The 7th Battalion had had a relatively quiet time since New Year.
They had been heavily mauled in the counter-attack following their successful advance to Lateau Wood in November 1917, but were desperately under strength until they were reinforced with two sizeable drafts in early 1918.
January and most of February, had been a time of training in rear areas behind the river Lys near Fleurbaix. However, between the 7th and 14th February, the Battalion were in the front line at Sailly near Fleurbaix. Enemy shellfire caused casualties daily, and enemy aircraft roamed overhead gunning-up the front line adding to the casualty lists. One of the fatal casualties incurred by the Battalion during the period, was No. 19949, Private Charles Luff of ‘A’ Company.
The Luff family from Long Sutton had no fewer than four brothers who all served at the front. Perhaps what is more remarkable is that all four men served in the Suffolk Regiment, and all appear to have served in the 7th Battalion.
Privates Arthur (seated first left above), George (seated second left above) Walter (seated third left above) and Charles Luff, all enlisted at the same time with service numbers all stating with “91”. Walter Luff was wounded on the Somme and after recovering from his wounds was posted to the Labour Corps to recover. Arthur too suffered a similar fate, and George was promoted Corporal in 1917 after the advance to the Hindenburg Line, and came through unscathed.
Charles, not seen on the photograph above, was the families only fatality. Born in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, by the early 1900s, the Luff family had moved to south Lincolnshire, continuing with their trade as labourers on the land. In 1914, all the brothers enlisted into the Army together, travelling to Cambridge to sign-on.
In 1916, shortly before the battle of the Somme, the Vicar of Long Sutton reported that he had received news from the 'Boys’ at the front and that they were “well and happy and enjoy their lives. Not one of them would come home if they had the chance”.
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.