By late May 1918, 2nd Suffolk was back to full strength following the losses it had incurred at Wancourt in late March.
The C.O. Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Stubbs, together with his Adjutant, Captain 'Val' Russell, had ensured that during the quiet time much emphasis had been placed upon training and upon inter-company co-operation.
On the night of 14/15th June,the Battalion went into action in front of the village of Hinges. The plan was to push the enemy back as far as possible and force them back over the La Bassee canal that ran through the village, so that a defensive line could be made along its southern bank.
Moving off in the darkness after midnight, the weather conditions were fine. The advance was ironically, too regimented and men moving across no-mans-land into the rubble of the village, they moved in column of file, passing several concealed German positions, before the enemy fired on them from behind. These enemy outposts were however, soon death with and the advance continued. "The centre company was held up for a time in this way" wrote the Adjutant (Russell) "The platoon commander, Lieutenant Franks, being killed in dealing with one of these posts on the assault course, there was confusion and on Ford Lane being reached, there was a gap between the centre and the left coy. with the Bosche in-between".
Concerned that the Battalion may be divided; as could have happened at Wancourt, the C.O. ordered up a platoon under Lieutenant Bennett, who promptly filled the gap. "The right company was held up on their left by a post with a machine gun" continues Russell, "The platoon commander and a Sgt. being wounded and the Coy. Commander shortly afterwards, when dealing with the situation. This left a Bouche post still holding out in the practice trenches just south of Ford Lane. 2nd Lt. Cook commanding the right front platoon had reached his objective on Ford Lane having himself shot a German Machine Gunner and put the remainder of the post out of action and was digging in when he received news of the situation onto left. He assumed command of the Coy, and organised a bombing attack and cleared up the resistance. His prompt action is most commendable."
Using the bridges still in situ, 'Y' and 'Z' Companies crossed the canal and made the other bank. Now touch was remade all along the Battalion's frontage and with the battalions on the flanks. Now, the reserve company could come forward and bring up supplies of small arms ammunition and more desperately needed Lewis gun magazines or "drums". The enemy artillery was "pretty feeble" and much of it now fell into the canal behind the Battalion.
"Signalling communication by telephone and Lucas Lamp though not through until dawn was effective from that time onwards. A message rockett (rocket) was sent from the forward post, but was not recovered though seen by the look out man. Medical arrangements worked well and the wounded were quickly cleared by the R.A.M.C. bearers. Number of prisoners unknown - about 50. Several L.M. Guns, about seven, were captured and are in use while ammunition last in the posts."
The following night, the Battalion extended its front line positions by 'X' Company under the common of Lieutenant Lummis, being brought up to take over the front line at L Pannerie on the left flank, that had previously been held by the 1st Gordon Highlanders.
The Battalion was in a good strong position. Young officers such as Lieutenant Cook, had shown not only courage but great initiative. The Battalion was now, with the exception of the CO, the Adjutant and 2 Company Commanders, staffed by young subalterns, most of whom were under 25 years old, and had only joined the Battalion in the past six months. It had come a long was since Le Cateau.
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.