At 6.00pm on the 5th June 1916, to the strains of "Goodbye Dolly Gray" the last of the Service Battalion's of the Suffolk Regiment left England for France. As the band played, the troopship slowly pulled away. it was the ninth Battalion of the Regiment to serve overseas.
The 12th (Bantam) Battalion which had been formed the previous year, was within a week of receiving news of their embarkation, at Southampton docks, where they departed for Le Havre.
One man leaving with the Battalion for France, was 21507, Drummer George Brown. Though within weeks, he would be transferred to another unit; the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers, Brown proudly played his drum as part of the Band leading the Battalion as they landed in France and marched away to the railway station where they were to journey to a training camp to start their apprenticeship for war.
The son of a carpenter, George enlisted under age at Putney, London in September 1915. Though short of 17th birthday, he declared he was 19 and had successfully avoided the numerous combings of underage men in the preceding months when the Battalion were stationed at Pirbright.
The Battalion would start in ernest learning the art of war at Lillers near Bethune, where they practiced bombing, trench building and improved their musketry. Would they be ready in time to join the forthcoming offensive? or would they be left behind as others took the fight to the Kaiser?
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.