On the morning of the 5th September 1915, two German flags appeared in no-mans-land opposite 1st Suffolk in the front line trenches near Kemmel.
"It was one day in the beginning of September" wrote the Regimental Gazette, "when the feint light of dawn was gradually unfolding the beauty of the landscape before the admiring gaze of the sentries of "C" and "D" Companies, that their artistic feelings were severely outraged by the appearance of two German flags planted about half ways across no man's land."
The sentries who had watched the ground in front of them with dull persistence over the hours of darkness, were dumbfounded how the enemy could have erected their symbols of teutonic might in the muddy ground in front of them, without their even noticing it. Furious, a plan was hatched to scoop the greatest souvenirs of the war so far for the Battalion.
Movement in daylight would be futile, since the enemy would almost certainly have them under observation, but if they could be placed there without their knowing about it, they could also be taken without the enemy knowing it either.
That night, a party of D Company under Lieutenant Wood, crept out and after some two hours of a circuitous route, most of which was on all fours through the mud, they succeeded in obtaining the first flag for D Company. In parallel, a party under Lieutenant Wright of C Company, were also making their way out to the second flag. Wright however did not meet with success that Wood did. Their flag had been securely wired to a tree stump and in the process of clipping off the wire, they were observed. Grabbing the flag, they took cover in a nearby shell hole, before starting back. By morning all men of both parties, and both flags were back in the Suffolk lines. The Ultimate souvenirs had been secured without loss.
During the day, the Battalion Pioneers affected the trophies to lengths of wood from trench stores and that night, the flags were given pride of place at the head of both C and D Company's as they left the front line and marched away to their billets behind the line. The CO frowned upon the risky procurement of such trophies, but there was no denying that they did much to raise morale within 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.
Keep checking back to see how the Great War is progressing for the men of the Suffolk Regiment.