At 8.00pm on the evening of the 20th July 1915, the men in a forward crater that was blown the previous evening, received news to retire back to their own lines after darkness had descended.
The previous evening immediately after a mine was blown, a section of men under the command of 2nd Lieutenant De Castro went forward to take the hole and succeeded in getting to it with only a handful of casualties.
As darkness wore on, a second section crawled out to them under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Pickard-Cambridge to bring up supplies and shovels to start to break back from the crater towards the British front line. However progress was painfully slow and by daybreak, no link-up had been made with those digging out to the crater.
With daylight came a renewed German interest in dislodging the men from the crater. De Castro's men were falling victim to German grenades being lobbed from their front line just a few feet away. In return the men in the crater retaliated using the most primitive of grenades issued to them.
As these men in the crater held on, they hoped that a link-up would soon be made to relive them but as darkness came again, they were beginning to think that they had been left stranded. They had been on their own for almost 24 hours. Water was running low and the men had already consumed their 'iron rations' (a tin of bully beef) during the day. Then just as they gave up hope, the right-hand digging party linked up with them at around 8.00pm. Caked in mud, these tunnellers brought orders for them to pull back.
Cold and hungry, the men in the crater dragged themselves through the shallow trench that had been dug with pick, shovel and entrenching tool all day, and arrived in the front line to a well earned cup of tea.
Packard-Cambridge was personally recommended by the CO of the 1st Gordon Highlanders for his actions that day and De Castro was recommended by the CO of 2nd Suffolk for a Military Cross. He would not however be granted it. It would not be the first major award De Castro would be recommended for, that he would not receive. A higher recommendation was yet come come.
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.