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The Lewes Rebel Army

The world first learnt about the Lewes Rebel Army from the front page of the Sussex Express in March 1984. Late one night a group of youngsters super-glued the lock of the Conservative Club in the High Street and posted a letter to the paper claiming responsibility. This made the front page of the subsequent edition, under the banner headline ‘REBEL ARMY HITS TORIES’. ‘We are a dedicated group of young women intent on overthrowing the corrupt system of government run by Margaret Thatcher and her acolytes’, read the letter.

So was Lewes quaking in its boots? Hardly. But the LRA certainly knew how to make a nuisance of itself. Other ‘manoeuvres’ followed. One morning the town flag on the top of the castle tower was replaced with a red flag with the legend LRA, the ‘A’ circled to denote the anarchist sympathies of the group. Graffiti could be seen around town: the sheep-counting roundhouse on Ashcombe Lane outside Kingston bore the legend ‘LRA’ for some years. One member scrawled the word ‘bridge’ on the metal wall of the bridge near the station: an early example of post-modern irony. The Easter Cross on the mound was turned upside down (a move accredited to a ‘Black Magic Circle’ by the Evening Argus). The legend ‘Justice?’ was scrawled on the façade of the law courts, after one member had been fined for drunk and disorderly behaviour.

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Rebel Army on tour: the LRA bussed their way around Europe in 1984