"Thank You Ever So Much For Sending Me The Battalion Bugle As A Memento Of The “Old 9th”, I Shall Prize It As One Of My Most Cherished Possessions In the Years To Come”
Whilst their counterparts in the 8th Battalion were drowning their sorrows over the news of their disbandment, a similar process was being enacted within the ranks of the 9th Battalion.
Early in the New Year, the C.O. of the 9th Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Latham received the similar news that imminently his Battalion was also to be disbanded.
The War Diary noted that on 29th January: “The officers of the Battalion had a farewell dinner as the Battn is to be disbanded in the near future owing to shortages of man power. Letters from Divisional and Brigade Commanders were read out by the Commanding Officer”
Of the 29 officers present, all knew that within days they would be posted away to other units and on the 2nd February 1918, their movement orders were received.
Two drafts were to be sent to other Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment. The first draft of 15 officers and 300 men were to join the 11th Battalion, with the second of 12 officers and 300 men, were to join the 12th Battalion. Like the 8th, they would at least remain under the badge of the Suffolk Regiment.
On the 5th February, these drafts departed by lorries for their respective new units. The Divisional Commander arrived to personally say farewell to them as the Dairy continues; “The Divisional General said good bye to Battn at 9.30am wishing the officers, CO and men the best of luck and thanking the Bn. For the good work they had done since being with the Division. Bugles were presented to the G.O.C. Division, Brigade, Brigade Major and Staff Captain. Captain Scudamore and the oldest members of the Battalion, letters of thanks”.
To Captain Scudamore, the oldest surviving member of the Battalion who had been with it since its formation at Bury St. Edmunds and its subsequent training and embodiment at Shoreham, was presented a bugle purchased by the Battalion before it left England. From his new Battalion, he wrote to Colonel Latham to thank him; “Dear Colonel latham, Thank you ever so much for sending me the Batt’n Bugle as a memento of the “Old 9th” I shall prize it as one of my most cherished possessions. It will serve to remind me – if there should be any need to do so – of the many good friends and happy associations 1 held in the Batt’n. now about to be disbanded. Again thanking you for the kindly thought which prompted so an appropriate parting gift. Yours very sincerely, Scudamore, Capt.”
For a Battalion that had been born of Kitchener’s call to arms, they had achieved greatness. At Loos perhaps it was their finest hour. Though ‘green’ to combat they won the Regiment’s first Victoria Cross, but perhaps it was on the Somme that they were at their zenith. At the costly attack on the Quadrilateral, they had shown true valour, only to be beaten back by withering fire.
In a life so short, it's citizen soldiers had shown themselves to be the equals of their regular counterparts. They had proved their worth in times of need and had won the honours and respect of their superior officers.
The "Old 9th" had done well.
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.