7th Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment
Balcombe W.T.

Royal Sussex Regiment Crest
7th Battalion

William Thomas ‘Badger’ Balcombe

I left Rouen Infantry base camp on a draft with about 40-50 Royal Sussex men and about the same number of West Kent, East Surry, Queens and Welch Fusiliers to make our Battalion up to strength. The rumour was we were off to Belgium.

We marched to a little station about seven miles away, the weather was very hot. We travelled in trucks, not carriages, and travelled very slowly and made many stops. After a while we de-trained in the sidings of a small ‘halt’ station and marched to goodness knows where.

The next thing was this air activity quite some way away. The next day we met what turned out to be the 7th who told us what had happened. The 7th was nearly wiped out and we were told to join them, it had happened at Amiens station. That’s where I first met Dickie Lord with his Red Cross Pack.

Jane Thomas, Bill Eason and Lt. Cpl Summerville, I think his name was. I’ve never worked out how two of the chaps that were with us, Pete Denyer and Paddy Boyle was taken prisoner. Of course we didn’t know a thing what was happening. At one time an officer from some other Regiment that they say were forming another lot called ‘Robinson’s Own’ (gave us orders). No-one knew anything of what was happening, it was just following the crowd.

I just followed others for where and how we got back.

On return to England I joined the 109 Light Ack Ack.

Worthing Herald - 31st May 2007