SMHS meeting: Newhaven Fort and Newhaven Garrison during the Great War

17 Dec 2014

Our December speaker was SMHS Member Keith Brain, author and volunteer at Newhaven Fort. Keith's talk was based on the research for his new book - Newhaven Fort and Garrison: Newhaven Fort and Newhaven Garrison during the Great War 1914-1918.

Keith's talk covered Newhaven's need for a garrison, the garrison defence troops, 1913 accommodation plans, the outbreak of war, Newhaven's Special Military Area, soldier fatalities, recreational activities and the end of the war.

Due to its position Newhaven was an important port. It supplied the British Expeditionary Force. Vast amounts of ammunition were stored there. The Newhaven Garrison was tasked with protecting the port and fort from hostile attack, either by sea or by land. The likely method of such attack could be a bombardment from an enemy submarine at sea or perhaps a small landing party. The garrison area ran along the coast from Friar's Bay to Blatchington Coastguard Station, stretching inland to Newhaven Town Station.

Newhaven was never attacked, although there was one incident when it was thought the periscope of an enemy submarine was spotted. Permission from the Garrison Commander was needed before the guns were fired in anger but alas he couldn't be located so the periscope” went unchallenged by the garrison. Two Navy destroyers did give chase and dropped depth charges, but nothing was ever found.

The depth of knowledge and devotion to his research are to Keith's credit, his book (proof-read by our own Ed Tyhurst) would be a great investment for any keen local military historian.

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7.30pm for 8.00pm start
Function Room of the
Royal Oak Public House,
Station Street, Lewes,
East Sussex.

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