News came to the 4th Battalion in early November that it would soon be "on it's way."
For many in the Battalion, the prospect to serve overseas and a chance to have a crack at the Kaiser, was a tempting thought. It came however with one condition.
Active Service overseas could only be possible if a sufficient percentage of the Battalion signed the Imperial Service Obligation. Before the war, the uptake to volunteer had not exactly been successful.
In the 1913 Territorial Force returns for the county, there we just some 38 men and 1 officer, who were prepared to serve overseas if it was demanded of them. The situation had however somewhat changed in the following 18 months and, with the declaration of war and the fighting in France, it was happily noted that "to their everlasting credit, the great majority elected for overseas."
Suddenly the pace quickened. At Severalls, near Colchester; the Battalion's temporary base, they set about getting ready for service. The men, busy with preparations, had precious few spare hours, but when a respite came, many waisted no time in getting into town to get a last photograph taken to send home to their families and loved ones. On 2nd November 1914, Private Fisher (above) did just that.
One of those soon to be departing for France with the Battalion, was a young Lieutenant called J.G. Frere. He had, in the time he had spent in Essex, penned the Regimental Poem "Stabilis" coined from the old watch-word of the 12th Regiment, meaning "Steady." The words of the second verse were particularly poignant at the time in the wake of the Regiment's first major battle:-
A hundred odd years take, and again it's touch and go,
The Suffolks guards the British right not far from Le Cateau,
When, though all hope had vanished, and the shells were falling fast,
They remember the old motto and are "steady" to the last.
Within days, the Battalion would be on their way to war...
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.