During the attacks on the Quadrilateral, some Suffolks managed to get close to the position, and one section under Lieutenant Macdonald managed to get into a shell hole just yards from the outer wire of the Quadrilateral, from where he and his men could ‘lob’ bombs into the position. This show of force was, regretfully not enough to dislodge them and just before lunch, as Macdonald exposed himself to throw a bomb, he was shot through the chest by a machine gun from within the position.
Watching from a shell hole nearby, fellow officer Lieutenant Ensor, saw Macdonald hit. In full view of the enemy, he left the safety of his shell hole and ran darting like a rabbit from shell hole to shell hole to rescue his wounded comrade. Calling out his name, he finally found him in the forward positions. He applied iodine to his wounds and patched him up with a shell dressing before running back for help to get him evacuated. However the fire was so great that they dare not venture out until after dark to bring Macdonald in.
That night Lieutenant Ensor went forward again with a stretcher bearer to try to locate him. He was exactly where they had left him. Fumbling in the darkness, they managed to get him onto a stretcher and set off back to the Suffolk lines. About 100 yards from safety, they were caught in the open by a German star shell. Immediately, the guns of the Quadrilateral caught them silhouetted in no-mans-land. The stretcher bearer was shot dead, and Ensor grazed in the arm by a bullet. Macdonald was thrown off the stretcher to the ground.
However, seeing just how close they were to safety, Ensor rolled over Macdonald and in one move got him up and onto his shoulder and ran for the Suffolk lines. Darting all the way, he succeeded in getting to the Regimental Aid Post, from where Macdonald was sent to hospital. Ensor had refused all aid for his arm, until Macdonald was safely evacuated. It was then that the MO was insistent that he too was to go to hospital.
It would take five years for Macdonald to fully recover. Ensor was lucky and within a few months he was fit and well again. His wound was the start of a blossoming friendship with the nurse who tendered to him for he would marry her after the war.
For his actions that day, Lionel Ike Ensor was awarded the Military Cross.
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.