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Recruits to the Royal Sussex Regiment parade on the County Ground outfield in 1914

Sussex's Lost Heroes

Throwback Thursday


This Sunday, Sussex will honour the ten players and one member of staff who were killed in action on the battlefields of Europe.

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled at lunch time on the first day of the LV=County Championship match against Northamptonshire in time to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in August.

Sussex historian Roger Packham spent many hours trawling through minute details in books and newspaper archives to find out more about the players who made the ultimate sacrifice.

They include Lewes-born bowler Ken Woodroffe, who took 6 for 43 just before the War before being being killed in action at Neuve Chapelle in 1915. Ken's brother, Sidney was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in Belgium in the same year.

Also being remembered is Ernest Relf, one of three brothers who played for Sussex. His brother Albert went on to play 500 games for Sussex and 13 Tests and was one of the best all-rounders in Sussex's history.

Wicketkeeper Arthur Lang was killed in action in France in 1915. There is surviving film footage of wicketkeeper Arthur Lang playing for the county at the Horsham cricket weekend in 1913 showing him coming down the pavilion steps.

Jack Nason was killed in action in Belgium. As a 17-year-old he scored a half-century for Sussex.

In all, eight Sussex players and secretary Francis Oddie were killed during the Great War, and two players lost their lives during the Second World War.

Roger Packham said: "There were nine who were killed in the First World War but there were others who were badly injured or had hair-raising experiences who won't be on the memorial but who will be in the book."

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