In the fighting of August 15th, the chaplain of the 1/5th Battalion distinguished himself in battle. Captain, the Reverend Pierrepont Edwards, lead a volunteer stretcher part forward under heavy fire to assist in bringing in the wounded of the battle. Under heavy enemy fire, he succeeded in getting many wounded men of the Battalion back to the Suffolk lines. At one point, a stretcher bearer was hit in the waist by shrapnel in front of him. Without hesitation, he got him onto the stretcher he was carrying and got him back to safety. A man down, he continued working with the other stretcher bearer as his number 2. For his actions that day, he would be awarded the Military Cross.
The Reverend Charles Pierrepont Edwards was known popularly as the "Fighting Parson" or "Old Spiery." He worked before the Great War as a curate in an East End mission, where it was rumoured, he was not afraid to use his fists to settle a disagreement between those of his flock. He had served in South Africa with the Essex Yeomanry, and joined 1/5th Suffolk in 1914.
In 1916, he left the 5th Battalion to serve with the Imperial War Graves Commission. The work that he carried out at Gallipoli after the withdrawal in January 1916, was instrumental in establishing the fate of the 'vanished' 5th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, who were part of the same Brigade as 5th Suffolk. After the war he became a Clerk to the West Mersey Parish Council.
A man who "blessed all with his humour, kindness and energy," he died in 1946 and had erected in his honour, a set of memorial gates at the entrance to village church. At the annual reunion of the officers of the 5th Battalion, a toast was given to 'the fighting parson' who every year declined an invitation to attend.
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.