On 11th March 1917, 5th Suffolk started to move into new positions in the desert to prepare for the forthcoming offensive against the Turks.
From Mohamadeih, they marched in the sweltering heat to Rabah, then onwards to Khirba. Along the way, new drafts of men trickled in to join the Battalion, including a few who had recovered from wounds and illness picked up at Gallipoli.
Days before the Battalion packed up and prepared to move forward, they had seen in the desert, a new and wonderful machine of war they had heard had been used on the Western Front; the Tank. Captain E.D. Wolton wrote that: "On the 3rd, we reached Gilban, where the great "Tank" secret was learned. There had been rumours for some weeks, and, in spite of all official denials on the subject, it was fairly well known that they had been landed at Alexandria."
The tank has had a spluttering, but not exactly glorious entrance to war. Its first "trundling" to war was at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in September 1916 in the latter half of the Somme campaign. It met with mixed successes but there was no denying that it had a great fear factor in the face of the enemy. Now, it was this machine and this fear factor, that the Allies hoped would give them a kick start in the offensive that was to come in the weeks ahead in Gaza.
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.