Quietly in the wings another Battalion of The Suffolk Regiment had slipped quietly off to war.
The 5th (Territorial) Battalion, formed like its counterpart the 4th, as a result of the Cardwell Reforms in 1908, had been training in earnest since the New Year. The Battalion joined their territorial counterparts from Norfolk, to form the Norfolk and Suffolk Infantry Brigade, which was to be part of the 54th (East Anglian) Division.
Following their move from the Colchester area in January 1915, they went first to West Stow for field firing exercises before spending some months at Thetford. In May, they moved once more to Watford, where they remained for some weeks.
Here in mid June, news arrived that they would be sent not to the Western Front but would instead be sent to the Dardanelles. With days, they were deprived of their khaki serge uniforms, for more needy men in the new service Battalions, and issued instead with lighter weight khaki drill and cork 'wolseley' pattern sun helmets. In the warm English summer they were much appreciated although they'd soon experience a climate much hotter than of Watford.
By the end of July, the Battalion along with the other 6000-odd other members of the 54th Division, assembled in Liverpool for the journey to the Mediterranean via the Troopship Aquitania. She was Cunard's answer to the Titanic and Olympic vessels of the White Star line, but had only completed her maiden voyage in May of 1914, before she was taken over for too transport shortly after war was declared.
The troopship arrived on the island of Mudros, on 6th August. They were around 35 miles from the Gallipoli peninsular which was to be their ultimate destination. After a brief stop on the sistering Island of Imbros, late on the 9th August, they received news that they would be departing the following day for Gallipoli.
Having received no formal tropical training, nor acclimatisation to the stalemated world of trench warfare that they would son inhabit, the Battalion were unsure as to what lay ahead for them. In a night of mused emotions, the Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel William Morris Armes, called his officers together and tried to allay their concerns. For many men such as Bill Farrow, a pre-war member of the Battalion, they contemplated on what they following day would bring.
In the warm sun of a mediterranean evening, another Suffolk Battalion went quietly to war.
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.