The Battle of Brighton: I was there

Mods bombard Rockers with deck chairs on Sun Terrace, Brighton in May, 1964

Mods bombard Rockers with deck chairs on Sun Terrace, Brighton in May, 1964

First published in Blogs

Chris Horlock has written a nice, informative book about Brighton in the Sixties, which happens to be my favourite decade, too.

The story about the Mods and Rockers fighting on the Sun Terrace has been a source of argument and comment for more than 40 years.

Did a reporter pay to have the fight stage-managed? I don't think so. It's true a photograph was taken while it was happening but then lots of pictures were taken during a number of fights.

A policeman at this time and on duty throughout that Bank Holiday weekend, I was coming up the steps leading to that part of the Sun Terrace while this fight was taking place.

I arrived just after the incident pictured. I believe the picture was taken by a photographer from The Brighton and Hove Herald and shared with The Argus or maybe the other way around.

I don't believe the fight was stage-managed as, after the weekend, it was discussed at length at John Street.

A number of officers were chasing this particular group along Madeira Drive and they ran up onto the Sun Terrace where there were a few Rockers looking over onto the roadway.

These Rockers were terrified when a large number of Mods appeared and the Mods were more interested in getting these Rockers than worrying about the policemen coming.

I was lucky enough to be on John Lennon's dressing room door while they were at the Hippodrome and was also working at Woodingdean when Errol Flynn's mother was killed.

I recount these stories and others in my latest book, On the Brighton Beat, Memoirs of an Old-time Copper. Have a read.

It's not too boring.

  • David Rowland,(ex Brighton and Sussex police), Harvest Close, Telscombe Cliffs

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