Of the many gallant actions by members of 2nd Suffolk, at Courcelles-le-Comte and Gomiecourt, perhaps none more so exemplified just how far the British Army had evolved than the award of the Military Cross to Lieutenant W.M. Lummis.
"For conspicuous gallantry and good leadership. Through thick fog he led his company, under complete control, to the objective. He personally rushed an enemy machine gun position and killed the crew. Later, he led his company forward with great determination, in the face of very heavy enemy fire. He set a splendid example determined courage to those under him."
Lummis, then commanding it is believed 'Y' Company, had risen through the ranks of the Army. From a humble county clerk in his home village of Coddenham near Ipswich, in 1904, he enlisted into the 11th Hussars (Price Albert's Own) - a regiment still very much recruited from Suffolk and the eastern counties. Promotion came rapidly to the model soldier who by 1911, a Lance Sergeant and responsible for the composition and setting of their regimental gazette.
Upon the outbreak of the Great War, Lummis, who was only 28 years old was the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant; the youngest man of that rank in the British Army and with them he went to France in 1914, fighting at Mons, and its subsequent retreat. In 1916 he was offered a commission and opted for his country regiment of Suffolk, joining the 2nd Battalion in March 1916 and remaining with Battalion until the Armistice.
Lummis was typical of many a 'temporary gentleman' brought up through the ranks to a commission, much swifter in wartime that in peacetime soldering. He was a man who learnt upon the job and saw the Battalion evolve much in the time he served with it between the battles at Longueval and Serre onto Somme, through the successful battles of Zonnebeke, and into the bitter defeats of the March Offensive. By the time he won his MC, the Battalion was by far, in its finest fettle. There were by a handful of men who were still serving with it the, that has been at Le Cateau, but many such as Lummis himself had joined it in the time in-between and had helped shape it into the fine fighting unit it had become by late summer 1918.
Within weeks, Lummis himself would be taking its command as the Battalion was to fight its last major battle upon the Western Front.
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.