On 19th July, two company's of 2nd Suffolk were positioned along the ridge which ran in front of the village of Longueval in the southern sector of the Somme battlefield.
Late the previous day, they had moved into position here to relive elements of 1st Gordon Highlanders who had previously occupied the old German front line in this sector. The other two company's of 2nd Suffolk, were stationed slightly to the west in "Caterpillar Valley"
Late in the afternoon, the Germans brought down heavy, concentrated artillery fire in this area, scoring a direct hit on the Adjutant's temporary HQ. Captain & Adjutant H.C.N. Trollope, who was inside, was badly wounded, and two orderly's, Privates Scoggins and Smith were killed.
For Captain Trollope, it was his second wounding. He been badly wounded in action at Bellewaarde in the Ypres salient the previous June, and had only been back with the Battalion for a few months. The wounds he received that day were not too serious, and after he had un-dug himself from the wreckage of his dugout, he walked to the Advanced Dressing Station for treatment.
The two privates killed that day were both holders of gallantry awards. No. 8863, Horace James Scoggins, was a holder of the DCM, and 3/8894, William Brooks Smith, the MM. No sooner had Trollope evacuated himself, when a second stock landed on the HQ dugout, badly wounding Lieutenant Pickard-Cambridge and killing or wounding six orderly's that were inside.
At around 8.00pm, a message was received that they were to withdraw the two company's from in front of Longueval village, and pull back to the old British front line, where they would receive orders for an attack the following day. At 10.30pm, verbal orders were given to the Battalion from the Brigade Major; Major Congreve, who had personally reconnoitred the ground fro the forthcoming attack. By candlelight in the cellar of an old farmhouse, Congreve outlined the plan of attack to all officers and platoon commanders of 2nd Suffolk. He "explained the situation and pointed out the plan of attack."
2nd Suffolk were to clear the village of Longueval and sweep northeast to attack German positions on the northern corner of the wood. Elements of 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers were holding a straggling line on a track through the wood, running east to west, known as "Princes Street." 2nd Suffolk were to try and link up with them in another track running north to south called "Stand Street" which intersected "Princes Street" about 150 yards into the wood.
W and Y company's were to be in the first line of the attack. Each Company was to be split into 2 lines of 2 platoons each. A frontage of 140 yards was requested of each Company, which meant that the men would be pretty well bunched up in the initial advance in the open. X Company were in support, travelling in the centre of the advance, and Z Company were in reserve.
The attack would commence at dawn, so with the conclusion of the briefing, the platoon commanders departed to relay information to their senior NCOs and get what sleep they could. They would be attacking at 3.30 am in the morning in complete darkness, and assembling and organising their men on the battlefield would be an almost impossible task. Would they be able to do it?
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.