At 4.00am on the morning of the 25th September, the Battalion Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel R.V. Brettell, was summoned to a meeting with his Brigadier. He was ordered to assemble the Battalion at 7.00 am and be ready to move up to the front line. After a delay of several hours, at 11.30am, their orders were finally received to move.
Via Vermelles, a journey of around 7 miles, the Battalion arrived, after a halt at their destination, a mining pit with accompanying slag heap know as “Fosse 9” (Pit No. 9) near the cross roads at Corons de Rutoire along a trench line called “Quality Street.” Here they received orders that their Division (24th) was to act in support of the major attack which was going in against the enemy by the 9th (Scottish) Division. The 21st Division would be on their right.
Forming the first line that would attack first were 9th Suffolk and 11th Essex. The second line behind them would be formed by 9th Norfolk and 8th Bedfords.
In the failing light of the autumn evening, the Battalion left their trenches and advanced at 8.00pm. Their objective was the village of Venden le Veil on the eastern side of the Loos-Haisnes road. Battalion orders inferred that the action would not be heavy and that those men who were wounded in the advance who could walk, were to proceed to Vermelles on foot, for treatment.
“A” and “B” Company’s would lead the attack, with “C” and “D” in the rear. The Battalion advanced in this fashion until they had reached the German second line trenches which had been taken that morning. Here they halted and dug in.
Neither the Regimental History or the Battalion War Diary made any mention as to any enemy action during the advance. Just what would the next 24 hours bring the Battalion?
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.
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