For the men of the 9th Battalion, newly arrived in France, their days of waiting for action were drawing to an end.
On the 21st September, they left their camp at Alette where they had been since 1st September, and proceeded by route march, the distance of 21 miles, to Matringhen, where they would rest, before proceeding on again further towards the front.
That day of departure from camp also brought a change of command. Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Henry Denne Stracey who had been with the Battalion since early June, departed to take command of the 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. The men were sorry to see him go. He had got them ready for war and had taken them to France, but in his place, a new leader emerged in the form of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Vernon Guest Brettell.
Brettell, who had come from the 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, was a professional pre-war soldier. He's started his career in the East Surrey's as a young subaltern in 1899, joining them at Jhansi in India. Rising through the ranks, he was a Captain by 1910 when his Battalion were stationed at Plymouth and by 1913, he was Major. At the outbreak of war came a promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel. It would be Brettell that would take them into action for the first time.
The men were in fine spirit and were ready to have a crack at the Bosche, yet the forthcoming days would be ones of long route marches, which brought them step by step, closer to the front. These tiring journeys would sap the mens morale and test them almost to breaking point before all was asked of them.
"Another dawn, another day" someone wrote in later years, "and always just one more mile to go." Carrying all that they possessed, would these men be in a fit state to fight when the great day came?
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.