Brighton as a place was considered to be quite hip at one time in British History. But those days have long gone, it is now full of rancid fish and chips shops, shops selling rock candy and a general air of decay and disarray surrounds the water front and promenade. When I finished photographing the West Pier, I walked up across the road and noticed this war memorial. It was the centre piece of an open rectangle, three sides were of Victorian/Georgian Era houses and the fourth side to the sea was open and centred with this war memorial.
Strange how things line up. We are talking about the Royal Sussex Regiment here which was in turn formed out of the 107th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Light Infantry). This Bengal Light Infantry was originally formed by the East India Company in 1854 and it took park in the Indian Independence/Mutiny of 1857. Following the mutiny, they were moved into the British Army. Here’s the link to me from Bengal, from India, from Indian History, to 2010, me standing in front of this memorial in Brighton. Who knows? who knew? does anybody care? Curiously, it doesnt seem to have done much during that fight even though an Indian Mutiny Medal was struck and presumably given out to the soldiers in large numbers.
A plaque on the left shows where all the regiment was in action. Louisburg and Quebec in Canada were the two areas that one of the ancestors of this regiment fought against the French in 1759. The Battle of Maida was in Italy in 1806 in the Napoleonic Wars where he defeated the French. Incidentally, the London location of Maida Vale is named after this battle. Then the regiment was sent to Egypt in 1992 to crush the Urabi Revolt and also to help the Khedive in becoming grand Egyptian Poo Bah. This was one of the low points in British History. The same regiment also went up the Nile to try to save General Gordon who was mucking around in Khartoum but arrived 2 days too late. This is the Abu Klea Battle between the regiment and the forces of the Mahdi at Abu Klea Sudan. Incidentally, despite winning the battle, this was a loss and lead to the fall of the British Prime Minister Gladstone.
Then in 1900-1902, it took part in the first ruthless war of the last century, the Anglo Boer War. British Armies invented the scorched earth policy and the concentration camps. This was many moons before all this was even a twinkle in the eyes of the Nazi’s in the 1930’s. I was standing there and thinking about the appropriateness of raising a monument to soldiers in an army who did all this. I wonder what the reaction would be if there were war memorials to the Nazi’s raised in Germany? Truly God is with the winners and big battalions. But many died in this war. More soldiers died from disease than from actual battle. But their names are up there. The regiment went forward and gathered further honours in the Great War 1914-1918 by winning several VC’s. It also participated in World War II and then it was amalgamated into the Queen’s Regiment.
Two more images of the monument. After this, I went up a bit to look at the buildings. At some point in history, this must have been the high areas of Brighton where all the hoi-polloi came to town to stay. But now? its run down, the paint is peeling and is generally run down. The garden in the middle is really manky with brown grass. Very sad decrepit decaying square.
See what I mean? the leprous colour of the paint does not help. And then you have these two buildings on the bottom which stick out like sore thumbs. Good lord, where are the city council people who allowed this excrescences to come up? Totally ruin the entire effect, the little that is left to be affected.
Now standing at the top of the garden and looking down at the memorial and then the remains of the burnt out pier in the background. It really looked very sad. Then I turned to walk off towards the hotel.
Looking right down the street.
Looking left up the street. Here are more photographs in higher resolution in a slideshow. Felt vaguely dirty and very sad leaving this area, was very pitiful, how the great and wonderful get reduced.