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Boer War and Cuckfield: Enthusiastic send off for local man Frank Bleach

Updated: Oct 18, 2020


Going to the Front;

Private Bleach Entertained.

Private Bleach, of “A” Company 2nd V.B. Royal Sussex Regiment, having been selected for service in South Africa, was entertained to dinner at the Talbot Hotel on Friday evening. The proceedings were quiet, but nevertheless most enjoyable.

The excellent meal provided by Host Coleman having been partaken of, and the loyal toasts honoured, the Chairman, in the course of an interesting speech, said it was a great pleasure for him to join that little gathering to wish God-speed to one who had served under him for a good many years. That Private Bleach would do his duty he felt assured. (Applause).

In times like the present people had various ideas as to what duty might be. Some thought it was not the duty of a married man to offer his services. Well, Private Bleach was not a married man. He (the speaker) took it that a man’s first duty was to his God, and secondly to his country. (Loud applause). He only wished he was going to the front. Nothing would give him greater pleasure. (Applause). After alluding to the fact that Volunteers were thought more of now than they used to be, Major Lister touched upon the war and the great difficulties that we had to contend against. We had had reverses, but no defeats. (Hear, hear, and applause). The country intended to fight to the finish, and with God’s help to conquer, (Applause). Those of the Volunteers who were going to the scene of action had not only their own credit at stake but also that of the whole Volunteer force of the country.

They all hoped that Private Bleach, who represented the Cuckfield detachment, would come out well through any engagement he might go through, and they further hoped that in the course of a few months he would return to them none the worse for his experiences. (Loud applause). Addressing Private Bleach, the Major, in conclusion, said: I wish you God speed, and hope you will do your duty to your Queen and country. (Great enthusiasm, and after Private Bleach’s health had been drunk, the company sang “For he’s a jolly good fellow”).

Colour-Sergeant Hounsell said that Private Bleach was a fit man in every respect to go to the front He was a good soldier, good signaller, a good horseman and a good shot. (Hear hear, and loud applause). The Chairman extended the good wishes of those present to Privates Smith and Gaston, of “K” Company, and hoped that they would return safe and in good health. (Applause, and musical honours).

The Chairman, on behalf of Mr. Howe, then presented Private Bleach with a 1lb. tin of tobacco and a pipe, which, needless to say, was much appreciated.



In connection with the departure of Private Bleach, the representative of the Cuckfield detachment (“A" and "B” Companies), a number of his comrades were present at Haywards Heath Station, including Sergeant-Instructor James, Lance-Sergeants Caffyn and Kent, several civilians also witnessing the leave-taking.

A cheer was given as the train conveyed the Volunteer bound south away. A purse containing over £7 had been previously presented to him, and for this, and to all those who have interested themselves in his departure, Bleach desires to return hearty thanks.



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