One Man When Awakened To Be Told The News Grunted, “Nice Thing, Waking A Bloke Up To Tell Him He’s Out Of Work” – Turned Over And Went To Sleep Again!”
No Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment were in combat on that last day and there was all but the expectation of the inevitable that the end had come. Signaller Sydney Fuller, who had started his career with the 8thBattalion but had been fighting with the Cambridgeshire Regiment since May, recalled the moment that the news came through: “At 1 am we were awakened by the man doing night duty on the telephone. He said “All over boys, he’s signed it” One man when awakened to be told the news grunted, “Nice thing, waking a bloke up to tell him he’s out of work” – turned over and went to sleep again!”
Captain W.N. Nicholson, who had been commissioned into the Suffolk Regiment in 1914, was a staff officer at the time of the Armistice. Waiting in a front line trench near Cambrai, he recalled the final few hours of the War: “A German machine gun remained in action the whole morning opposite our lines. Just before 11 am., a thousand rounds were fired from it practically a ceaseless burst. At five minutes to eleven the machine gunner got up, took off his hat to us, and walked away. At. 11 am, there came great cheering from the German lines and the village bells rang. But on our side there were only a few shouts. The match was over; it had been a damned bad game.”
In far away Salonika, Lieutenant Victor Farmer already knew the war was over, but that day held special memories for him: “We were all in bed when the telephone bell rang in the adjoining room. Barry Higgins said “Tomson, answer the telephone”. Tomson duly complied and reported that the Quartermasters Stores had not received our ration of jam and marmalade tins. A few minutes later the telephone rang again “Tomson answer the telephone”. Tomson demurred saying it was farmers turn this time. So I got our of bed and went sleepily to the telephone. I heard the message and said “Hrsmph” and went back to my bed. Higgins asked me what the message was this time. I replied laconically “The German Forces have signed an Armistice with the Allies. Hostilities will cease at eleven o’clock”. We turned over and went to sleep.”
In the Middle East, a Captain Wolton of the 5th Battalion recalled the news arriving “we were preparing for a lengthy stay when news of the armistice with Germany came to hand, and Christmas at home seemed possible and even probable. The news was celebrated by a display of very lights and coloured flares and a salvo from our trench mortar battery.”
The “Kaisers War” was over. Now there would hopefully be peace.
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.