New First World War information boards unveiled on Southwick Green

New permanent information boards have been officially unveiled on Southwick Green.

Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 12:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 12:45 pm
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and Southwick Society chairman Mary Candy with one of the information boards at the unveiling ceremony

The two panels describe Southwick’s involvement in the Great War and were provided by the Southwick Society, with funding from Tesco Bags of Help.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton unveiled the information boards on Saturday and said it was important for the town to remember its military past.

“I am delighted to unveil these boards in this centenary year marking the end of Word War One,” he said.

The wartime army encampment on Southwick Green

“It is entirely fitting to have a permanent reminder of Southwick’s part in the Great War.

“Many people may not know of the fascinating large military project which took place here. The location of a former Indian temple in Church Lane shown on one of the panels is also of great interest.”

Southwick Society chairman Mary Candy said the boards gave details of how the Green was used, both as a training ground for the 7th Northamptonshire Regiment in 1914-5 and later as a military camp for Royal Marine Engineers working on the Mystery Towers in Shoreham Harbour.

“At the time, the huge engineering project was very secret and so local people only knew them as the Mystery Towers,” she explained.

Southwick War Memorial was built of reused concrete fragments from the army encampment

“They were in fact a very ambitious project to stop German submarines sailing through the Dover Straits by towing the massive towers out to sea and sinking them onto the sea bed.

“The towers would then be linked with chains and nets. World War One finished before the project was completed and so it was never used. However, one tower was towed to the Isle of Wight, where it still stands as the Nab Tower.”

The large Indian temple mentioned stood in a garden in Southwick. Indian soldiers who were recovering from wounds at the temporary army hospital in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion would visit the temple for prayer.

The Indian temple is the tall building behind the houses