100 years ago - the ‘Invasion of Horsham’


Although the caption for the photograph describes the troops arriving on 10 September, they in fact left on 11 September. The event was fully recorded in The County Times who called it the “Invasion of Horsham.” In total about 6,300 troops of the 1st London division arrived at Horsham on Wednesday 10th with the 1st entering the town at 3.45pm from Bramley, Goldalming and district, with the final troops arriving at 9.30pm. The ‘advanced guard’ left Horsham soon after 8am and most of the artillery before 9.30, (though most of the convoy was delayed) the following day marching to Haywards Heath where they were inspected by The King. Although billeting had been arranged for 7,500 men and the numbers that did arrive were well short of that, some of the billets were oversubscribed and others hardly used or empty. Some of the places used are listed below:

The paper also recorded that on Wednesday morning magistrates met and agreed to close all public-houses and clubs at nine o’clock as they were told soldiers retired at 9.30pm. Entertainments were laid on at the Y.M.C.A. rooms, Mr. Lynes’s in West Street and music was performed on the Bandstand in the Carfax.



As almost a footnote to the billeting of troops, not all was sweetness and light, as Jane Bowen found when she read the Minutes of a report on East Parade School, for February 1915 the school was described after the troops left as “disgustingly dirty and untidy condition ... littered with broken food tins, etc. Many of the W.C.s were left in a foul state.”

- Springfield Park Heavy artillery Water laid on from hydrants in the park

- Horsham Park Field artillery Water laid on from hydrants in the park

- Old Brewery, Worthing Road, 1,500 men. The premises was about to be turned into a motor and cycle stores for Messrs Rice Bros. Mr. Renwick Town surveyor had connected up a water supply here

- Urban District Council yard, 500 men

- The Olympia skating rink, 500 men

- Horsham Grammar School (Collyer’s), 400 men

- Tanyard Barn and buildings, 350 men

- Wesley Hall. A large number of visitors entertained with refreshments and music

- Drill Hall, Park Street. Troops didn’t arrive here till 8.30