At Poelkapelle on 12th October, Private Ernie Doy ran amidst the enemy shells to run messages between the CO out in front and the Adjutant in his shell hole astride the Dixmude Road. Badly gassed that afternoon, he never failed in his task. Stumbling with eyes watering, he always got the message through.
Doy was a Suffolk man through and through. Born in 1896 in Hasketon, he enlisted in 1914 going to join the 8th Battalion at Shorncliffe. At the attack on Thiepval in September 1916, he was to be awarded the Military Medal. At Poelkapelle, he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallant actions and in the final battles of 1918, he gained a Bar to his MM.
He was a typically modest Suffolk soldier. He lived alone in his parents small cottage at Hasketon to which he had returned after the War. He seldom talked of his war, but was always present at the village war memorial every year. Until is 80th Birthday, he lived there alone with no modern conveniences. His toilet or the "Karsy" as he referred to it, was a small brick shed at the bottom of the garden with a broken door. Visitors had to bare all with a small tatty windbreak to cover their modesty. On one occasion in the deep snow, he made it out, but could not make it back. He remained there for several hours until the blizzard subsided and he could stagger back to the house.
When his eyesight failed in his late 70s; due to the gas he had suffered at Poelkapelle, he was forced to leave his cottage and go into care at Felixstowe, where he lost his sight completely. His good chum Harrow Haddow of the London Branch of the Old Comrades Association, secured him a place in the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, but being a modest man, Ernie remarked "that place is for heroes, not blokes like me".
Soon he became wheelchair bound; a state of affairs that was not to Ernie's liking and his condition deteriorated. He moved to a care home at Wickham Market, closer to his home village, but he died in January 1984 aged 88. He was buried in Parham Churchyard.
With grateful thanks to Taff Gillingham for the above photograph.
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.