As the Allies on the Western Front, stretched themselves and prepared for a final push on the German Armies in the west, the war still continued in all the far flung corners of the world.
The 1st Battalion were still in the land of Grecian gods, manning a section of the line in Macedonia near Elisan in the Struma Line. The Battalion had spent much time u in the line in the high areas where snow was almost permenently on the ground. The front line at that time consisted of a series of pill box, which were manned by two British Battalions at a time, alternating every few days with two Greek units. When they came down into the valleys below, the sunshine was hot, but the mosquitos were vicious.
For one young officer, Lieutenant Victor Farmer, he recalled being sent into the Struma Line: "I was assigned to 'D' Company, under Captain Barry Higgins, a rather wild Irishman. I was provided with a batman (officers servant) and a bivouac in which to sleep. The bivouac consisted of two waterproof ground sheers buttoned together end to end, and propped up in the middle by two small sicks and a crossbar stick. Inside the bivouac was a fitted mosquito net. I had a bivouac to myself but the men shared theirs two by two. One rigorous part of our lives was a daily bivouac inspection and woe betide the occupants of any bivouac when a hole was discovered in the net."
Lieutenant Wyndham Barry Higgins was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion at Felixstowe in October 1914. The following year, he was with them in France, being wounded in September 1915. He went with them to Salonika in late 1915, and for several months in 1917, he was Acting C.O. when Captain Oakes was seconded to the training of another British unit in the area. Farmer remember being taken into the Struma Line, then swamped with Mosquitos: "My sergeant took me to a rise where i could see most of the Struma River from the Rupel Pass down to the estuary Marshes. He pointed out to me where, formerly, our front line existed in the middle of the plain - Single Elm, Barakli, Barakli Dzum (little Barakli) and the small township, now deserted, of Ormouli." Soon Farmer would take his place in the daily routine of trench raiding, the one highlight that the stagnation of the campaign presented...
Image courtesy: IWM.
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.