“There Is A Story, Such As Painters Ought To Make Immortal And Historians To Celebrate, Of How Certain Suffolks, Cut Off And Surrounded, Fought Back To Back On The Wancourt-Tilloy Road"
In 1920, the Regiment commissioned an artist from within its ranks to immortalise their gallant stand in oil. Ernest Smyth who served with the 7th Battalion, had already painted “Crossing the Cavery” the year before (which depicted the storming of the palace at Seringapatam in 1899 by men of the 12th Regiment), was now asked to capture Captain Bakers gallant stand of ‘Z’ Company.
Though there was a great deal of ‘artistic licence’ used, within it, there is great detail. The tank that was brought up that morning to assist them that broke down can be seen in the background. Men of the Gordon Highlanders, whose flank gave way, can be seen pouring back past Baker’s position, and on the left epaulettes of the men’s jackets can be seen the yellow patch of ‘Z’ Company (‘W’ wore blue, ‘X’ wore green and ‘Y’ wore red).
It was said that before the Second World War, every pub in Suffolk had a copy of the print on its wall. At its bottom, there was published a quote from the London Times from April 5th 1918 that ran “There is a story, such as painters ought to make immortal and historians to celebrate, of how certain Suffolks, cut off and surrounded, fought back to back on the Wancourt-Tilloy Road"
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.