The perils of the close intensity of trench warfare were beginning to show in the early spring of 1915.
In those early days bayonets were often kept fixed, especially in the front line. Eighteen inches of ‘cold steel’ permanently attached to the end of an SMLE rifle (like that of the Suffolk soldier left) was both deadly to the enemy and also its owner.
In addition to the routine casualties suffered by the 1st Battalion during their time in their trenches around Dranoutre in early April, the War Diary noted the first accidental wounding of a soldier of the Battalion.
On the night of the 4th April, the 7th Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment were due to relieve 1st Suffolk at midnight. However due to their machine gun section getting lost in the dark maze of trenches and scrapes, relief was not completed until 4 a.m. the following morning. In the confusion to exit the line, No. 8977 Arthur George Baker of C Company, was accidentally bayoneted by a stumbling colleague.
Losing their footing exiting the front line, the comrades' bayonet slipped and tore through his right shoulder. Though painful, it was not decreed serious and Baker was patched-up and sent off to hospital to recuperate, rejoining the Battalion later that year in October.
One of the original draft of men who arrived in France in January, he had joined the Regiment in May 1914 and was soon serving with the 1st Battalion after they returned to Britain from Egypt in late 1914. Arthur's wound drove home the lesson that no matter where they were, they had to be alert at all times, not only for their own sake, but for their comrades.
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.