Photo: Illustrative image for the 'FIVE BROTHERS' page

Sussex Express and County Herald

And what followed


A cutting from the Sussex Express & County Herald, Friday 20th January 1940, slightly the worse for wear after 60 years, but this was the story about five sons belonging to Frank Archer Sexton & Beatrice Sexton from Denton Island..

Mr & Mrs Sexton of Reads Cottages, Denton Island, Newhaven are justifiably proud of the fact that they have five sons serving in the Army. Is this number serving in the fighting forces for one family a record for Sussex? The five brothers whose photographs are reproduced in this feature are L/Cpl Frank Sexton, the eldest, Driver Arthur Sexton and Pte Herbert Sexton the youngest, Sussex Royal Regiment; Cpl Ernest Sexton R.A.M.C.who was formerly attached to the Royal Sussex County Hospital Brighton and driver Robert Sexton Royal Corps of Signals. Like thousands of Britain's fighting sons today they are following in the footsteps of their father. He served in the R.A.S.C. in the last war and was afterwards a chief motor mechanic in connection with the R.N.V.R. He is one of the few men who possess the Somaliland 1902-4 campaign medal. It is a tradition of the Sexton family to be well represented in H.M. Forces, Mr Frank Sexton Snr, is one of five brothers who served in the Great War. They are the sons of the late Mr and Mrs J. Sexton who lived in Essex-place, Newhaven.

What happened next?

Following on from this article which had "missing " above L/Cpl. F Sexton name, the good news for the family was they all survived the war.

Ernest was captured in North Africa and served 2 ½ years as a POW in Italy, later emigrating to Australia.

Frank was injured & taken prisoner at Dunkirk, loosing his right arm and spending the remainder of the war as a POW.

Arthur fought with the desert rats of the 8th Army.

Herbert stayed with The Royal Sussex Regiment to complete the war.

Robert was already in the army on the outbreak of war. After being brought home from India he was sent with the BEF to France where he was injured. He was taken care of and got back to England by the partisans Maurice & Odette. (My brother, sister and niece have their names). Later having been discharged from the army for medical reasons, Robert joined the Royal Navy where he was employed on light duties as a motor cycle dispatch rider, working along the south coast from a camp in Havant, Hampshire. This he did until the end of hostilities, and during which time he suffered more injuries in a crash.

3 other younger brothers, Thomas, Joseph & James, were to join the army later and the women in the family played their part in the war effort, as did many other women, be they mothers, sisters or wives.

All married & raised families around Sussex, before drifting off to Kent Nottingham and Australia, their children have also spread themselves about. I and my two brothers Robert & Maurice all joined the Royal Navy; I now live in Hampshire, Maurice lives in Devon and Robert in Cambridgeshire.

This page was added by RAY SEXTON on 17/11/2008.
Comments about this page

I knew a Joseph Sexton who at one time lived on Mount Pleasant. Last time I spoke to him he was a porter at Seaford station, but that was some years ago now.

By William Still
On 20/11/2008

I worked with Frank Sexton who was a painter for Bannisters the Builders. He told me he was a sniper in WW2 and  when he was captured he took his sight off his rifle as he didnt want them to know what he did but he forgot to take his sight holder off his belt. When the Germans saw this they stood him against a wall and shot his arm off with a machine gun. Brings home the horror of war doesnt it? He was a great man to work with. I used to marvel at the way could strike a match with one hand. The favourite story of another painter I worked with Ted Redshaw, was when he was a Tank Transporter driver in Italy and the army realised he hadn't got licence for that so sent him 100 miles or so north for a test. When he got there the tester said "if you have driven it that far you have passed" and " by the way here is a licence for a motorbike". I loved listening to them relate their stories.

By Terry Howard
On 23/02/2010

Frank Sexton was my grandad i have very fond memories of him and also my nan Ivy.It's great to see this article about him and his brothers.

By Barry Neve
On 30/05/2010

Hi Barry, your grandfather Frank, was also one of the boxing trainers at Newhaven Boys Club along with Bill Gerrard. I'm sure that your uncle Frank (also a good boxer) may have told you this. I also knew your grandmother, a lovely lady, regards to your mum and dad.

By Colin Brandon
On 24/06/2010

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