On 22nd June 1916, Lieutenant Isaac Alexander "Alec" Mack, arrived back in France to rejoin the 11th Battalion after a few days of leave in England.
“Leave" he had written in his diary on the 14th June, "that Will-o'-the-Wisp which everyone possesses, but which evades all but the staff, and the very lucky."
It was a testament to the British Army's efficient organistaion of the French railways that, having left the Battalion at 8.30am on the morning of the 14th June, he was on a train to Le Havre, stopping only once for lunch. by early afternoon, he was on a boat, and by breakfast the following day, he was leaving Southampton for Waterloo station.
"Winnie met me at Waterloo, or rather I met her, gazing forlornly at streams of strange soldiers. All morning at Harold's offices and shopping, lunching at the Criterion, &c. Then on to Win's to tea and back in bare time to the Savoy to change for dinner. Then to "To-night's the night"—topping seats and a good show.”
After an all too shorter time, Mack was heading back to France at the end of his leave. News of the forthcoming "big push" was heavy in the air. He had spent most of the previous months attached to a trench mortar battery engaged with the Battalion, but had seen the effects of war bite deep into his close circle of friends. Many whom he had been at school and later university with, had been killed and his letters home reflected his sadness at their deaths.
His last letter home, written before his leave, concluded; “I am very fit and well, and hope to be home on June 15th. Old Wroxan, who shared a room with me at Cambridge, was killed the other day—he had only been out about a month. “Socks, cake and all sorts of nice things received. Much love to all, from your loving Son, ALEC.”
The war was coming close to Mack. It would come closer still in the days to come.
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.