After four long years of conflict, the Great War was entering the twilight of its existence. In these days, there was rapid advances with many prisoners taken. Everywhere the German's were being beaten back. Now in curious twists of fate, the last two fighting Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment were within a few miles of one another east of Cambrai, close to that town of magical, mystical and historical importance to the 2nd Battalion; Le Cateau, where four years before, their were to fight their first major action against the enemy.
No more than five miles away from them, on the 22nd October 1918 the 11th Battalion were in billets south of Cambrai. The Battalion has spent the preceding days in much training. Though the usual training continued in drill and their was the usual inspections of arms, trench stores and SBR's (Small Box Respirators), there was also a new drill that had not been practiced for some time - ceremonial. There was maybe a though or too in someones mind that soon a formal parade would be necessary.
There was no denying that every day that passed, came news of more great leaps forward. Surely they would be news soon that the enemy were to ask for an armistice? The CO had that day, sent a billeting party on ahead to the next posting of the Battalion and all blankets had been stacked and returned to stores. The Adjutant C.V. Canning, had sent the staff of Battalion HQ on first on bicycles, whilst he and Lieutenant Williamson, remained to hand over the billets and all its contents to the next unit.
Though they were to proceed to a village some 9 miles away; St. Aubert, just prior to the move, the CO received news that they were to move instead to positions along the river Escallion, from where they once again, advance to take another village, over another stream. It was very much business as usual. As one 11th Suffolk soldier had noted some weeks before as the war continued, "luck deserts 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.