As his counterparts in 5th Suffolk vacated the Roundhouse, Signaller Sydney Fuller of 8th Suffolk was enjoying his first period of leave since he arrived in France with the Battalion the previous year.
On 27th November, he had left Boulogne bound for Folkestone, arriving there a few hours afterwards. After a journey by train, the following morning he was back home in his home town of Ely, having a good hot bath and a chance to relax in the quiet of his parents home for a few days before returning to the front.
"Reached home about 8 a.m." he wrote in his diary, "and had a good hot bath for a start - a good many "undesirables" had accompanied me from France. Having got rid of my "bosom friends" I turned in, and slept till 9 p.m. I then had a cup of cocoa, and went to sleep again, waking at 8 a.m. next morning."
For the next week Sydney completed "the usual 'leave' stunts" visiting members of his family. after viviting his aunt, he wrote in his diary "she supposed I like France much beter than England, as no doubt there was more excitement there. I assured her that it was most exciting at ties. Evidently she thought we were fighting with air-balls, or something of that sort. Ignorance being very obviously bliss, I did not destroy any illusions"
On 7th December, his leave drew to a close and Sydney was back on the train at Ely, heading for Liverpool Street station in London. The following day, he was once again crossing the channel arriving in Boulogne around noon. By early evening, he was back with the Battalion.
Leave was for men, like Sydney, a much looked-forward-to affair. Normally the average British soldier would be allotted one seven day period of leave every eight months. He would be allocated several small periods of leave throughout his service, but these normally ranged from a few hours to 48 hours in duration; long enough it was considered to get the men away from the front for a rest, but not long enough for any of them to make a dash for home.
Leave in the UK did have a great advantage as the balance of ones pay was given over in English pounds, rather than French Francs. However, men with anything between £5 and £35 in their pockets could get into all sorts of trouble in the countless bars, clubs and brothels that were to be found in any great town or city at home.
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.