At La Boiselle on the Somme, the Germans opposite the 8th Battalion, were on an intelligence drive.
Like the British, the Germans were keen to see who was opposite them and what strength they possessed. The men of the Battalion, grew to know that every artillery stonk was for a purpose and that conceivably in the minutes of eerie calm that followed, an enemy attack might come.
These periods were known as "Stand To" when men manned the parapet with rifles ready, safety catches off and bayonets fixed. Gas helmet satchels were left open; ready to be donned if need be. Be it bullet or gas, this dreaded silence was often the precursor to an enemy advance.
Sydney Fuller wrote in his diary of the afternoon's activities on 31st January 1916: "We stood to - equipment on, rifles and gas masks ready, etc., during this strafe, which continued until 5.15pm., when it suddenly stopped. We had felt the shock of a mine at 5.15pm, but it was not on our front. Although the enemy fired hundreds of shells during this "stunt" our Battalion did not suffer a single casualty."
When the fire ceased, news came that the Germans had attacked against their neighbours to the right of 8th Suffolk; the 10th Essex Regiment, and had taken over 15 prisoners. Though the German advance had successfully routed the 10th Essex, the Germans seemed not to be interested in keeping their newly won gains, but were content to withdraw with their newly captured prisoners. Intelligence was more important than land.
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.