On 27th October 1918, the 11th Battalion (Cambs/Suffolks) were ordered to advance once more. They had only just recovered from their tough fight on the 24th to take the river banks north east of the village of Vendegies, when they were ordered to attack again over the river Rhonelle and establish a firm base on the high ground beyond.
‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies were to advance first. Advancing up to the river over the undulating ground, the enemy were found to be in strength on each bank of the river. Heavy machine gun fire came down on them and both companies were forced to go to ground. ‘A’ Company who had been behind them in support, immediately moved round on the left to try and outflank the machine gunners.
In the face of close-range fire, a platoon under the command of Corporal S.F. Staden MM, worked valiantly to silence the guns. In a final gallant attack, Staden told the rest of his party to go back and alone, he went on, firing his Lewis gun. He was last seen fighting amid a large party of Germans. He was killed shortly afterwards.
A few days later when the enemy were driven back, the Battalion pressed onwards and passed over this ground again. Here they found the grave of Corporal Staden who had been buried by the Germans in the back garden of a house along the banks of the river.
The grave was marked with a wooden cross that had his identity disc nailed to it. The cross was inscribed with a poignant epitaph “Zu Einem Sehr Tapferen Engländer” – “To A Very Brave Englishman”.
A native of Bury St. Edmunds, Stanley Staden had enlisted on 8th August 1914 and was posted to the 8th Battalion. He won the Military Medal in February of 1918 when the Battalion were in the St. Floris sector of the line. In February 1920, Corporal Staden’s grave was moved to Cross Roads Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Fontaine au Bois.
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.