In March 1916, the Reserve Battalion of 4th Suffolk were training hard at Halton Camp near Tring.
Here the Battalion were getting ready to go to war. A cadre of senior NCOs and officers including Major F.W. Turner; veteran of Neuve-Chapelle, were training drafts of men who were to join the Battalion in France. One man who was itching to go, was Private Herbert Percy Welham.
Herbert joined the 3/4th Battalion of The Suffolk Regiment in 1915 when he was only 17 years old and was soon with them in Camp at Halton.
Born in the small Suffolk village of Somersham, Herbert lived in the quaintly named “Leather Bottle Hill” in nearby Little Blakenham when war was declared in 1914.
Though under age, he already had two brothers serving with 1/4th Suffolk in France and he was keen, as soon as he could, to join them. It was whilst training that Herbert was taken ill with double pneumonia, which in turn, led to his dying from pericarditis in Aylesbury Military Hospital on 11th March 1916.
His body was brought home to Suffolk with six members of his Battalion carrying his coffin, covered in wreaths from the family and the Regiment. A volley was fired at the graveside and the Last Post was sounded. The churchyard it was reported “was filled with a large gathering of sympathetic friends.”
Today, one hundred years on, his family have returned to his grave to remember him; the only man from the village of Little Blakenham to die in the Great War.
Welcome to our online 'blog' charting the history of the many Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment and the part they played in the Great War.
Starting back in March 2014, we have recorded the events of 100 years ago on the centenary of their happening.
Keep checking back to see how the Great War is progressing for the men of the Suffolk Regiment.