"This Was A Bad Day For Us, As We Had Lost Our C.O. And There Was No Prospect Of Getting Him Back, Ever Again”
After a long and glorious career, the 7th (Service) Battalion suffered the fate of its contemporaries, being reduced to cadre for disbandment.
The 7th Battalion was the first of the New Army ‘Service’ Battalions to be formed in 1914 and had proved itself well over the three years of War it had served at the front. On Sunday 19th May came it’s official disbandment and its merger with the 1/1st Battalion, the Cambridgeshire Regiment, who ranks were also depleted following the March Offensive.
It was a happy union not only because of their close geographical locations, but because since time began, the Suffolk Regiment had always looked after the administration of their neighbours across the border. The merger met with no disapproval.
For Sydney Fuller, who had started his career in 8th Battalion, then been transferred to the 7th Battalion, now he was on the move again to the Cambridgeshire’s. Officially entered onto the "book" those who had opted for service with the Cambs, waited in their current positions, whilst those who had chosen to remain at Base, marched away into history. It seemed like the absolute end to some and the Battalion Commander came around to cheer those who had remained before he himself departed.
“The CO and Major Bull left us, shaking hands with all of us before leaving" wrote Sydney Fuller "The C.O. told us that if we got into trouble, or required any help, we were to write to him and he would do his best for us. The Cambs marched into Acheaux and took the place of the Suffolk’s as ‘reserve’ batt. of 35th Brigade. “Cambs” cap badges and numerals were issued to us and deficiencies in our kits were noted for replacement. This was a bad day for us, as we had lost our CO and there was no prospect of getting him back, ever again”.
The men of the 8th held their C.O. G.V.W. Hill in almost saintly status. A soldiers soldier, he had always had their interests and well-being at heart. The men respected him for this and for his paternal care of them. They were truly sorry to see him leave.
Two days previously, Fuller had seen the leaning Virgin on the battered spire of the Basilica in Albert, brought down by shell fire. So the legend stated, when it fell, the War would end. Fuller like many hoped that there was not there much more of this to go?
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.