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gem22

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  • 2 months later...
Guest birdflightless

Hi Garth,

I am rersearching the following two soldiers on my local memorial, and would appreciate any info on the actions on their death dates.

The men are as follows,

No. 49989, A.J.Bird, d. 24/09/18 Probably 1st Batt.(later joined M.G.C.)

No. 17443, G.H.Butcher, d. 6/4/17,11th Batt.

Thank you

Stewart

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Stewart

1st Battalion were in Salonika

"By July 4 the battalion, having been relieved by the Greeks, withdrew behind the Butkova line towards lake Doiran, with battalion headquarters near Sarakli.

When the Allied offensive began on September 14 the battalion, greatly reduced in strength owing to the ravages of malaria and influenza, was relieved in the Signal Grec Avance sector by a unit of a composite (half Greek) brigade, and on the night of September 17-18 moved out to its assembly positions on the right of the Cretan Division. This division was to seize the hills running north-east from lake Doiran, and so place itself astride the only road by which the Bulgarian troops at Doiran could retire. For a week before the actual attack opened points in the enemy's position were bombarded. Camps were pitched behind the line, in which fatigue men lit fires, while reserve units marched about in full view of the enemy, but out of artillery range. The British-Greek offensive was, in fact, thoroughly advertised so as to pin the Bulgarian reserves to the ground and keep them away from the line of the Serbian-French advance. The task of the Cretan Division, which was only about 10,000 strong instead of double that number, was to rush the Bulgarian outposts on the Butkova plain and then to advance against a strong position which the Bulgarians, under German supervision, had been preparing for three years. The 28th Divisional Artillery was to advance as soon as the outposts had been driven in, and then to desroy the wire in tlie positions round Kodzagoria wood, a four-hour halt being ordered, expressly for that purpose, before the main position was to be attacked. The 84th Brigade was ordered to protect the right flank of the Cretan Division, and also the artillery, from counter-attack from the Belashitza positions. At dawn the leading Greek brigade rushed the Bulgar outpost position along the Salonika-Constantinople railway, the battalion advancing to Cakli station and Kodzagoria wood. The 84th Brigade was in echelon, the

the 2nd Cheshire Regiment beinp in front and the ist Suffolk Regiment next. Officers commanding companies rode into action on their chargers, for uerhaDS the only occasion in the war, but hostile shell-fire from the Belashitza mountains soon persuaded them to dismount. By half-past eight in the morning the battahon was in Kodzagoria wood, facing north-west and north, under intermittent and plunging artillery fire from positions four or five thousand feet above them. The artillery of the 28th Division, galloping into action, opened fire on the main Bulgar position. Great difficulty was experienced in maintaining touch with the Greeks as the commander of their leading brigade had been wounded early in the day and his troops, flushed with success, attacked the main position without waiting for the 4hours' bombardment. The other Greek brigades also attacked piecemeal, and though some elements obtained a footing in the front line, the great bulk were held up by masses of uncut wire and then driven by machine-gun fire helter- skelter down the gullies, where trench-mortars completed their discomiort. The Greek liaison officer with the battalion was killed while endeavouring to acquaint himself with the situation.

About five o'clock in the evening the 84th Brigade moved forward again, but it was already evident that the Greek attack had collapsed. The dry grass and shrubs along the line had been set on fire and were burning fiercely. Outposts were put out to the north-west to give warning of any counterattack, but orders were now received to cover the retirement of the Cretan Division. Soon after midnight, it having been ascertained that all the Greeks had gone back, the 2nd Cheshire Regiment passed through the 1st Suffolk Regiment which retired with advance, flank, and rear guards. The casualties had only amounted to fourteen killed and wounded. On September 20 the battalion relieved the 2nd East Yorkshire Regiment at Signal Grec Avance."

That is all the book has for that period.

The information on 11th battalion is very scarce but this is what I have.

"The remainder of the year (1916) passed uneventfully. Christmas was spent in Erquinghem, and towards the end of January, I9l7, the battalion left Bois Grenier after their prolonged stay in that neighbourhood, travelling in lorries at night to the Meteren area behind Bailleul. At the close of three weeks training they set off towards Arras, and on February 24 moved up into the line south of Roclincourt, occupying the right sector of the front held by the 34th Division, XVIIth Corps. The time was spent in distributing stores, carrying up ammunition, and raiding and wire-cutting, all in preparation for the forthcoming Arras offensive. On April 5 Major Tuck rejoined from Aldershot and resumed his appointment as second-in-command. On April 8 the 11nth Battalion moved into its assembly positions half a mile south-east of Roclmcourt."

That is all I have. I suspect that if you need more you'll have to try the unit diaries; though even those can be very scanty.

Garth

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  • 1 month later...

Garth,

One of the Old Boys on the War Memorial at Thetford Grammar School was in the Suffolk Yeomanry:

Charles J Clarke, 1717, Private (I realise ORs are often not named), died on 30/11/15 and is buried in Pieta Military Cemetery on Malta.

Casualty of the Gallipoli fighting?

I'd be very grateful if you could have a look in your volumes.

Best wishes,

David

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David

The history of the Suffolk Yeomanry at that period is dealt with very sparsely. They left England on 25 September and landed at Gallipoli on 10 October. The final evacuation of the yeomanry took place on 21 December.

This whole episode is covered in 2 pages of the book and thus contains very little in the way of detail. As for casualties, it makes no mention. The regiment were holding Norfolk Street and Hill 60 at the time of his death. The weather at the time was very bad; the peninsula was "gripped by frost and swept by a blinding snowstorm". " The streams now rushing down the gullies, carried with them the half frozen bodies of both friend and foe". Over 200 officers and men died from exposure.

That covers the info in the book. The war diary may give more details but that means a trip to the PRO.

Garth

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  • 1 month later...

Garth,

Could you lookup my grandfather for me.

Pte. Harry Shearing

Unknown Service No.

Enlisted 28th Feb. 1916

For Suffolk Regt.

I believe he would be in the 12th ( Service ) Bn ( East Anglia ), as the was only 4' 10", and would be a bantam unit. I think they were the only bantam unit in the Suffolk Regt.

Not sure if he went to France in June 1916 with the 40th Division. He may have been transfered to the Training Reserve, Bedfordshire Regt.

Tankman

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Tankman

I'm sorry to disillusion you but unit histories rarely contain the sort of information you require. You might do better if you contact the regimental museum at Bury-St_Edmunds but even that is unlikely.

The unit histories tend to tell the story of where the various battalions served and which battles they fought in. This is certainly the case with the Suffolks.

I can confirm that the 12th Suffolks was a Bantam unit formed on enlistment for which began on 21 June 1915 men being accepte to a height of 5 feet 2 inches.

they went to France on 4 June 1916.

If i can give you any more information please feel free to ask.

Garth

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Garth,

Sorry, I did misunderstand what information you were offering to lookup. I dont know exactly what unit my grandfather was in, but he was in the Suffolk Regt before going to the Bedfordshire Regt ( date unknown ). I am trying to get more info on him.

Can you tell me where the 12 Bn served in France during 1916. He would more than likely be serving with them if he went to France at that time.

Did the Suffolk's have their own training reserve as I dont know why he went to the Bed's Regt.

Regards

Tankman

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Tankman

12th battalion arrived in France on 7 June 1916. They went into the line at Calonne on 24 June, under instruction, with regular battalions. Early in July 40 div moved to th eright sector of 1st corps line in the Lens area. 12 Battalion took over lines at Maroc including the Double crassuer. 121 Brigade held this sector for nearly four months. During this period they carried out many successful raids. Towards the end of October the div was withdrawn for a rest. The rest consisted mainly of a series of marches, with one ten day halt, which culminated with them arriving at Sailly-le-Sec in time for Christmas. They went back into the line on 31 Dec at Bouchavesnes. Their next tour of duty saw them move to Rancourt and then eventually to Maurepas on the Somme in time for the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg line in March 1917.

The Suffolks certainly had a reserve battalion as well as two Garrison Battalions.

Just why your Grandfather went to the Bedfords I cannot say but it was not unusual for this sort of thing to happen. I suspect that the heavy losses in the Pals battalions had something to do with splitting the men up so that no single community was ever again quite so badly affected in one go. It kind of makes sense, from a purely PR point of view, to spread the bad news out over a wider area. That way the civilian population would not be so shocked by, or so aware of, what was happening.

thats all folks

Garth

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  • 2 months later...

Hello Garth

Could you possibly have a look in the Suffolks history to see what the 1st Bn. were up to on 8th May 1915?

Many thanks

Andy

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Andy

I'll have to precis the answer but here goes.

' at dawn on 8 May violent shelling began all along the line in the Salient. At about 10 o'clock the battle of Frezenberg ridge began in all its fury..... For days the 1st battalion had been struggling in the bloody havoc of war... but still our men held on, clinging to their ground with desperate tenacity. The enemy had made a big breach on our right and before noon the battalion had been completely over-whelmed. The casualties on May 8 amounted to over 400 including Lt Col Wallace and the RSM M S Chase.

The remnants of the battalion were collected in Balloon Wood on 9 May and were reinforced with a draft from Felixstowe

They went back into the line on 24 May and were again involved in heavy fighting.

hope that helps

Garth

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Garth,

I wonder if you could look up the following for me when you have a moment:

1. 5th Battalion Suffolk Regiment on 21st August 1915 in Gallipoli (a relative of mine was one of 12 KIA on this day).

2. 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment on 17th October 1917 (and maybe one or two days before) during the 3rd Battle of Ypres (another relative of mine died in one of the field hospitals and was buried in Dozinghem Mil. Cemetery, and numerous others of the battalion were KIA this day).

Many thanks in advance.

Steve

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Garth and all :D

This is probably old news, but I stumbled across the Norfolk County Council site this week and looked into the picture gallery they have. Type soldiers in the search and theres hundreds of them! (Sorry if its a know source already ...)

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Steve

The 5th battalion were in local reserve trenches from 18 - 27 Aug 'harassed by rifle fire and shrapnel'.

The 11th battalion were involved in road repairs in and around Proven at the time you asked about. Quote ' This severe and unpleasant task, carried out in daylight and vile weather, under constant shell and machine gun fire, cost the battalion over 50 casualties....

Hope that helps

Garth

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Hi Garth

Could you look up the 2nd Bn Norfolk Regiment on 22nd April 1916 - could you also see if a unit called the NORSETs is mentioned around this time - should be in Iraq - many thanks

All The Best

Chris

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Chris

The history contains the following:- When the 2nd Norfolk and 2nd Dorset battalions had gone on the expedition which ended with Kut, and were already blockaded in that unhappy place, there were available drafts, and recovered sick or wounded of both regiments, from whom it was decided, on February 4, 1916, to constitute a composite battalion. Of this two companies were Norfolk and two Dorset men, and the whole battalion

was known commonly, if not officially, as the "Norsets." It was attached to the 21st Brigade of the 7th (Meerut) division.

At 7a.m. on the 22nd April the 7th division attacked the Turks on a front of one brigade, the 19th brigade leading. At 7.25 on a report that the 19th brigade had taken the enemy's first line the 21st were ordered up to support it on the right. The "Norsets," leading the advance, found their front reduced to about 170 yards. The going was terribly heavy, and the men had to try and double through ten or twelve inches of water with mud below. By the time they reached the enemy trenches many rifles were jammed and useless because of the mud. As a result the Norsets were unable to give adequate support on the right flank. By half past eight they were compelled to fall back on the start line.

The casualties of the Norsets were 13 Officers wounded; 22 ORs killed, 146 wounded and 22 missing.

Garth

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Garth

Many thanks - now I know what happened to my great uncle

All The Best

Chris

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