"Most Of Our Troops Were Suffolk Men And We All Had The Same Temperament - Steady And Slow, Not Dashing And Daring. Reliable Men"
The actions at Zonnebeke were a textbook example of fighting combat. Men moved in close co-operation with the creeping barrage, using the terrain to their advantage. Captain Louis Baker later recalled the action; "We were just on the right of the village of Zonnebeke as you looked towards the Germans, in front of Zonnebeke Lake. Our objective was a place called Le Moulin, so it was marked on the map, but we couldn’t see a mill or any sign of one. We’d had no trouble getting up and there were tapes laid to show us our assembly positions. People say that the morale of the Army had gone down in those days- well, it hadn’t in our battalion. The idea of anyone refusing to go over the top was absolutely absurd. Of course, we were a regular battalion and although there were very few regular people left in it after the Somme, most of our troops were Suffolk men and we had all had the same temperament- steady and slow, not dashing and daring. Reliable men".
For Baker, and the Battalion, the casualties has been slight. In the advance, which was just short of a thousand yards, few men fell to the enemy's fire. Thick mist enveloped the advance up the hill from the river Steenbeek, towards the village brick kiln just to the right of the chateau. In those last few remaining yards, casualties occurred from the barrage which was gradually slowing.
Baker continues: "Well, we did it. We made it. We advanced about a mile, thanks to the mist. The trouble was that we couldn’t find this mill. I could see this patch of water and I said, ‘Well, that must be Zonnebeke Lake and that must be the church, what’s left of it’- for it was just a pile of rubble but I can’t see the Windmill. And then as I was looking round I saw a faint trace of a track with some white rubble at the end of the track, and that was it. That was ‘Le Moulin, just on the edge of Zonnebeke. We had no trouble, just the usual fighting, and we also had a shrapnel barrage which burst on top of the mist. You could see the flash going in front of us and it was very accurate, and we followed that all the time until we got to our objective. It was so easy that some people got wounded, because they went on so fast into our own barrage and through 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.