1918 drew to a close with the various Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment still scattered around the globe. Their aim achieved, now the great dispersal began.
The 1st Battalion were still on the Macedonian front, but were soon to return home to Rugeley Camp before being sent to India. The 2nd Battalion has marched into Germany and were at Gymnich in the Rhineland, starting a tricky period of policing as part of the Army of Occupation. They had fought the longest and in some cases, the bitterest periods of the campaign.
The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion were still in existence at Felixstowe. They had been ceaseless in training numerous drafts of new recruits and reservists over the entire period of the conflict, and soon the would be reduced to a cadre and eventually disbanded. They were the 'axle upon which the wheel turned' as someone once noted. This was no understatement.
The 4th Battalion (T.F.) were like their counterparts in the 2nd Battalion, marching into Germany. They were gallant but always seemed to lack a decisive commander who would bring them greatness. The 5th Battalion were in the Middle East, enjoying the climate before the long journey home. Of all the fighting Battalions of the regiment in the great war, they had their greatest victories against the Turk and not the Hun, but the majority of their casualties fell to disease rather than enemy action.
Of all the war-raised 'Service' Battalions, just the 11th and 12th Battalion's remained. The 11th fought onto the bitter end and ended the war close to their counterparts in the 2nd Battalion near Le Cateau. In modern history they have become idolised as a ‘Pals’ Battalion. In reality they were absolutely nothing of the sort and by the end, the greater proportion of its ranks were from neither Suffolk nor Cambridgeshire. The 12th Battalion, were no longer exclusively of men short in stature and though the loss of their commander in early 1918 dealt them a bitter blow, they were still in at the finish, though by early 1919, they were all but gone.
The 15th Battalion was in France having fought as dismounted yeomanry, then later as infantry. They were facing extinction in the post-war re-organisation, being reembodied as an artillery unit.
The 1st (Reserve) Garrison Battalion was still on the lonely window Grain peninsular, but it had provided valuable drafts for the front early in the War and thought their war may not have been glorious, the Battalion was a springboard for many to serve at the front.
The War was over, but it was not peace. It was but an Armistice with a formal signing of a peace treaty coming a few months later. It therefore seems an appropriate end to our venture, to close Operation ‘Legacy’ here.
Over the centenary of the conflict, the Friends have recorded the personal aspect of the Suffolk Regiment soldier and his service in the Great War in over 250 posts. A unique remembrance of not just one battalion or campaign, but all Battalions in all campaigns. We have charted defeat and victory, sorry and joy and have been proud to put the history of the regiment in a new light with new information found since the official Regimental history was written almost 90 years ago.
It has been a highly rewarding, if at times demanding, personal campaign, but we are proud to have left our 'legacy' for future generations to read. As the epitaph on one Suffolk War Memorial proclaims: “Let them who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten”.
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.