | Royal Sussex Regimental Association veteran's First World War Centenary visit 2014


Menin Gate, Ypres Belgium

Menin Gate Memorial Ypres Blegium | Royal Sussex Regimental Association |veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary

Menin Gate Memorial Ypres Blegium | Royal Sussex Regimental Association |veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary

Menin Gate Memorial Ypres Blegium | Royal Sussex Regiment Association |veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary

Menin Gate Memorial Ypres Blegium | Royal Sussex Regimental Association |veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary

Menin Gate Memorial Ypres Blegium | Royal Sussex Regiment Association |veteran's First World War 100 years Anniversary


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St John’s Gate and the Hawksmoor Guildhall London Wedding

St John’s Gate Wedding and Hawksmoor Guildhall London

A lovely central London wedding at The Museum of the order of St John’s Gate followed by a great wedding reception at the Hawksmoor Guildhall !

We started off at a nearby hotel for the bridal preparation, then a short taxi ride over to the venue; which is also the museum of St John’s Ambulance. After the ceremony and some fun group photographs, it was another quick drive to the Hawksmoor Guildhall, not before stopping off at Love Lane EC2 for some couple portraits!

Arriving in good time at the Hawksmoor; we took advantage of the clear weather and the stunning open space in front of the Guildhall for some more bride and broom portraits, before moving onto the reception and a night of celebration!

Enjoy!


Bridal Dress and Details | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridal Details | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Brides Garter | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridal Shoes | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridal Shoes | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridal celebration | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridal Hair and Make up | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridal Make up | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridesmaid flowers | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bridesmaid flowers | St John's Gate Wedding | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Ceremony | St John's Gate | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Ceremony | St John's Gate | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Ceremony | St John's Gate | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Love Lane London | Wedding Couple Portraits | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Love Lane London | Wedding Couple Portraits | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Bride and Groom Portraits | Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Portraits | Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Couple Portraits | Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Couple Portraits | Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Reception | Hawksmoor Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Reception | Hawksmoor Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding Cake | Hawksmoor Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding First Dance | Hawksmoor Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding First Dance | Hawksmoor Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

Wedding First Dance | Hawksmoor Guildhall London | Graham Baker Photography | London Wedding Photographer

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What my Wedding Clients say!

"We just can’t recommend Graham Baker photography enough. Graham is so down-to-earth, easy-going and friendly yet incredibly professional and passionate about his work. From meeting Graham for the first time we knew we were going to be in good hands and he completely understood the approach we wanted for our small, intimate wedding. The “test shoot” was incredibly fun and Graham made us feel extremely relaxed in front of the camera. On the big day Graham couldn’t do enough for us, staying long after he needed to to ensure we got the photo’s we wanted and it felt like he was one of the guests. Most importantly Graham has an incredible eye for shots and the photographs are simply amazing, we are absolutely delighted! Thank you so much Graham and we wish you all the best for the future" - Jon & Lisa Pryke (London Chelsea)

 


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