As the fifth autumn of war came to the men of the 11th Battalion, they found themselves again in familiar territory when in late September, they were close once more to the village of Erquiringhem, near the Belgian border near Armentieres.
In the curious fate of war, they had been here before. The boomerang of conflict saw it stationed here in 1916, then again at the time the March Offensive, and again now, in the evening of the conflict.
On 26th September, an operational order was received to give dispositions to the Battalion, should an immediate enemy withdrawal occur. The Germans it was known, would at some point, start to withdraw once more and it was imperative that the Battalion was able to exploit its gains and keep hard at their heels.
"In the event of the retirement of the enemy from his present positions" ran the order "the advance brigade will make for the following objective: Road Junction: Croix Rouge - Flerbaix - Erguinhem. the 11th Suffolk Regiment will be ready on receipt of orders to move the present outpost line of resistance, taking over the present disposition of companies in support."
Captain C.V. Canning, Adjutant of the Battalion issued orders that they were to move as soon as a withdrawal was seen, supporting the units in front of them; the 1st East Lancashire Regiment and the 9th northumberland Fusiliers. One Company of the Battalion was to remain in reserve.
As the six copies of Canning order were distributed, those reading them could hardly fail to read the inference that an end to the conflict now seemed to be in sight, but until then, business must continue as normal. For men like Raymond Felstead, above, he was serving a third autumn in the front line. His first was with the Cambridgeshire Regiment and the two following with 11th Suffolk.
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.