At 1.30 am on the morning of 9th June 1917, the enemy made a raid upon the men of the 9th Battalion in the frontline trenches just north of the French town of Loos where in 1915, one of its members won the Regiment's first Victoria Cross.
The Germans were aiming to take "Newport Sap" an old shell hole that had since been tunnelled out to, pushing the British front line forward by some 25 feet. Coming on in great numbers, the Germans were repulsed by Allied artillery and trench mortar batteries. As the enemy dead mounted at the Allied wire, the Germans called off the attack.
The War Diary noted that "a party went out and brought in the dead who were buried and identification obtained" By this stage the Army had finally introduced a second identification disc. The enormous losses of men who have no known grave on the Somme may in part be attributed to the issue of just a single red fibre tag worn by the wearer. if killed, the tag would be removed and returned the Company office to ensure that the unfortunate soldiers rations and pay stopped. It had nothing to do with identifying his body.
No one however realised until the great war that the same ground we fought over time and time again, making any form of permanent memorial possible. The massive battles of the Somme saw men's graves destroyed with their markers lost. No one could ever be accurately identified after the dust had settled unless their body retained a form of permanent identification.
When Colonel Fabian Ware took over control of the Graves Registration Unit, he insisted join the introduction of a further means of identification to be kept with the body after the red fibre identification tag was removed. The idea was ingeniously simple. A second tag.
A second lozenge-shapped tag would be worn. Its have meant that even in the dark, the registration unit could feel the circular red tag and remove it, leaving the squared green tag in situ. In daylight, the second tag was green, so that there could be no misidentification. This simple system ensured that in the battles that were to come, a higher proportion of graves were subsequently identified
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.