Royal Sussex Regiment WWI Album

I don’t deliberately go out of my way to buy Military old photos or ephemera, because I would rather leave it for someone else, that knows more about the subject. But for some reason this little Album took my eye. It had a label on the cover ‘Royal Sussex Regiment on Active Service’         But it wasn’t until I looked at it more closely when we got home & I was  reading the captions on the photos, that I realised I had to do some research on it.   I just couldn’t let these men be forgotten.There are 33 Photos in total….Descriptions of each photo hand written in the Album I will post in Red….


Photos 1 & 2. No 2. South Gate Tank City, known as Dodds Gate. The Tablet records the murder of Major Todd by Mahsud April 1914....

3. Mahsud Prisoners, Tank prison. 4. Mahsud dead near Tank Fort. 5. Mahsud dead near Zah Fort after skirmish with Gurkhas. 6.Country near Zah Fort.

7.Top L.Shahur Valley. 8.Top R. First line transport arriving in Camp Kakis Tongi. 9.Bott L. 43 Brigade passing through Shahur Tangihadri Koch 10. Bott L.  Jandola Camp

11. Left. Blockhouse Jandola. 12. Midd Top. Mangal Village burning. 13. Midd Bott. Field Hospital Jandola British section 1917. 14. Right. Mahsud Watch Tower Waziristan.

15. Top left. Mahsud Lookout Tower Boji Khet. 16. Top right. Mountain Battery in Action 17.Bott Left. Aeroplane with troops near Ispana Raghja. 18. Bott Midd. One end Ispana Raghja. 19. Bott right. Shrnania pass above Ispana Raghja.


20. Digging the grave for PTE Gayler 1/25 London Reg. PRT White 2/6 Sussex Buried under tree.

21. Top left. Underground Dwellings. 22.Top right. Dugouts Boji Khel. 23.Top right Bott. Sangar with outlying Picquet BojiKhel. 24. Bott left. The rough trail. 25. Bott right. Manjel Camp.

26. Top left. Manjel Camp. 27. Bott left. Manjel Camp. 28.Right. From Shahur Tanjito Haidra Koch with Sangor on hill.

29. Left. Peace meeting. 30. Top right. Peace meeting breaking up. 31. Bott right. Mahsud Chiefs.


32. Arts and Crafts Monzal.


33. More Arts and Crafts Monzal. Pte Andrews. I wonder if anything still survives of their beautiful Arts and Crafts……

Most especially I wanted to find out more about the two soldiers mentioned in photo 20, Private Gayler & Private White…One already buried under the tree, & one about to be buried…..I also wanted to know more about the soldier mentioned on the memorial in photo 33, Private Andrews …all such a long way from home………..and what were the circumstances behind the death of Major Dodd mentioned in photo 2….

First a little about this battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment during WWI..2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion was formed at Brighton in November 1914, in November 1915 they moved to Chisledon, and  joined with three other Cyclist Battalions – 1/9th Hampshire, 1/25th London, and 1/1st Kent Cyclist Battalion, and converted to infantry…..This ‘Brigade’ was originally intended for East Africa, but on the 4th February 1916 they sailed from Devonport to India. Which is where the photos in this Album were taken…..
In October 1918 they were moved to Vladivostock, and then into Siberia, where they remained until November 1919 before returning back to England.
Some troops formerly with the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company (aka 2nd Div. Cyclist Co.). are known to have been transferred into this battalion too.

The first of the two men mentioned on photo 20 is Private Gayler (Digging his grave)       This is what I have found on the records….Name: Herbert Henry Gayler..Residence.. Willesden….Death Date.. 23 Jun 1917..Death Place.. India..Enlistment Place.. Fulham
Rank.. Cyclist…Regiment, London Regiment..Battalion, 25th (County of London) Battalion (Cyclists)..Regimental Number: 740705..Type of Casualty: Died of wounds
Theatre of War: Asiatic Theatres……Inscription….London Regiment (Cyclists)                 Note: 740705   Burial..(Empty)
Name on the India Gate, New Delhi, Delhi Capital Territory, India, Plot: Face 23.

Herbert Henry Gayler..Military Year. 1914-1920..Rank: Private
Medal Awarded. British War Medal and Victory Medal
Regiment or Corps. London Regiment..Regimental Number. 740705
Sub Unit: 25th (County of London) Battalion (Cyclists).Previous Units: 25th Lond R Pte 1887, 740705….Herbert was 36 years old when he died…..

Herbert was the son of Henry (Harry) Gayler, a Coachman & Annie Palmer b 1857 Pentney, Norfolk…who married on the 1st March 1881….Herbert’s Mum Annie sadly died in July 1889, aged just 32, leaving her husband & two young boys, Herbert born in 1881 & Ernest born in 1883.



These images above are Herbert (b1881) in the 1891 & 1901 census with his father Henry (b1855)  & brother Ernest William (b1883), also Ellen Palmer, unmarried. Henry’s sister in law has moved in with them as Housekeeper, after her sister, his wife had died. In the 1891 C you can see that Herbert was a Barrister’s Clerk & a Stereographers Clerk in the 1911 C, before he joined up. His brother Ernest was a footman for Sir Robert W Perks, Liberal MP in Kensington in the 1911 C.

The second of the men mentioned in photo 20……         ‘Buried under tree’                         is Private White..         Albert Edward John White Rank..Private..Service No..TF/265738 Date of Death..23/06/1917 (Same day as Private Gayler) Died of Wounds. Age 21
Regiment/Service..Royal Sussex Regiment..2nd/6th Bn.
Panel Reference..Face 1-23.Memorial..DELHI MEMORIAL (INDIA GATE)
Additional Information..Indian General Service Medal (Waziristan). Son of Richard and Martha Margaret White, of 17, High Town Rd., Maidenhead, Berks.


Albert’s father Richard & Mum Martha Margaret (Gould) married on the 8th May 1889 in Paddington, he was 39 & she was 32.( Richard & his parents & many siblings all came from the Cumberland in the Lake District, his father was a Nail Maker & Baker & Richard himself was a Pencil Maker until he moved South.) The couple had five children (their first Lily died at age 4). Lily Louisa Marguerite b 1890-d1894. Richard Arthur William b1893. Albert Edward John b1896 and his Twin Lilian Alma Marguerite b1896 (Named after their first little girl) All four registered in Christchurch, Hants, then Thomas Henry Francis b1898 registered in Reading, Berkshire. Father Richard was a Publican, Owner of a cafe & a waiter, at different times after he left the Lake District to live. First Image below is the White family on the 1911 census before WWI………….

WHITE family 1911.jpg


Two images above…The first image above is taken from UK, De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 on Ancestry. The second also from Ancestry is Soldiers effects register for Albert.

The third man for me to research, was the man whose Memorial is on the rocks in the last photo in the Album is Private Andrews.F….                                             It says on the rocks.. ‘No 2163 Pte Andrews.F. 2/6 Batt Royal Sussex Reg. Who died 7 Aug 1917. and is buried within 400 yards.………Frederick William Andrews. After much research, I found his Birth registered as William Frederick Andrews in the J Q of 1896, Steyning, Sussex.      Some records I have found for Frederick are below………

Rank: Private Andrews. Frederick William..Service No: TF/266310
Date of Death: 07/08/1917 Age: 21
Regiment/Service: Royal Sussex Regiment 2nd/6th Bn.
Panel Reference: Face 1-23. Memorial: DELHI MEMORIAL (INDIA GATE)
Additional Information..Son of William and Edith Andrews, of 9, Osmond Gardens, Hove, Sussex.

His father William Richard Andrews married Edith Eliza Purkis in 1892, Portsea Island, Hants. They had five children Edith Dorothy b1894,  William Frederick b1896, Eric Bernard b1898, Constance Mary b1903 & Lilian Marjorie b1905. Family all together here in 1911C….first image, then second image is of the Soldier Effects register…………..



Now we go back to the beginning of the no 2. ‘The tablet records  the murder of Major Todd by Mahsud April 1914.’ The writing in the Album is sightly confusing Todd or Dodd ? was in fact for a Major Dodd..not Todd..But I found it !


Above are the newspaper reports from the time..It seems he was injured by gunshot & expected to recover but suddenly died from his wound in the thigh..     Major Dodd was in the 27th Punjabis..Here’s a little info about them…*The 27th Punjabis were an infantry regiment of the British Indian Army. It was raised in 1857, as the 19th Regiment of Punjab Infantry. It was designated as the 27th Punjabis in 1903 and became 3rd Battalion 15th Punjab Regiment in 1922. In 1947, it was allocated to the Pakistan Army, where it continues to exist as 11th Battalion The Punjab Regiment…..Subsequent to the reforms brought about in the Indian Army by Lord Kitchener in 1903, the regiment’s designation was changed to 27th Punjabis…..During the First World War, the infantrymen served on the North West Frontier of India, Egypt, France and Mesopotamia. The regiment raised a second battalion in 1918, which was disbanded after the war.* This info from Wikipedia..  Major Dodd was born in India… In his will Major Dodd left everything to his sister Margaret (also born in India) , who was married to a Colonel in the Norfolk Regiment, Godfrey Massy (Born in Ireland)…..


The politics of India and the history of the Military in the country is extremely complicated, I shall leave that for the experts..but here is just a little information about the Mahsud Tribe….Mahsus Tribe Mahsud Tribe of India    Mahsud Tribe info from Wikipedia.

Dehli Memorial. India Gate

How many soldiers of the British Army died in the Great War..WWI ?     Info below from The Long Long Trail website.. Long Long Trail

According to figures produced in the 1920’s by the Central Statistical Office, total British Army casualties were as follows:
Total killed in action, plus died of wounds, disease or injury, plus missing presumed dead:
956,703….of which Royal Navy and RFC/RAF casualties were 39,527…..of which, from the British Isles were:   704,803    and from Canada, Australia, India and other places: 251,900    Total British Army deaths in France and Flanders:    564,715   of which 32,098 died of disease or injury.     Total British Army deaths on the Gallipoli front:    26,213
Total British Army deaths on all other fronts:   365,375…..  An awful loss of life..and this is just one war ! Add to that the men & women who came back injured in one way or another, and the many who were affected by these losses, family, friends….. and the cost to human life is beyond words……………


Till next time then………………..


  1. Hi. Came across your post as I was looking for information about H H Gayler. I’m doing a Masters at the University of Westminster, and they hold the archives for the Royal Polytechnic Institution (which went on to become the Polytechnic of Central London and is now the University of Westminster). Gayler had been a keen member of the Poly Cycling Club, and was one of four who represented their country in the 1912 Olympics. I’ve spent the day going through various accounts of the skirmishes in Waziristan on the 23rd of June. Frustratingly, I can find no reference to where Gayler actually died or was buried. I deduced that it was at a place called Narai Raghza, (which I located on Google Maps with some detective work) but still don’t know whether that was also where he was buried. I wonder who actually took the photographs of the burial site.


  2. Hello again, Lynn. Hope you had a good Christmas. I wanted to ask if you had any information about who would have taken photographs like these – officially sanctioned photographers, or was it the soldiers themselves who carried early portable cameras like the Kodak Vest Pocket? How would multiple prints of these photographs be made available, since I have come across the same image in several different places? Perhaps you could point me in the right direction? Many thanks, Naheed.


  3. Thanks Naheed, hope you had nice Christmas too..I’m sorry, but I’m not knowledgeable in Military photos & who took them..All I know is what I’ve put in Blog..Sadly there is no name of a Photographer.
    Maybe Simon in the comment previously may be able to help you with more research on this matter.
    Kind Regards Lynn


  4. Hi Lynn et al
    Found these photo’s fascinating and your research excellent. I’ve been researching the 2/6th Royal Sussex Cyclists as my grandfather was in the 2/6th and was there in India/Waziristan in 1917. Really intrigued as to where you found the photo album. It’s a real treasure. I am part way through transcribing the war diary as I went and looked at it in person a few years back. Yes the internet version is really difficult to read.


    • Many thanks, I don’t envy you in your research I found it very hard going! I don’t think my brain is tuned into Military information 😊The photo album I found in Dorset, astonishing what you come across sometimes! It is now in the hands of a collector & someone connected with the website mentioned in previous comments (via Simon)So in safe hands. Good luck with your family history Pat, kind regards Lynn


  5. Hi Lynn;

    I have interest in Raj era army and sometimes write about it. Someone sent me pictures of a memorial of 2/6 Royal Sussex in Lahore; Pakistan commemorating their service in India 1916-19. About 60 officers & men of the battalion died during service in India from skirmishes with tribesmen and disease. Memorial lists some names. I’m planning to write a brief piece about 2/6 Royal Sussex. I’ll greatly appreciate if you can allow me to use pictures of your album for the piece.

    Hamid Hussain. New York


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