On 8th July 1916, another Battalion of The Suffolk Regiment arrived in the Somme Sector.
The 2nd Battalion was rushed down from the Ypres sector to support the line in the Carnoy area of the battlefront; the southernmost sector of the Somme nearest the French. No sooner had the Battalion arrived and bivouacked in the village than Company Commander; Lieutenant W.G. Chandler was wounded by shrapnel. The battle, though eight days old, was still going on with much bitterness on either side.
The following evening, patrols of 2nd Suffolk under the command of 2/Lieutenant H.P. Garnham and 2/Lieutenant R.A. Johnson, were sent out in front of the village to establish the strength of the enemy. The Brigade Major; Major Congreve, who had before the war, been in charge of the Army School of Musketry at Hythe, was out in no-mans-land reconnoitring the situation and asked for support in assessing and recording the positions that affronted them. In Lieutenant Garnham’s patrol was Sergeant F. Lynn who was killed as the patrol returned to the Suffolk lines.
3/9012, Sergeant Frederick Lynn was a Kitchener’s Army man. Most likely one of the first drafts to be sent to the 2nd Battalion in early 1915, when they were detached from the East Surrey’s and made an entire Suffolk Battalion again. In February, he showed great gallantry in command of a bombing party in the Salient when he pressed-on to block a German advance. Though half his section were either killed or wounded, Lynn’s skilful command of his remaining men, ensured that the Germans were kept at bay. For his actions that day, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, though due to an oversight of administration, it was not formally announced until March 1916.
Corporal, later Sergeant Frederick Lynn was a pre-war regular soldier though he had left the Army in 1911. When war was declared he enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment and found himself at Felixstowe with the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion. He had previously served between 1905 and 1911 in the 3rd Battalion, The Norfolk Regiment.
Lynn was not however Lynn. His real name was Robert John England and his service with The Norfolk Regiment was abruptly ended in November 1911 when he was discharged for striking a superior officer. He had previously been in trouble many times before for striking other officers, being absent without official leave and for the loss of government property. Clearly England, was not a ‘model’ soldier.
However despite this chequered past, England was like many gripped by patriotic fever, and in a time when men were desperately needed, checks as to genuine names, ages and previous service, were often overlooked. It was perhaps this 'colourful' past that caused England to cross the border and re-enlist in Suffolk under the assumed name of Lynn.
England, or Lynn, was clearly a brave and courageous soldier, who gallantry was above reproach, yet like many, he hated the discipline of the Army life. Maybe The Suffolk Regiment had changed him?
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.