St George’s Chapel in Chichester Cathedral has been The Memorial Chapel of The Royal Sussex Regiment since 1921.
riginally the Chapel was one of two chantry chapels which were added to the South side of the Cathedral early in the thirteenth century and it has been associated with the citizens of Chichester from its early days. King Stephen confirmed the privileges enjoyed by the ancient merchants’ guild of Chichester during the three previous reigns and later in 1368 this merchants’ guild was reconstituted as the Guild of St. George. The Mayor of Chichester was head of the Guild and most of the influential citizens were members. The objects of the Guild were religious and charitable and the Mayor and Corporation of Chichester used to attend a service in the Chapel on Saint George’s Day. However in 1547 the Guild was suppressed and two years later the lands of the Guild were sold to the City of Chichester for £ 100. The altar in the Chapel was removed and the wall separating the Chapel from the adjoining one was removed. For nearly four hundred years Saint George’s Chapel remained a chapel in name only.
On 11th November 1921 the Chapel was rededicated as the Memorial Chapel of The Royal Sussex Regiment. The Regiment restored the Chapel and replaced the wall separating it from the adjoining chapel. The names of the 6,800 All Ranks of the Regiment who fell in the 1914-18 War have been recorded on encased panels, which are fixed to the South and West walls of the Chapel.
The names of the 1,024 who fell in the 1939-45 War have been recorded in a Memorial Book beside the altar.
Many of the old Colours of the Regiment have been laid up in the Chapel. They include the Colours of the 1st Battalion which were carried from 1859 to 1928 and from 1954 to 1966, those of the 2nd Battalion which were carried from 1865 to 1924 and from 1924 to 1948 and those of the 4th/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion from 1960 to 1967.
In addition a guidon of the Sussex Yeomanry hangs over the panel containing the names of the Sussex Yeomanry who fell in the two World Wars.
The old associations between the City of Chichester and the Chapel have been revived. The Mayor attends the annual Regimental Memorial Service which is held in the Chapel on Saint George’s Day. In 1951 on the occasion of the admission of the Regiment to the honorary Freedom of the City, the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of Chichester presented the Regiment with an altar cross for the Chapel.
Within the Chapel are displayed the battle honours of the Regiment from WWI and WWII.
The three upper panels showing the honours for WWI, with the lower five panels representing WWII.
Within the Chapel are to be found several brass plaques commemorating past Colonels of The Regiment.
The plaque above is to be found directly outside St. George’s Chapel.
The monumental tablet above is to be found in the covered cloister to the south of the Cathedral.