West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 8 – Sussex Cinemas

PH 30788/112 - The Olympic Theatre in Chichester occupied what is now a warehouse on Northgate. Defining the first ‘film’ to be shown in West Sussex can be tricky. Nowadays, many of the earliest films put on display would be the equivalent of our modern-day computer gifs – short in length, no sound, and playing…

West Sussex Airfields and the Battle of Britain 1940

By Alan Readman and Martin Hayes The Battle of Britain, fought mainly in the skies above Sussex and Kent, took place between July and October 1940 and this month marks its 80th anniversary. September 15th has been designated Battle of Britain Day to commemorate RAF Fighter Command’s decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe. Key events…

VE Day in West Sussex – Part Two: Records

By Martin Hayes, County Local Studies Librarian, with thanks to Christine Kilby for document transcriptions On this 75th anniversary of VE Day, not only do we wish to celebrate the  day, as best we can during lockdown, but also let us remember and give thanks to all those who served, died and suffered, overseas and…

VE Day in West Sussex 8th May 1945 – Part One: an Overview

By Martin Hayes and Alan Readman As we approach the 75th anniversary of VE Day, not only do we wish to celebrate that day, as best we can during this challenging period, but also we remember and give thanks to all those who served, died and suffered, overseas and at home, in the Second World…

L’Alouette, Bognor, and the run up to D-Day

It's a year of important anniversaries for World War Two, as later in September it will be 80 years since the start of the war, and, of course, the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings is also upon us.  It is only fitting, therefore, that the Record Office will be highlighting our fantastic Second World War records throughout the year.  To help commemorate, let's look at one of our most impressive photographic collections - L'Alouette.  

D-Day: The West Sussex Story

By Alan Readman “Okay, we'll go!” With these words, spoken to his Chiefs of Staff at Southwick House, near Portsmouth, at 4.15 on the morning of 5 June 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, set in motion the greatest armada the world had ever seen. The day following…

Queen Victoria Hospital Archive project: Introducing the project

        As regular readers of this blog will be aware, since 2016 WSRO has been engaged in a major project involving the archive of the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, which became known during the Second World War as the centre for the treatment of the ‘Guinea Pig Club’, the RAF…

Project Book Launch: Military Voices Past and Present

A two year oral history project, Military Voices Past and Present, organised by West Sussex CC Library Service and supported by the Record Office, has seen some 95 audio interviews recorded with West Sussex veterans from World War One, World War Two and Post 1945 conflicts to the 1990s, published in a new book Military…