Since war was declared, men from the county of Cambridgeshire were being directed to the Depot at Bury St. Edmunds to enlist.
Cambridgeshire had no central administrational centre for it's own regimental affairs and, since it was an exclusively territorial unit, it's permanent staff and instructors were furnished by their sister Regiment in Suffolk.
As the numbers swelled, the Depot informed the Cambridgeshires that it was becoming impracticable to keep sending men onto Bury and it was instead, to make its own arrangements regarding their accommodation.
The Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely Territorial Association were tasked to take on the challenge and to find accommodation for the new recruits. From 5th September, the City’s Corn Exchange was used to billet the men, with locals providing food and drink for them. As the numbers continued to grow, it was becoming clear that even larger premises were needed and on 30th September, Melbourne Place School was used instead to house the recruits.
By 2nd October, strength of the Battalion was reported in the local press at 290 all ranks. Officers were predominantly recent graduates and undergraduates, then at the University. There was still a long way to go to attaining their ‘War Establishment’ strength of 1100 men, but they were well on their way.
Within days, their new uniforms would arrive; a dark blue version of the issue service dress, and within weeks they would be officially titled the 11th (Service) Battalion (Cambridgeshire), The Suffolk Regiment. It was in the loosest sense of the word, a ‘pals’ battalion, with in the early days, an exclusive content from Cambridgeshire.
The prefix of ‘Cambridgeshire’ remained associated with them till the end of their soldiering.
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.