Latest SMHS News

Reports on our meetings and other activities.

SMHS meeting: Show and Tell

21 Dec 2016

Show and tell meetings are an opportunity for our members to bring in items of interest from their own collections and tell the group something about the item. We didn't realise that our December show and tell meeting would turn into a three course meal! More...

Mid Sussex RED launch event

11 Nov 2016

Friday 11th November 2016 saw the launch event of Mid Sussex RED at the King Edward Hall, Lindfield. SMHS was delighted to support this new community group at its inaugural event and particularly proud that many of the organisers are also SMHS members. More...

SMHS meeting: Hellfire Corner

19 Oct 2016

Our October speaker was SMHS member Ed Tyhurst. Ed works at Newhaven Fort and has previously addressed us on the Dieppe Raid, his subject this time was Hellfire Corner. More...

SMHS meeting: "1066 and all that"

21 Sep 2016

This October 14th marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and in September, SMHS member Richard Shenton gave his talk to our group entitled "1066 and all that." More...

SMHS meeting: Operation Pedestal

17 Aug 2016

1941 was a dark time for the Allies. In the Mediterranean, the Royal Navy was called upon to evacuate the Army from Crete, there was little air cover and Navy was sustaining heavy losses. More...

SMHS meeting: Truleigh Hill Radar Station

18 May 2016

In 1934, German aircraft production had been stepped up and there were concerns how hostile planes could be detected or potentially destroyed as they approached the British Isles. More...

SMHS meeting: the Cuxhaven Raid

20 Apr 2016

By Christmas Day 1914, five months into WW1 the opposing armies were entrenched in a bloody stalemate along the Western Front, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss Frontier. Early in December Pope Benedict XV petitioned the governments for an official Christmas truce - "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang" - his plea fell upon deaf ears. More...

SMHS meeting: Tim's War

16 Mar 2016

"We took three German lines, but retired in the afternoon, or rather the few of us who were left did" recorded Rifleman Tim Elliott. More...

SMHS meeting: Bob Peedle's experiences

17 Feb 2016

Our February speaker was SMHS Honorary Member Bob Peedle who overcame a "lost voice" to share with us details of his lifetime of service with the Police, the Territorial Army and the Royal Society of St George. More...

SMHS meeting - Operation Longcloth

20 Jan 2016

Our first speaker of 2016 was Dylan D'Arch (SMHS) whose talk entitled The Chindits: Operation Longcloth 1942-1943 enlightened fellow members on a WW2 Campaign with which many were less familiar. More...

SMHS meeting: the Dieppe Raid

21 Oct 2015

On 19th August 1942, over 6000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel tasked with capturing and holding the German occupied port of Dieppe for 12 hours. Operation Jubilee is still considered by many to be one of the bloodiest tragedies of WW2. More...

SMHS Meeting: Childhood memories of wartime London

19 Aug 2015

In August, Ray Broomfield joined us to share his memories of the 1940s in North London. Born in 1935, he lived in a house on the perimeter of Hendon aerodrome, attending the nearby Oliver Goldsmith School. More...

SMHS meeting: Member's Evening

15 Jul 2015

Our July meeting is known as Members' Night which creates an opportunity for members to bring along an item of special interest to show and tell to the group. The evening is so popular that this year we had to introduce a time limit - with only our Chairman running over! More...

Armed Forces Day

27 Jun 2015

Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to show support for and raise awareness of our Armed Forces - veterans, reservists and cadets. On 27th June SMHS participated in Seahaven Armed Forces Day at the Martello Fields, Seaford. More...

He won the Derby - without a horse!

18 Jun 2015

The story of SMHS member Geoff Bridger's father-in-law was the subject of a recent Daily Telegraph article. Harry 'Happy' Wimblett is the only man to have won the Epsom Derby without using a horse! More...

SMHS Meeting: Battle over Chichester

17 Jun 2015

SMHS honorary member Andy Saunders joined us in June for his first talk to the Society since being appointed Editor of the popular Britain at War magazine, his talk entitled Battle over Chichester and described the German bombers downed in West Sussex during the Battle of Britain. More...

SMHS Study Day 2015

23 May 2015

Our 5th Annual Study Day entitled Courageous in Conflict was held at Newhaven Fort on 23rd May 2015. All the speakers were raised from our own ranks and gave their time free of charge to maximise the profits for this year's chosen charity, Combat Stress. More...

SMHS meeting: Churchill's Secret Army

20 May 2015

Winston Churchill had been a journalist during the Boer War - taken prisoner he escaped, returning to England with an admiration for subversive movements which was to resurface after the evacuation from Dunkirk, when the German invasion of Great Britain was imminent. More...

SMHS Meeting: Operation Colour Scheme

15 Apr 2015

The National Fire Service (NFS) was formed in August 1941 uniting over 1600 local authority forces; these included the Auxiliary Fire Service, private services from factories and estates, and aimed to standardise equipment and training. More...

SMHS Meeting: Canadians in Bexhill in WW1

18 Mar 2015

Our March speaker was Dr Luke Flanagan, who spoke about the Canadians in Bexhill during the First World War. Luke was keen to explore the impact of the influx of Canadians to the town and equally the influence war had on the development of Canada as a young nation. More...

SMHS walk: Storrington

22 Feb 2015

February 22nd was a cold day with strong winds and driving rain forecast however, it wasn't enough to discourage 17 valiant SMHS members setting out from Storrington onto the Downs in search of WW2 features. We had two treasures in mind; an unusual iron clad pillbox along with its collapsed partner and a Churchill tank! More...

SMHS Meeting: Myth of the Battleship

18 Feb 2015

Our February speaker was SMHS Member Dave Dimer, who planned to explode the Myth of the Battleship”. Dave gave us a brief history of the battleship, discussed their effectiveness and whether they were a baroque arsenal”, a weapon too costly to use as it was too costly to lose. More...

SMHS Meeting: Spitfire Ladies

21 Jan 2015

In 1939, as Europe teetered on the brink of war, England's supply of aircraft was woefully short, as was her supply of pilots. Production of aircraft was stepped up but delivery of aircraft from factory to frontline would take valuable combat pilots out of service. Some unexpected trailblazers rose to the challenge; a pioneering group of society ladies were to prove man enough for the job. Richard Atkins joined us in January to introduce us to these remarkable Spitfire Ladies”. More...

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. More...

SMHS meeting: Plane Deception

19 Nov 2014

Our speaker for November was SMHS Member Adrian Hills. His talk, Plane Deception: Fooling the German Bombers was met with keen anticipation as it had been scheduled for last year's programme but was adjourned as Adrian suffered an accident whilst out cycling. SMHS is delighted to have Adrian back on form. More...

SMHS meeting: Taming the Beast

22 Oct 2014

In October we were joined by Paul Watkins for his talk entitled Taming the Beast: Godfrey Place VC and Operation Source. Paul's talk stems from research for his book Midget Submarine Commander: The Life of Godfrey Place VC. More...

SMHS meeting: Operation Kronstadt

17 Sep 2014

In the summer of 1919, with WW1 recently concluded and Russia in the throes of revolution, a British spy, Paul Dukes had infiltrated the Bolshevik Government and obtained copies of vital documents. MI6 urgently needed to evacuate Dukes and the documents from Petrograd, but numerous attempts had failed resulting in the torture and execution of those involved. More...

SMHS meeting: Members' evening

16 Jul 2014

July's meeting has traditionally been Members' Night, perhaps a misleading title as non-Members are equally welcome! This is the evening where the floor is thrown open to the attendees, who turn up with an array of oddly-shaped items squeezed into ancient bags and memory sticks bulging with photos, plans, records and other treasured discoveries they are keen to share with the group. More...

SMHS at Seaford's Armed Forces Day

28 Jun 2014

On June 28th, SMHS took its place at Seaford's Martello Fields to honour and celebrate the Armed Forces community at Seahaven's Veterans and Armed Forces Day. The event, organised jointly by Seaford Town Council and the Seahaven Branch of the Royal Society of St George, like hundreds of others around the UK seeks to raise public awareness of and show support for; veterans, serving troops & their families, reservists and cadets. More...

SMHS meeting: The Women's Land Army - A Sussex Connection

11 Jun 2014

In June Ian Everest joined us for his talk, The Women's Land Army - A Sussex Connection. Ian, a previous manager at Newhaven Fort and Town Clerk is now a local historian and his talk was inspired by his Mother's experiences as a Land Girl in WW2. More...

SMHS Study Day 2014

24 May 2014

The Great War was a pivotal event in world history. More than 16 million lives were lost; more still underwent life-changing experiences. This war left indelible marks on every person, family and nation where its events played out. In 2014 SMHS dedicated its Study Day to the commemoration of the centenary of the start of the Great War. More...

SMHS meeting: My wartime childhood memories

21 May 2014

At long last in May, long time SMHS member, Phil Wooller, shared with us his boyhood memories of WW2. Phil was 10 years old at the outbreak of war and living on his father's farm near Arlington in East Sussex. More...

SMHS meeting: AGM & the Battle of Lewes

16 Apr 2014

After the Society's AGM, which found us to be in excellent shape, not only financially but also with the highest membership yet, 37 attendees settled down for a talk on the Battle of Lewes by SMHS member Richard Shenton. More...

SMHS Meeting: A port of Classis Britannica and military exploitation of iron in the Hastings area

19 Mar 2014

In March SMHS welcomed Lynn Cornwall of Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group for her presentation A port of Classis Britannica and military exploitation of iron in the Hastings area.” More...

SMHS Meeting -The Bruneval Raid

19 Feb 2014

In February SMHS member, Simon Bellamy, returned for his third talk to our group on WW2 cross Channel Operations, this time focussing on ‘Bruneval 1942 - Birth of the Red Devils'. More...

SMHS Meeting: A Prelude to Royal Navy flying in WW1 1895-1914

15 Jan 2014

In January we welcomed back Richard Searles for his talk More...

SMHS meeting: Project feedback

18 Dec 2013

SMHS is committed to the preservation of military history and our December meeting saw presentations from two of our members of research in the Sussex area. More...

SMHS meeting - the North Africa Campaign

13 Nov 2013

Members were captivated by an enthralling and thought-provoking talk by North Africa veteran Freddie Hunn at the November meeting. Belying his ninety-four years, Freddie gave us a lively account not only of armoured warfare but also of daily life in the desert. More...

SMHS Meeting: Stuka Attack!

16 Oct 2013

In October, Honorary SMHS member Andy Saunders, joined us to speak about what he considers to be one of the iconic weapons of WW2, the Stuka. We were to benefit from the research behind his new book - Stuka Attack! More...

SMHS Meeting: Samuel Colt and his influence on British Manufacturing

18 Sep 2013

Our September speaker, Stephen Thomas, certainly attracted a good gathering, nearly filling the function room at the Royal Oak with 35 people attending. His subject matter ‘Samuel Colt and his influence on British Manufacturing' no doubt prompting their interest. More...

SMHS Meeting - Orders, Decorations and Medals

21 Aug 2013

Our August Speaker was Roy Butler, Senior Partner of Wallis and Wallis specialist auctioneers of Lewes, who joined us to speak on the subject of Orders, Medals and Decorations. Roy has featured on the popular BBC Antiques Roadshow and told us that the more usual recipients of his talks are passengers on cruise ships! Roy's extremely informative talk took us through the various Orders, Medals, bars, clasps and ribbons. More...

SMHS Meeting - Members' Evening

17 Jul 2013

Our July meeting was Members' Night and we were delighted to welcome two new members, Gary and Jill, who had previously attended our Study Day 2012 at Newhaven Fort and become reacquainted with us at Seahaven Armed Forces Day in June this year. More...

SMHS at Seahaven Armed Forces Day

29 Jun 2013

A warm, sunny 29th June 2013 saw SMHS stand shoulder to shoulder (well, gazebo to gazebo actually) with other community organisations at the Martello Fields, Seaford for Seahaven Armed Forces Day. More...

SMHS Meeting - The Battlefield Beneath Your Feet

19 Jun 2013

Our speaker for June was SMHS member, Peter Hibbs. His talk for the evening was ‘The Battlefield Beneath Your Feet'. It detailed the stages of the war in East Sussex covering The Phoney War, The Invasion Scare, Overlord/Diver and Stand Down/Clear Up. More...

SMHS Study Day - Generations of Warfare

26 May 2013

In his commentary on the 2012 Remembrance Day London Parade, David Dimbleby observed that although the veterans marching before him were both young and old, had fought in different conflicts in different decades, wounded or well, this diverse group had one thing in common; they had all, when required, taken to war for our country, they marched as ‘Brothers in Arms'. More...

SMHS Meeting - Ford Aerodrome

15 May 2013

In May, our talk was a Battlefield Study on Ford Airfield by SMHS member Dave Dimer. Dave explained that the oceans and skies are as much a battlefield as the land upon which Armies have fought. More...

SMHS Meeting - The Tower of London

17 Apr 2013

Traitor's Gate, the Ravens, Beefeaters, the Princes in the Tower, the Crown Jewels; the Tower of London drips notoriety and intrigue, it is, in Nigel Jones' opinion, the most iconic building in English history. More...

SMHS walk - the Battle of Lewes

07 Apr 2013

The weekend of the 6th and 7th April was a busy weekend for SMHS. On the Saturday Peter Tyrrell and Stewart Angell were manning the SMHS Stall at the Shoreham Aeromart and on Sunday I was one of an enthusiastic group of walkers who set forth from Lewes Castle for a walk under the leadership of long time SMHS member Richard Shenton, themed on the Battle of Lewes. More...

SMHS Meeting - Shoreham Fort

20 Mar 2013

In March, SMHS was delighted to welcome Gary Baines and his ‘Friends of Shoreham Fort' for a presentation on the Fort's past, present and future. In fact, Gary introduced us to a set of three forts, Littlehampton, Shoreham and Port Nelson, each a prototype for its later neighbour, constructed to counter the threat of attack by the French. More...

SMHS Meeting - Those magnificent Ladies in their flying machines

20 Feb 2013

In February we were joined by our speaker Richard Atkins and his ‘Magnificent Ladies in their Flying Machines', opening with a confession - that he likes the Ladies! He went on to introduce us to quite a few of his favourite girls, all pioneers of flight. More...

SMHS Meeting - Seavacs - Evacuations by Sea in WW2

16 Jan 2013

Our January presentation saw returning speaker Trevor Cox join us on a cold, cold night for his latest talk Seavacs - Evacuations by Sea in WW2” - latest may not be quite the correct terminology, for Trevor had completed the basis of his research some 20 years previously, but only recently transferred his pictures from slides to enable a computer presentation. More...

SMHS Meeting - The St Nazaire Raid

19 Dec 2012

Those who had attended the SMHS 2012 Study Day and heard Simon Bellamy's talk "The Channel Dash - Tactical Defeat, Strategic Victory!" were licking their lips in anticipation of Simon's sequel "The Daring St Nazaire Raid - The Greatest Raid of All." Or perhaps it was Elizabeth and Maggie's festive mince pies that had us licking our lips?! More...

SMHS Meeting - Pleasure Ground to Bomb Testing Range

21 Nov 2012

In November, Martin Snow of Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society joined us to talk about Devil's Dyke - ‘Pleasure Ground to Bomb Testing Range'. More...

SMHS Meeting - Spitfire from the sands

17 Oct 2012

The Reporter has a dog and the reporter's dog has a penchant for socks. When Fido has secured one of a pair of the reporter's warmest, most comfortable walking socks he takes it out to the reporter's garden and buries it in the perennials border, more often then not there is collateral damage and a scolding ensues. Time goes by, weeks, months even and eventually the day comes when Fido goes to retrieve his buried treasure.” More...

SMHS Meeting - Dunkirk evacuation

19 Sep 2012

SMHS Reporter has never gone a month without washing, the reporter has never gone a month with just a few hours sleep - but Major Freddie Hunn MBE has and frankly, the reporter is humbled. More...

SMHS Meeting - Coastal Command

15 Aug 2012

According to Wikipedia, Norman Franks is "an English writer who specialises in aviation books on the pilots and squadrons of World Wars I and II - apparently he has written over 120 books, SMHS Reporter has not authenticated this but has concluded that Mr Franks was more than qualified to address the Society on Coastal Command” the subject of our August talk! More...

WWI Spider Web: anti-Zeppelin patrols off the East coast

20 Jun 2012

SMHS reporter has mixed feelings towards spider-webs. The reporter is endeared to those that adorn bushes and trees on sunny autumn mornings, dew-drenched and sparkling in the sunlight however, is less keen on those that stretch invisibly across the reporter's front path… a trap! The Germans in WW1 also suffered from invisible spider-webs - something SMHS member Dave Dimer, covered in June's talk on the anti U-boat and anti-zeppelin patrols off the East coast and related operations 1917-1918. More...

SMHS Study Day

26 May 2012

Hewn out of the rock on the cliff top at Newhaven, overlooking the harbour and Ouse estuary crouches Newhaven Fort, built in the 1860s - the largest defence work ever constructed in Sussex, an appropriate setting for the second SMHS Study Day. More...

SMHS Meeting - Training Ships on the River Thames

22 May 2012

Our home ‘upstairs' at the Royal Oak, Lewes was bursting at the seams - 27 were aboard for May's meeting, including two new members, to see Trevor Cox's presentation -Training Ships on the River Thames. More...

SMHS records tank remains

22 Apr 2012

April 22nd saw a small party of Sussex Military History Society members visit an isolated part of the Sussex coast to record the location and remnants of a British WW2 tank. More...

SMHS AGM and Meeting - RAF Tactical Warfare

18 Apr 2012

SMHS Members battled through rain and wind to attend April's AGM and meeting - nice weather for ducks! More...

SMHS Meeting - The Cuckmere River

28 Mar 2012

March's speaker Kevin Gordon is, in SMHS reporter's opinion, skilled in the art of deception however, Mr Gordon should not be offended at this assertion. More...

SMHS Meeting - Arms in the Spanish Civil War

08 Feb 2012

Our February meeting saw returning speaker Roger Price tackling the topic of ‘Arms in the Spanish Civil War'. After a resume of the protagonists and historical background to the conflict Roger explained how, despite being party to the Non- Intervention Pact many European countries supplied arms and manpower to the combatants. More...

SMHS Meeting - A Soldier's Story

20 Jan 2012

In January we were joined by Penny Kocher, daughter of John Archibald Hislop who served as an Officer in the Indian Army 1933-1947. Penny has edited her Father's memoir and we were treated to a presentation of photos, audio clips and sketch maps detailing Hislop's postings to the Khyber Pass, the border with Afghanistan and his time in Burma during WW2. More...

SMHS Meeting - Rescue Work at Warningcamp Auxiliary Unit Hideout

02 Jan 2012

Secrets surrounding the Home Guard Aux Units continue to be revealed despite the many years since their stand down in November 1944. More...

SMHS Meeting - Shout at the Devil

05 Dec 2011

We welcomed Kevin Patience who gave a detailed account of the German cruiser Konigsberg, a new class of 3,000 ton cruiser built in 1907 that following the outbreak of WWI led a charmed life. More...

Remembrance Day

17 Nov 2011

SMHS members attended a very special Remembrance Day community event at the Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne to mark the iconic date 11-11-11-11. More...

SMHS Joins the Nosecone Club

16 Nov 2011

When Mike King, long time SMHS member and University of Sussex tutor, suggested we should join the Nosecone Club, he certainly got us all wondering what it was all about! More...

SMHS Meeting - Spitfire in the Sands

19 Oct 2011

Andy Saunders made a welcome return to present his account of how Supermarine Spitfire P9374 was recovered from its 1940 crash site on a Calais beach and subsequently brought back to life, taking to the air again in September 2011. More...

SMHS Meeting - The Tyhurst Album

21 Sep 2011

After all the years Maggie, Terry and Ed have been SMHS members they have never collectively presented to the other members until now! More...

SMHS Meeting - Members Artifacts Evening

17 Aug 2011

This annual event always proves to be a source of intrigue and learning with a variety of artifacts being brought to the table. Items included military radios, a selection of gas masks, helmets, books and photographs. All prompted plenty of discussion along with anecdotal memories from members. More...

SMHS Meeting - MI9 Escape & Evasion

20 Jul 2011

Our speaker, John Burton, started by covered the background of both Hague Conventions of 1899 & 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1929 which set the conditions for prisoners of war. More...

Armed Forces Day, Seaford

25 Jun 2011

Despite the blustery wind along with ever threatening rain clouds Seaford's Armed Forces Day still managed to attract a good gathering. More...

SMHS Meeting - Effects of Modern War TV Reporting

15 Jun 2011

Dave Dimer gave his first presentation to fellow SMHS members about how modern warfare is reported across the world through television. Using a combination of video clips and commentary, members were taken back to the Falklands, Gulf and Iraq conflicts, remembered by many from when the footage was originally screened as events happened. The internet became the final point of discussion, highlighting how quickly information is getting out to the masses without any censorship being applied or specific reporting stance. More...

Operation Sussex - Newhaven Fort

28 May 2011

Over 70 people enjoyed a full programme of speakers along with a guided tour of Newhaven Fort during ‘Operation Sussex', the first study day organized by SMHS. More...

SMHS Meeting - Custer's Last Stand

18 May 2011

Returning speaker Norman Franks took SMHS members through the Battle of Little Bighorn. Whilst there are many accounts of this famous battle from the Great Sioux War of 1876, members were given a detailed overview from all sides. The film industry has, over the years, played a major role in perhaps clouding what really happened in an effort to ensure an everlasting American legacy. More...

Kings Standing Site Visit

12 May 2011

SMHS members enjoyed a return visit to Kings Standing in Crowborough, the former wartime propaganda radio establishment, now a training facility owned by Sussex Police. A warmer and brighter evening compared to last year the group enjoyed a more comprehensive tour of the site which included an access/ventilation tunnel rarely seen. More...

Help for Heroes Sponsored Walk

01 May 2011

Mayday saw over 100 people walk between the Martello towers of Seaford and Eastbourne to raise money towards ‘Help for Heroes' charity. More...

SMHS Meeting - The 1942 Channel Dash

18 Apr 2011

The annual SMHS AGM went very smoothly with all officers re-elected for another year. More...

SMHS Meeting - Forgotten Heroes of Lewes

18 Mar 2011

Following unforeseen circumstances preventing our scheduled speaker from delivering her talk, Geoff Bridger stepped in at the last minute. Geoff took fellow SMHS members on a walk through the memorials dedicated to local war heroes from both world wars around Lewes. Originally created as a guided walk Geoff adapted this into an informative presentation, giving him many opportunities to recount additional stories relating to the First World War. More...

SMHS Meeting - The Maverick Airman

16 Feb 2011

Eastbourne College archivist, Michael Partridge, presented the story of Frederick Frank Reilly ‘Jack' Minchin. Minchin was a distinguished World War One pilot who studied at Eastbourne College and went on to learn how to fly at the Eastbourne Aerodrome. His life was full of adventure and incidents; crashes included! He was killed in 1927 whilst attempting to pilot the first plane across the Atlantic from East to West. More...

SMHS Meeting - Underground/Overground

19 Jan 2011

SMHS member Jim Whittington gave fellow members a great start to the year with a presentation covering all aspects of his findings over the years. Drawing on his extensive collection of photographs and information gained from his travels, Jim took everyone to Sussex sites and beyond. More...

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

Latest SMHS News

SMHS meeting: Show and Tell
21 Dec 2016

Mid Sussex RED launch event
11 Nov 2016

SMHS meeting: Hellfire Corner
19 Oct 2016

SMHS meeting: "1066 and all that"
21 Sep 2016

SMHS meeting: Operation Pedestal
17 Aug 2016

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