In early September, the 15th Battalion found itself plunged for the first time, into a major battle on the Western Front.
Having been kept in reserve in the vicinity of “Hind Leg Wood" until the 3rd September, when they were moved into "Scutari Trench" to support 229 Brigade in the forthcoming attack.
On the 5th September, an attack was launched against the enemy between Templeux La Fosse and Curlu Wood in front of the village of Epehy. Two Company’s were moved up, with two remaining along the canal in Moislains.
“At 9.30 am the situation changed” recorded the War Diary, “and on receipt of a Bde Order, the Bn. was ordered to side-step behind 231 Bde, and take over from them on the southern half of the Div’n front”. At 11.30 am the attack began, but it was not until 1.15 pm that the Battalion moved off. “The advance on the 1st objective (Blue Line) was begun. The Bn. Passed through the 231 Bde, and pushed on. On approaching Larris trench, very heavy shell fire was experienced and met with a maze of barbed wire, causing a good deal of confusion”.
Larris Trench was occupied around 4.00 pm, and after the reserve Company’s came forward, the two leading Company’s pressed on and continued with the advance. Pressing onto their objective; the ‘Yellow’ line, “the whole of the line came under very heavy H.E. fire from the right causing a number of casualties in the leading coys. Shelling, H.E. and gas was also very heavy”.
However, running out of steam, the advance was slowing and the yellow line was not reached. The men were exhausted and suffering from the effects of an enemy gas attack. “The men were very tired” wrote the War Diary, “and wanted water badly." The C.O. decided to consolidate on line about 400 yards short of yellow line and try again after dark.
On the relatively few casualties incurred by the Battalion that day, was No. 320836, Private Bernard Mann. The son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Mann of Clapham Road, Lowestoft, he was killed on 5th September 1918 when the Battalion was attacking Templeux la Fosse. A Lewis gunner by trade, he was killed by shrapnel in the advance. He had previously been wounded during the advance to Jerusalem in November 1917. His officer wrote to his family “He did excellent work during our last engagement and his loss is keenly regretted by all of us”.
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.