On 13th January 1917, Lieutenant H.B. Monier-Williams was sitting in the door of a newly captured German dug-out. Using his Army Book No. 3; which was designed for field sketching, he recorded the scene that lay before him.
The Adjutant "Pop" was at work at a makeshift desk, catching up on the business of the Battalion. Behind him was two bunks; simple wooden frames over which chicken wire was stretched. In the top bunk, hung an officers greatcoat, the Lieutenant's pips visible on the epaulettes. On the side of the bunk was a waterbottle in its webbing cradle with the cork stopper in place. On the opposite wall, an officers service dress cap was hung on a old nail alongside a gas hood in it's satchel, distinctive by its two buttons.
The Adjuatant worked by candlelight; the stub of a guttering candle stuffed in an old condensed milk tin; it's sides performated with holes which threw weird shapes upon the dug-out walls.
He sat on an upturned wooden ammunition box, seen in the foreground with its distinctive dovetailed corners and sliding lid. It bore the label ".303 INCH IN BANDOLIERS." It was a record of a unique moment in time.
Hugh Benyon Monier-Williams was commissioned into the Suffolk Regiment in May 1915. He joined the 3rd Battalion at Felixstowe a week or so later, he found himself on the Western Front with a new draft of men bolstering the ranks of the 2nd Battalion. He became their Machine Gun Officer and later that year with the formation of the Machine Gun Corps in October, he transferred to 50th Company, M.G.C., rejoining 2nd Suffolk in 1917.
He won the Military Cross in January 1918, and added a Bar to it later that year. He stayed with 2nd Suffolk until 1921, when he transferred to the 1st Battalion, serving with them in Malabar in 1921-22.
A prolific artist and Regimental Historian, he was Adjutant to the 4th Battalion in 1927, and later Commanding Officer at the Depot. It was during his tenure here in the mid 1930s, that he was responsible for the creation of the now legendary, Regimental Museum. It was originally housed in a small room in the eves of the Officers Mess.
During the Second World War, he commanded 2nd Suffolk in India, where he was affectionately known as "Moanie-Bill." He later served in Europe on the staff of 21st Army Group and then as part of the Allied Control Council, earning an OBE in 1946.
In 1955, as a retired officer, he wrote and profusely illustrated "The Story of The Colours" it is still the seminal work on the subject. Monier-William's was Suffolk to the core. He cared passionately in the Regiment's past and did much to record its history. Were it not for him, we would not have such a fine Regimental Museum; a museum that is still unrivalled anywhere else in Britain.
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.