The losses of the 12th October were staggering to the already depleted 7th Battalion. They had fought gallantly on the 3rd July in the advance into the village of Ovillers, but had suffered the consequences for their enthusiasm as their advanced became overstretched, but at Bayonet trench, the fire mowed down men from every single Company of the Battalion. One of those to fall early on in the attack was the newly promoted 2nd Lieutenant Charles Edward Catchpole.
Catch pole, was one of nine children. He heralded from the village of Kessingland, just south of the Suffolk coastal town of Lowestoft where his father ran a highly successful and prosperous fish selling business, where Charles was employed as a clerk.
An early Kitchener volunteer, he joined up in October 1914 and soon found himself at Shorncliffe as part of the 8th Battalion. His skills as a competent leader saw him promoted to Lance Corporal in early November whilst still in training. Crossing with the Battalion to France in July 1915, he was promoted shortly afterwards to Corporal and later that year, to Sergeant.
It was as Sergeant that he was awarded the Military Medal on the 19th July 1916, for the Battalions gallant actions at Longueval where 8th Suffolk attained partial success in pushing the British front line forward in the centre of the village. His award was formally gazetted on the 10th August 1916, and five weeks later, he received promotion in the field to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
Killed leading the men of his platoon forward, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. A splendid example of the rapid promotion that war gave the most able, he had risen from private to Second Lieutenant in two years. As one contemporary commentator wrote: "it was such a shame that such magnificent men never came through to the end."
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.