On Sunday 11th October 1914, men of C Company, 5th Suffolk - who were then stationed at Colchester, were granted 48 hours leave.
C Company's recruiting ground was the area around Hadleigh and Bildeston and their local paper noted how upon their return to the town, that "one could not fail to be struck with the marked improvement in their physique and their smart soldierly appearance. Their healthy bronzed faces and general alertness showed them to be fit and well."
The Battalion had been stationed at Mile End near Colchester since September. It was here that they were asked to volunteer for service overseas. It came as somewhat of a surprise to some who had assumed that the actual fighting would be confined to the regular battalions, leaving themselves for home defence. However, over 75% volunteered immediately, with almost all of the remainder volunteering in the following days.
With their homes less than 10 miles away, most men wasted no time in getting home for a few hours to see their families and loved ones. Those of the Company who went home, left Hadleigh station on the evening of Monday 13th October to return to Colchester. The station was packed with relatives and well wishers who came to wave them off, and it was noted in the local newspaper that at the station, "fog signals were discharged in their honour" as the train departed.
The Battalion was to remain in Eseex for some weeks to come before they moved to Thetford to train en-masse with their colleagues from Norfolk as part of the 54th (East Anglian) Division.
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.