Chosen by The Royal Sussex Regimental Association (text by Matthew Jones)
In 1873 a common depot was established at Chichester for the 35th and 107th Regiments of Foot, and in 1881 the two Regiments were reconstituted as the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Royal Sussex Regiment.
This album, which forms part of the extensive and remarkable Royal Sussex Regimental Archive, contains portraits of officers taken during this very significant period in the regiment’s history.
The tortoiseshell cover is beautifully inlaid with a silver engraving of the badge of the 107th Foot and four engraved corner supports.
Inside, the pages have been annotated with the names of the officers featured in the photographs and we have added these names to our online catalogue, ‘Search Online’, which you can find at www.westsussexpast.org.uk/SearchOnline (simply type ‘rsr/ph/2/1’ into the Quick Search box).
One of the men is a ‘General Patton’ who was photographed in a studio with his dog “Fleet”. Looking through the album, there is another portrait photograph of the General with a newspaper cutting from 1894, which reads:
‘Major General Robert Patton, formerly of the 107th Foot, died on Good Friday, at Burntisland, Fifeshire, in his seventy-eight year. Entering the Army in January, 1836, he obtained his Captaincy in November, in 1853, and served conspicuously at the time of the Indian Mutiny, commanding the reserve in the Fort of Agra on July 5, 1857, being present at the action of the 10th October, serving as Brigade Major at Futtehpore Sikree in November, and throughout the actions in the Chumbal Ravines under Brigadier Bowen.
‘Upon one occasion, dressed as a native, he carried important orders twenty-one miles in an hour-and-a-half through the enemy’s lines, a feat for which he received the brevet of Major. He was repeatedly thanked in despatches, and received the Indian Mutiny medal. Major General Patton, who became Colonel in July, 1867, and Major General on the Retired List in January, 1871, married Alice, daughter of the Rev. G. Hough, but was left a widower in 1887.’
This is just one example of countless acts of bravery and dedication by the men who served in The Royal Sussex Regiment and its predecessors, from its origins in 1701 as the 35th Regiment of Foot to its amalgamation in The Queen’s Regiment in 1966.
The Regiment saw action in many of Britain’s military confrontations over the last 300 years, from the defence of Gibraltar in 1704/5 to the great conflicts of the 20th century.
And you can find out more about the history of our County Regiment, and the men who served in its ranks, at the Record Office. The Royal Sussex Regiment archive is one of the best collections of its kind in the country and is there to be explored. So if you’d like to find out more, start here