After two days travelling by train, the men of the 1st Battalion embarked at Marseilles on October 25th to a change of command.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sinclair Thompson, who had took over command of the battalion following Lieutenant Colonel White's invaliding home following a wound received during the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, was himself invalided home.
In his place came Major, the Honourable, Hugh Edward Joicey, 3rd Baron Joicey. He had served previously in the 14th Hussars and would take the Battalion to Macedonia, and remain with it until 1918.
As the Battalion embarked, one of the men leaned out of the train window to buy a local paper to read. Return, he received a battered and out of date copy of The War Budget from the previous July.
Inside the front cover, was an artists impression of fellow 1st Battalion soldier, Harry Quantrill who had recently been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions at the battle of Bellewaarde Wood. The soldier, so the story goes, let out an exclamation followed by "Christ!, they've painted a bloody picture of him!"
No. 6738, Segeant Harry Quantrill was a regular soldier joining the 1st Battalion in March 1904. He'd volunteered to take a message back from forward positions to Battalion HQ when all the runners had been wounded. On the way back, he was caught in the wood as the Germans opened up for a gigantic shrapnel barrage which lasted for over an hour. Quantill was wounded in the leg, but as he crawled on through the falling shards of steel, he was hit again in almost exactly the same place. Weak from loss of blood, he crawled on and managed to successfully get back to Battalion HQ to deliver his message. As he lay on the stretcher, the Adjutant listened to his story making notes on the action, notes that were eventually to lead to the award of the DCM.
As he convalesced from his wounds in early July, his award was announced in the London Gazette, a reporter turned up at his bedside, eager to get his story. Quantrill recalled to him hs tale which was to form the basis for the illustration above: "I was sent back to battalion headquarters from the trenches with a message from my company officer. As I was entering a wood, O got hit in the thigh, and the Germans started to shell the wood. I could see large balls of fire bursting over my head, and I though every minute my time had come. They kept up the fire for about an hour and a half, when i started on my gourmet again after having remained hidden in a hollow. I managed to reach headquarters, and thankful I was to do so."
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.