The above statement appeared in the War Diary for the 8th Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment on 3rd June 1916.
The Battalion were in billets just behind the line at Bronfay Farm, just to the rear of Carnoy on the lower section of the Somme sector of the line.
Early that morning, one single 4.2" enemy shell fell in the farm courtyard, killing three of the Battalion's drummers who were sleeping together in the hayloft of one of the farm buildings. in one stall, some of the drummers were playing cards, whilst the other slept next door. The shell burst through the roof, richocheyed off the wall before exploding. "One man killed" wrote Sydney Fuller "was the big drummer and a Wicken man named Hall."
The other two drummers to meet their end by the same shell were Edwin Boxcer of Walthamstow and William Ward of Lowestoft. Ward (above centre) joined 8th Suffolk in late in 1914 and was soon based at Colchester where the above photograph was taken in May 1915. The lady and gentlemen are Mr and Mrs Curtin who ran a soldier recreation hut at the Colchester Garrison. Around William are men from other units in the 53rd Infantry Brigade of which 8th Suffolk were part of in the 18th (Eastern) Division. William's family have never forgotten him. In 2015, his great grandson travelled back to Bronfay Farm cemetery to visit his grave and pay his respects.
Perhaps the most poignant words in the diary entry were "shell shock" - a new phrase that had not yet been fully defined. It had been coined at the front for those suffering mentally from the effects of the war. Later its effects would be seen and made public, but for the moment, it's mention and its meaning were being heavily suppressed. With a large offensive planned in the next few weeks, it was essential that public opinion at home was 100% behind the war effort abroad.
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.