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Celebrating the life of Cuckfield Boer War casualty Frank Bleach

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 02 April 1901



The memorial service at Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield, on Sunday afternoon, in memory of Private F. Bleach, of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (who died of enteric fever at Bloemfontein, South Africa, (1) on March 14th, 1901) was attended by huge congregation, and touching and pathetic was the expression of grief which was to be read in every face. There was a special parade of the “A” and “B” Companies, the latter marching in from Haywards Heath, and a detachment of the (Hurstpierpoint) Company also attended. Captain Messel was in command, with Second Lieutenant Sambourne there also being present on parade Sergeant-lnstructor James Sergeant-Instructor Copp, Colour-Sergeant Brookshaw, Sergeants Tugwell, Caffyn, Kent, Hounsell, Oram and Tulley. Ex- Colour Sergeant Hounsell and many other ex-Volunteers joined in the procession to the church. The muster of all ranks was 96. The widowed mother, brother, sister and several relatives of late Private Bleach were present, as were also the members the Cuckfield Lodge R.A.O.B. A special form of service had been printed and circulated among the congregation. The officiating clergy were the Vicar (the Rev. Canon Cooper) and the Rev. R.S.Lovell. The service opened with the pathetic sentences “I am the resurrection and the life" and “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Then followed Psalm lxxxvi. (Bow down thine ear O Lord) and Psalm cxxx. ("Out of the deep have I called onto Thee, O Lord "), and the lesson was read from I. Corinthians xv, 35. The Nunc Dimittis having been sung, several prayers followed, and then all joined in that beautiful and comforting hymn “On the Resurrection morning.”


was delivered by the Rev. Canon Cooper on the words “Quit you like men” (I. Cor. xvi., 13). He

said: Two months ago, at a service from which I have taken much of that which we have just been using, I pointed out the magnificent example our dear Queen had set us of doing our duty, and doing it with kind consideration for others. We little thought that so soon we should have an illustration of the Englishman’s devotion to duty in the death of one of ourselves—one who had gained the affection of all with whom he had to do—who had, as one of our Volunteers, won the esteem of his officers and the loving regard his comrades. We remember him to-day as one who, making a good use of God's gifts of health and strength took the trouble to train his body and mind that he might be useful to his country. He would not be one of those who idle away their time, who waste precious hours in drinking and smoking, but so employed his spare time that when the call came he was ready to say—“Here am I, send me,” and to go forth to the war as

A GOOD SOLDIER OF THE QUEEN. He was prepared to answer his country's call to fight for her, and, when it was made, offered

himself and went at once. So he endured the hardships and privations of a very rigorous campaign, he braved the fatigue of many a long weary march, the perils of many a battle, he saw the officer he served—bearing a name much honoured in Sussex, and who, like him, had left home at the country’s call—killed, and at last, having escaped the bullets of the enemy, lay down to die


on a hospital bed, and God himself took away the faithful unselfish soldier. Though he died by the hand of God rather than by the hand of man, he died not the less for his country and freedom’s cause. He has left us

A NAME WHICH CUCKFIELD WILL HONOUR, An example for Cuckfield to follow, and from his grave in distant Bloemfontein comes a voice

bidding us so to live now that we may leave a good name for men to respect, a good example that men should walk in our steps. “Quit you like men.” It is a question which each one of us may well put to himself to-day—Am I living so that people will be sorry when I am gone; that they will miss me, mourn for me, because I made them the better and the happier? My home—do I make it good home? Am I setting a good example to my friends and helping them to be brave, honourable, true men? Am I unselfish, thinking little of my own pleasure and a great deal of the happiness of other people? Yes, and this too — What am I doing for my country ? Am I showing myself a good Englishman, doing what I can for my country’s safety, honour and welfare? We have been

LEARNING A HARD LESSON this last year—God grant that may learn it well - the lesson that every man should be ready—

should make himself ready, to defend his country, should acquire habits of discipline and obedience, should train himself by many an irksome drill to become not only a citizen but also a citizen soldier of his country. Every man not in the Regulars should be in the Volunteers, and learn to march well and shoot straight, and every boy should be in the Church Lads’ Brigade, equipping himself for better work as he grows older and laying the foundations of a well-regulated, temperate, well-disciplined life, which will make for the happiness of our homes and the welfare of our country. This surely may be the practical result of our memorial service to-day, this will best comfort our sorrowful hearts, this will be the honour to show to him who bas been taken from us, that we follow his example, and unselfishly and with true patriotism, fulfil our country’s behests. “Quit you like men,” But for this we must have God’s help, and that help is to be had for the asking—help to keep our bodies in good health by temperance, soberness and chastity for this we must have God’s blessing, and that, too, is to be had for the seeking. Live so as to be a credit to your Father in heaven, so as to give joy to the Saviour who died for you. God longs to help you, longs to bless you but there must be on your part a longing for that help and blessing, a prayer for them. Without Him you can do no good, you can be no good: with His help you will be an honour and blessing to your home and your country, and when your work is done and your fight is fought out, when God takes you to your rest and crowns you with the victor’s crown, men here will lament over you indeed, but thank God for the precious memory and the bright example you have left behind you. I should like to have a tablet put up in our church


and to hand his name down to those who will come after us. I should like to think that fathers will bring their boys to see it, and tell them what true manliness is, and rouse in them feelings of patriotism and devotion to their God and their country. It is nearly a hundred years ago since a memorial was put up in Cuckfield Church for a soldier who had died in battle for his country. I have been told that in that land of South Africa, where lie buried the bones of so many of England’s heroes, far more precious than its gold and diamonds, on a hill overlooking the Tugela, stands a plain white marble cross. It marks the grave of the two young officers of the 24th Regiment who, in the last war, fell there while trying save the Queen’s colours. The epitaph on the cross is—“ For Queen and country. Jesu mercy." That is what I should like to have on our tablet, and to add for ourselves and our children the text “Quit you like men,”

That most wonderful of all dirges, Handel’s Dead March in “Saul," was played with thrilling effect by the Organist (Mr. T. E P. Attewell) at the close of the address. At the solemn sound of the organ the whole congregation stood up, and not a few were moved to tears. The memorable service ended with the hymn “Soldiers who are Christ’s below.”

PROBATE BLEACH Frank of Ockenden Lane Cuckfield Sussex private in the Royal Sussex Regiment regiment of foot died 14 March 1901 at Bloemfontein South Africa Probate Lewes 16 May to Albert Bleach blacksmith Effects £250

NOTES BLOEMFONTEIN & ENTERIC FEVER The enteric fever (now known as typhoid) at Bloemfontein cost the British Army more lives than the two severest battles of the war. Bloemfontein was occupied by Lord Roberts without opposition, but disease and germs were deadlier than bullets. As many as fifty men died in one day. One hospital with 500 beds had 1,700 sick; another had 370. Some 6,000 soldiers came down with this severe and protracted fever. Sixty orderlies serving as nurses contracted the disease from the patients. In another hospital half the attendants came down with the fever. More than 1,000 soldiers' graves were added to the cemetery at Bloemfontein. It was all due to polluted water. The Boers had seized the water works supplying Bloemfontein. The troops were supplied from wayside pools or any other source. The precaution of boiling was omitted and the greatest army England ever put in the field had to halt till the bacilli were conquered.

Definition of enteric fever Typhoid fever, also known as enteric fever, bilious fever or Yellow Jack, is an illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Common worldwide, it is transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces from an infected person. The bacteria then perforate through the intestinal wall and are phagocytosed by macrophages. Salmonella Typhi then alters its structure to resist destruction and allow them to exist within the macrophage. This renders them resistant to damage by PMN's, complement and the immune response. The organism is then spread via the lymphatics while inside the macrophages. This gives them access to the Reticulo- Endothelial System and then to the different organs throughout the body.

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