A quiet Sussex village has come together to remember its only fallen son from the First World War.

Residents of Arlington near Hailsham came together on Remembrance Day to remember Private Jesse Levett, who died in 1918 after serving with the 7th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment.

Descendants of Pvt Levett came from across the UK to mark the occasion and to receive replicas of his medals which were stolen from a church in the village in the 1970s.

Pvt Levett's niece, Sarah Pursey, described the event as "a very poignant and moving occasion for us all."

The Argus: Pvt James LevettPvt James Levett (Image: SWNS)

She said: “All these years later, I like to think it reflects the never-ending national quest to tell the stories of those brave lads who epitomise that famous rejoinder - ‘For your tomorrow, we gave our today’."

Pvt Levett died in combat in 1918 aged 20 having survived being shot on the eve of the Battle of the Somme.

He was also present at the Boar’s Head Massacre, known as “The Day Sussex Died” due to how many soldiers from the county died.

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His medals were stolen from St Pancras Church in Arlington in the 1970s but photographs of his British War Medal were used to create replicas which were presented to his family.

A small ceremony was held at Arlington Village Hall today and a wreath was laid at his grave.

Wendy Holmes, long-time resident of Arlington and founder of the Arlington Museum, came up with the idea of a service to commemorate the young soldier.

She said: “Only now are we beginning to unravel the story behind Jessie’s death and what happened on that fatal day, two years earlier, when he was seriously wounded.

“That day became known as ‘The Day Sussex Died’, because three Battalions of the Sussex Regiment had over 1,300 county men killed, wounded or captured.

The Argus: Replicas of Pvt Levett's medalsReplicas of Pvt Levett's medals (Image: SWNS)

"Its 13th Battalion was all but wiped out. Somehow, against all the odds, young Jesse survived that brutal five-hour battle.

“The hunt has been on for his relatives. For months, three local volunteers have scoured the country, working tirelessly to trace Jesse’s descendants”.

Descendants from Chichester and Steyning were at the ceremony as well as family members from Hereford, Camarthen and Wellingborough.