"Am Trying To Consolidate Trench Running North To South Of Quarries....With Mixed Norfolks And Suffolks. No Sign Of Berkshires"
To the southern side of the “Hair-pin” the attack continued, this time with ‘D’ Company. It was held up at German wire and by their bombers who were just yards away.
Captain G.H. Henty pushed forward but was wounded. Captain C.H. Sorley and Lieutenant G.D. Wood went forward to try and open a gap but both were killed. Sorley being shot through the head by a German sniper.
Lieutenant Deighton, now the only officer left in the Company, took command. He succeeded in bombing his way along the southern side of the “Hair-pin” and managed to dislodge the Germans from the apex. With much effort, he consolidated his gains and with pick and shovel and succeeded in linking up with Captain Thomas’ men in the northern trench.
Deighton scribbled a note in his pocket book and sent it back by runner to the Battalion Adjutant; Captain Harry Gadd, who had the previous August left the Curragh when war was declared, to proceed to the Depot and organise the mobilisation of the Reservists. The message ran: “To Adjt. 7th Suffolks. Am trying to consolidate trench running north to south of quarries. We hold 200 yards of trench north of quarries with mixed Norfolks and Suffolks. No sign of Berkshires. G.W. Deighton, Lt.”
During the night, a German mortar caused much trouble to those in the newly-won positions. Lieutenant Deighton in his forward position had by now managed to get telephone communication with Battalion HQ. He managed, using one of the heavy batteries of artillery behind the British line, to silence the mortar just after 2.00am that morning. Throughout all this, the entire position was strengthened and reinforced by the follow-up platoons who did much of the heavy work with picks and shovels.
At 3.30am, 9th Essex Regiment arrived to take over the position and 7th Suffolk withdrew shortly afterwards. Casualties during the attack were 8 officers killed, 3 wounded. Other ranks killed and wounded numbered 150. Both Captain Chitty-Thomas and Lieutenant Deighton were awarded the Military Cross for their actions that day. Deighton also received the Croix de Chevallier of the Legion of Honour.
As first actions went, it was hard and bloody, but like their counterparts in the 9th (Service) Battalion a fortnight before, these citizen soldiers of the New Armies had proved that they could be every bit as good as their regular counterparts.
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.