Fifteen men from Alciston and Selmeston were killed in the First World War and are remembered on the War Memorial at the junction of the A27 and The Street. Two further names were added after the Second World War.
The names inscribed include Boys, Chilvers and Mockett, the names of families that have lived in the local community for many centuries and continue to do so.
By1917, the occasional ‘airship‘ might have caused a stir among the cattle and sheep, as it was seen flying over the village from the nearby Royal Naval Air Service station located at Polegate.
In the late 1920's there were still few cars on the road. One of the few people to have a motor car during this time was Cecil Chandless, the owner of Sherrington Manor. Cecil had three Rolls Royces, a Daimler and a Delage motor car. During the Second World War Cecil gave one of the Rolls Royces to the fire brigade in Seaford for their use as well as one or two of his many shotguns to the home guard.
In 1939, the village hall was used as a ‘collection point’ for children evacuated from London. Several children were housed or 'billeted' in Selmeston.
Little Bells in Selmeston also housed Canadian troops, who took part in various exercises at Firle and on the South Downs just prior to D-Day in June 1944.
The Home Guard was a voluntary organisation that formed an armed civilian militia to act as a secondary defence force in case of invasion by Nazi Germany. The Village Hall was often used by the local Home Guard Battalion for parades and briefings. Its volunteers included Len Pike, who lived in Selmeston until his death in 2021.
Along with the Home Guard there was another unit that became essential during the war years, and which also adopted a uniform.
This was called the Women’s Land Army, but its members were better known by all as ‘Land Girls’.
In 1940, a Messerschmitt BF 109E-1, having been badly damaged in combat with the RAF, crashed into a field of corn stacks on Mays Farm, Selmeston.
Because of a motif painted on the side of the plane, this incident became famous as the “Red Devil crash. A similar event occurred only a few weeks later, at Lower Mays Farm. In both cases, the pilots were captured by the Home Guard and made prisoners of war.