The 9th (Service) Battalion it is believed, were the first Battalion of The Suffolk Regiment to arrive on the Western Front with a form of identifying cloth insignia, or 'battle patch' already in use within their Brigade.
The 9th had shed its 'Kitchener Blue' uniforms at Shoreham near Brighton on 10th March 1915, and moved into khaki immediately afterwards. It is believed that in these early days when everyone wore blue uniforms, and cap badges were not on full issue, that the authorities instigated a simple system of coloured patches one backs of the recruits jackets to quickly identify who they were when around camp.
This kind of system was not unique to the 9th Battalion. Sydney Fuller of the 8th Battalion, wrote early on in his diary, that just after he arrived with the Battalion, they were given a piece of yellow cloth for them to cut out the shape of a castle from, and sew it to the arms of their civilian clothing to identify them as 'Suffolks.'
The 9th arrived in France still wearing their 'field badge' - "a triangular patch of Cambridge Blue, worn below the collar on the back of the jacket" It was recorded later in a 1917 survey, that it measured 3" across the base and 2 1/2" on each side. For early battle patches it was incredibly large.
Though still in use throughout the latter months of 1915, by Christmas it had all but disappeared.
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.