Before was was declared, the 6th (Cyclist) Battalion were already on Active Service in Suffolk.
On the 2nd August, they were still at annual camp camp at Pakefield near Lowestoft, when when the C.O. went into town for news on the impending situation in Europe. Upon reaching the nearest telephone, he called his superiors who informed him "be prepared for an attack tonight." Immediately, when the C.O. got back to camp he turned his men out and issued them with ball ammunition and sent them to the nearby coastline to await the attack that was feared.
It never came, but the Battalion were proud that they were most probably, the first territorial unit to be on active service during the Great War.
The 6th (cyclist) Battalion was originally raised by prominent Ipswichian, Lieutenant-Colonel W.T. Pretty. Upon mobilisation, they moved to their war station at Saxmundham and erected their tented encampment just outside the town. Men were flocking in from all parts of the county on their bicycles and the ranks were steadily swelling. By the end of the month, they had left Saxmundham for Ipswich to take up guard duties at two of the town's major engineering works. Billeted in the factory of the British Diesel Company, it was recorded that they were “sleeping on the oily floors amongst huge machines, with only two blankets apiece”.
Here they drilled and learnt how to 'form fours' but arms were still not forthcoming. A small stock of wooden rifles were available for drilling but only enough for one Company, and so they had to be passed round each Company in turn so everyone had a chance to drill with them.
Here they would remain until November, when they would head north to Louth in Lincolnshire to continue with their coastal duties.
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.