On 19th March 1915 at Hooge near Ypres, Private P.G. Motroni was killed whilst serving with 2nd Suffolk.
Montroni had been part of section that had gone forward under the command of 2nd Lieutenant De Castro, to take and hold a recently blown mine crater in front of the village.
At 7.00pm, the mine was blown and as soon as the dust settled, De Castro went forward with a section to consolidate the hole. Two further sections would then endeavour to cut a trench out to this 'sap' during the hours of darkness from opposite directions, thus pushing the allied line forward a few yards. However, one of those wounded in the initial advance to take the crater, was Private Motroni.
Peter George Motroni was the second son of Anthony and Carmela Motroni of Atina, Italy, who settled in Ipswich after emigrating from Italy in the 1890s. They stayed briefly in Colchester where George was born in 1895, before they settled in Ipswich the following year.
The family lived in the tiny and now completely redeveloped 'Permit Office' Street in the heart of Ipswich. The area was exceptionally poor and many of the immigrant families who lived there hoped that their children did not do well enough to attend the local grammar school since they could not afford the cost of the school uniforms. By far the highest proportion of immigrates living there were of Italian origin and the area was known well into the 1960s as 'Little Italy.'
After schooling, George enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment, aged 18 in 1913. He was with 2nd Suffolk at the Curragh, but when war was declared, he was held back from proceeding to France even though he was four weeks past his 19th birthday. However, following the 2nd Battalion's decimation at Le Cateau, he was sent with the first draft of replacements, arriving in France on 11th September.
Mr and Mrs Motroni would loose three sons before the war was over. Peter's father Anthony, would die shortly after the war ended, leaving his mother alone in the world. She had her own business - a costermongers barrow, selling fruit and vegetables at a nearby road junction, but by 1926 and the time of the General Strike, Mrs Carri Motroni or 'Matronie' as she now called herself, was one of just two Italian families still living in the street.
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.
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