Early on 1st April 1917, Captain William Campbell and Lieutenant Philip Godsal, crossed into neutral Holland after 12 days on the run. "All Fools Day" was a joyous day for these two escapees who had finally made it to freedom.
Their last few hours on the run had however, been somewhat desperate as Captain Campbell recalled:
"Having located ourselves, and knowing we were at Velen, we knew we had to cross two single line rail at right angles, and then after 6 kilometres we should be across the frontier. In rounding a village a forest guard saw us. He was walking with a women, without his belt, so we guessed he had no firearms. He halted us and said "March or I'll shoot" he started counting "one, two, three." When three came the thing fell flat as he had no revolver. We said we were Dutch and he asked to see our papers. I handed hi an identification card that I had, and at the same time hit hi over the head with a short heavy stick I was carrying. He fell but got up, and I ran after him to give him another to avoid pursuit. We were still 12 km from the frontier, and on looking round I saw the guard fell down after running after us a little way. I think he must have had a headache. We were afraid that he or the women would call out and alarm the village, but mercifully they did not.
We pushed on as quickly as possible, throwing away all our surplus kit, crossed the second single line railway, then waited an hour because the moon was bright and kept to the open as much as possible. Finally we saw the lights of Winterswick. When we got there we at once saw it was a dutch town by the style of the buildings. We found a baker just getting out some new bread; he gave us some rolls and then took us to the police, who took us to a hotel. Unfortunately we could not get a bath, but we made a good breakfast and telephones the consul, who told us to order what clothes we wanted"
Within a month, the pair were back in England and, after a brief period of leave, Campbell was off once more to the front. For his daring escape, he along with Godsal, was awarded the Military Cross in 1920.
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.