- Suffolk Regiment during the Great War -
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- 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 2/4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 2/5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 3/4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 3/4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 3/6th (Cyclist) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 6th (Cyclist) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Kitchener's New Army:
- 10th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 11th (Cambridge) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 12th (East Anglia) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 13th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 14th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 15th (Suffolk Yeomanry) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 16th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 1st Garrison Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 2nd Garrison Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
- 9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Want to know more about Suffolk Regiment?
There are:34652 pages and articles tagged Suffolk Regiment available in our Library
Those known to have served with
during the Great War 1914-1918.
- Alden Ernest Charles. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.4th September 1918)
- Anderson Charles Fred. Pte 9th Btn (d.23rd November 1915)
- Andrews David. Pte Suffolk Regement (d.15th October 1916)
- Atkins Moses. Pte. 12th Btn.
- Baldock William. Pte.
- Baldwin William Benjamin. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.5th March 1917)
- Baldwin William. Pte.
- Banham James. Sgt. 2nd Battalion (d.26th Sep 1917)
- Bates Richard. Pte. 2nd/5th Btn.
- Blinco Charles William. Sgt. 2nd Btn (d.19th Apr 1918)
- Bowers George David. Pte. 11th Btn (d.24th Oct 1918)
- Brighton Austin Benjamin John. Pte. 2nd Battalion
- Bristow Sidney Marcus. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.26th Sep 1917)
- Brown William Henry. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.16th June 1917)
- Bullman Benjamin. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.16th Aug 1916)
- Bunn Clifford Charles. Cpl. 9th Btn. (d.21st March 1918)
- Bury Edward Basil. Lt. 6th Btn.
- Calver Joseph Ernest. Pte. 11th Battalion (d.26th Aug 1917)
- Cartz Louis. Pte. 2nd Btn.
- Cartz Louis. Pte. 2nd Btn. Z Company
- Claydon John. Pte. 5th Btn.
- Cockle Clarence Tapscott. Lt. 5th Battalion (d.10th September 1918)
- Coe Charles Alfred. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.12th Sep 1917)
- Collier Frederick John. Pte. 2/8th Battalion (d.12th May 1917)
- Cook George Arthur. Pte. 1st Btn.
- Cubitt Frederick Salter. Mjr. 4th Battalion
- Cubitt Lawrence. Pte.
- Curd G. 11th Btn.
- Curtis George Jams. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.13th November 1916)
- Cutting Ernest. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.26th Apr 1917)
- Cutting Percy William. Cpl.
- D'Hooghe Jack. L/Cpl 7th Bttn (d.3rd July 1916)
- Davey H.. Pte.
- Day . Cpl. 11th Btn.
- Dewing Bertie. Pte 11th Battalion (d.9th April 1918)
- Dodson Jonas. Pte. 11th (Cambridge) Btn. (d.1st July 1916)
- Durrant James William. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.3rd July 1916)
- Durrent . (d.15th Sept 1916)
- Dyer James. Pte.
- Dymott George Henry. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.26th/27th Sep 1917)
- Eaton Charles. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.21st Sep 1917)
- Edwards Charles. Sjt.
- Eighteen Fredrick Charles. Pte 5th Btn. (d.10th Mar 1916)
- Faithful James Henry. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.15th November 1918)
- Farrow William James. L/Cpl. 1/5th Btn.
- Francis Reginald Clement. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.16th Dec 1914)
- Gawthorpe Thomas William. L/Cpl 11th Btn. (d.2nd Sep 1917)
- Goody Walter. RSM 7th Btn. (d.6th Apr 1918)
- Griffiths Arthur Ivor. 2nd Lt. 12th Btn. (d.3rd Aug 1917)
- Grinham James Edward. Sjt. 8th Btn.
- Hall Arthur George. L/Cpl. 2nd Btn.
- Hall William. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.22nd Jan 1916)
- Harradine John Henry. Pte 2nd Btn (d.1st Aug 1916)
- Hart Benjamin A.. Pte. 1st/7th Btn. (d.6th Feb 1917)
- Hartley Cecil Edward. Pte.
- Harvey Herbert. 11th Battalion (d.2nd July 1916)
- Hazell Oscar Reginald. Sgt. 11th Btn. (d.19th Apr 1918)
- Hazelwood Ernest. Pte. 7th Battalion (d.3rd July 1916)
- Heaps Joseph Moses. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.1st July 1916)
- Holman Albert Hector. Pte. 9th Btn. (d.23rd April 1917)
- Holmes Eli. 1st Bn. (d.25th May 1915)
- Howard Samuel. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.28th Nov 1916)
- Hughes Ashton Harry. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.18th Aug 1916)
- Humphrey Joseph Samuel. Cpl. 11th Btn.
- Jordan James Henry. Pte 7th Btn
- Keeble Frederick William. CSM 7th Btn.
- Key Jacob Rita. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.8th May 1915)
- King Thomas William. Pte. 12th Btn.
- King Thomas William. Pte. 12th Btn.
- Knapp Victor Harry. Pte. 2nd Battalion, W Coy. (d.16th Nov 1916)
- Knock Robert Edwin. Pte. 12th Btn.
- Knott Ernest. Pte. 7th Battalion (d.5th October 1915)
- Laurie William. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.20th July 1916)
- Lee Leslie. Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.26th Nov 1918)
- Lemmon Arthur. 2nd Btn. A Coy.
- Lister Rudolph Beckley. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.23rd August 1918)
- Mackinder Joseph Liney. Pte. 2nd Batallion (d.1st Oct 1918)
- Mackinder Joseph Liney. Pte 2nd Battalion (d.1st October 1918)
- Manton Harry. Pte. 1st Battalion
- Marchant George R.S.. Pte.
- Meadows Ebenezer John. Pte. 9th Btn. (d.20th November 1917)
- Montagu Edward. Col.
- Moyes Arthur William. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.6th Jan 1918)
- Mutum William F.. Pte.
- Napthine Clare George. Pte. 9th Btn., D Coy. (d.13th Sep 1916)
- Newstead George Pope. Lt.Col. attd. Sierra Leone Battalion. (d.4th March 1915)
- O'Brien James. Pte. 9th Btn. (d.23rd March 1917)
- Parkes Alfred. Pte. 2nd Btn.
- Pepper Stanley. Pte. 8th Btn.
- Pitts John Anthony. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.26th Sep 1918)
- Plumb Arthur. Pte.
- Podd Jeremiah. Sgt. 4th Btn.
- Prentice Ernest W..
- Race Horace Victor. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.28th April 1917)
- Randall Bertie Sumner. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.16th August 1915)
- Robinson Bert John. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.8th October 1918)
- Salmon Thomas. Pte. 1st Battalion
- Saunders . Sjt. 9th Btn.
- Sharp James. Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.3rd Oct 1918)
- Smith Arthur Henry. Pte 12th (Bantams)
- Smith Arthur. Pte. 9th Battalion (d.16th Sep 1916)
- Smith Cecil Springett. Cpl. 12th (Bantams)
- Smith Sidney Charles. Pte. 15th Btn.
- Snell Harry Prentice. Cpl. 1/5th Btn. (d.16th Aug 1917)
- Songhurst Thomas James. Cpl. 8th Btn. (d.11th May 1917)
- Spurling Frederick Ernest. Pte. 1st Btn.
- Stannard George Walter. Sgt. 4th Battalion (d.8th July 1916)
- Stearns Morris William. Pte. 9th Btn. (d.16th Sept 1916)
- Stofer Eric Francis. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.28th Oct 1918)
- Theobald Reginald. Lt. 11th Btn., C Coy. (d.10th Apr 1918)
- Thomas George. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.12th April 1918)
- Tillett Reginald. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.3rd July 1916)
- Tompkins Edgar Frederick. Pte. 11th (Cambridge) Btn.
- Tripp S. P.. L/Cpl.
- Turrell Edward George. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.3rd July 1916)
- Twigg William Oliver. L/Cpl. 9th Battalion (d.28th April 1917)
- Viall Albert Edward. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.30th July 1917)
- Walker Frederick William. 14th Battalion
- Warren Charles A.. Pte.
- Watkins James. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.23rd Sep 1918)
- Willmott Harry. Pte. 9th Btn.
- Wood Charles. Pte
- Woollard Eric. Pte. 7th Battalion (d.13th Oct1915)
- Wright Charles. Pte. 7th Battalion (d.3rd Jul 1916)
- Wright Joseph Henry. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.6th Jan 1918)
All names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
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CSM Frederick William Keeble MM 7th Btn. Suffolk RegimentCSM Frederick Keeble MM was my Grandfather, the only thing he told me about the trenches was they had to eat candles when food was short. I'm told he was wounded 4 times and I know he had bullet holes in his legs that Dad said you could put your finger in and that on his death bed the doctor took off his shirt to reveal a lump of shrapnel visible under the skin on his chest, my Grandmother had never seen him without his shirt on so had no idea it was there.
I don't really know how he won the MM but the story is they were pinned down by a German machine gun nest and no-one could move, after a while Grandad said 'well I've had enough of this' he advanced on the nest, under fire, lobbed some grenades in and bayoneted the men who came out.
After the war Grandads unit were guarding supply trains bound for Germany he was instructed to shoot anyone caught stealing from the trains, an Australian troop train pulled up and the men on board promptly raided the trains which were full of bully beef and all sorts, Grandad is said to have stepped out and on seeing the Australians said 'best we go round the back and have another fag', he wouldn't give the order to open fire, as a result he left the Army without reference which made it hard to get a job.Paul Keeble
Pte. Sidney Charles Smith 15th Btn. Suffolk RegimentSidney Charles Smith was born at Darsham, Suffolk, son of Abraham Smith and Charlotte (Nee Hambling). He married Rose Ann Norman in 1904. He enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment on the 4th May, 1915. Served in France and was wounded three times. He was discharged on the 8th February, 1919. His name is on the Roll of Honour inside All Saints Church, Darsham. After the war Sidney learned the shoe trade under Messrs Ives at Halesworth under the government's rehabilitation scheme. He became a boot repairer. In 1923 he became the village Postman at Darsham. He served as the village Postman for the ext 34 years. He died at Darshamon the 11th May, 1960.Mary Felgate
Pte. James O'Brien 9th Btn. Suffolk Regiment (d.23rd March 1917)James O'Brien was killed in action on the 23rd of March1917 and is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery in France. He resided at 40 Hargreaves Street, Colne.s flynn
Pte. Bert John Robinson 2nd Btn. Suffolk Regiment (d.8th October 1918)Bert Robinson died on the 8th of October 1918, aged 27 and is buried in the Naves Communal Cemetery Extension in France.s flynn
Pte. Alfred Parkes 2nd Btn. Suffolk RegimentAlfred Parkes was a Boy Soldier. He was only just 16 years old when he was volunteering in August 1915. He was drafted three months later to the Western Front where he was engaged in several sectors and took part in the Battle of the Somme, the Battle at Arras, the Battle at Cambrai and finally the Battle of St Quentin. During these engagements he was wounded and afterwards returning home he was discharged in November 1918. He holds the 1914 - 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.Simon Long
Pte. Albert Hector Holman 9th Btn. Suffolk Regiment (d.23rd April 1917)Albert Holman died of wounds on the 23rd of April 1917, aged 28 and is buried in in the Bethune Town Cemetery in France. He was the husband of Ethel Holman, of 45, Milner St., Burnleys flynn
Pte. William Laurie 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment (d.20th July 1916)My great uncle, William Laurie, who lived at 51 Bromley St, West Hartlepool, was killed in action at the Somme on 20th of July 1916, possibly during the Battle of Delville Wood. It was two days after his 24th birthday. He left behind his wife, Selina (Codling), and their one-year old son, William. My mother, Ada was also only one-year old when he was killed. Although she never knew him, she still refers to him as Uncle Will. He fought with the 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment and is reportedly buried near Thiepval.Bob Bryant
Cpl. James Sharp 2nd Btn. Suffolk Regiment (d.3rd Oct 1918)James Sharp was my 2x great uncle. He came from London and was killed on the Somme. I know nothing more about him but have a photo that I believe is him.
L/Cpl. S. P. Tripp Suffolk RegimentIn 1974 I bought Lance Corporal Tripp's 1914-15 Star medal in a shop while visiting Lowestoft in Suffolk and like to think it keeps his service in the living memory of a stranger. All I know about L/Cpl Tripp is from the medal: he may have been one of the Old Contemptibles (B.E.F.) and would have been a volunteer/regular. The medal came as a set along with the British War Medal and Victory Medal referred to as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred. I do not know if L/Cpl Tripp survived the war.Paddy McQ
Cpl. Clifford Charles Bunn MM. 9th Btn. Norfolk Regiment (d.21st March 1918)Clifford Bunn enlisted in the Army on a short service engagement and was attested at Felixstowe on 12th of September 1914 and passed his medical at Lowestoft on the following day. On 25th of September 1914 he was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, based at Felixstowe for basic training.
When he joined the Army he was 17 years old (his army records him as 19) and a fisherman. He was 5 feet 6 inches inches tall, weighed 143lbs and his chest measurement was 35 inches fully expanded. He had a fair complexion, brown hair and brown eyes.
On 26th of January 1915 he joined the B.E.F. as a private (No. 15426) in the 2nd Bn., Suffolk Regiment, and was posted to the battalion which was holding the sector of the Allied Line in Belgium between Ypres and La Bassee in the Vierstraat area. The battalion formed part of the 8th Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. During early 1915 the battalion saw very little action nevertheless it sustained 140 casualties in March alone. On 11th of April the battalion was withdrawn from the trenches and was in billets in Westoutre.
It was in the Vierstraat area that Clifford was wounded by a sniper. He received a gunshot wound to his cheek and jaw on 18 April 1915 and was taken to No. 8 Casualty Clearing Station at Westroute and was transferred to a military hospital at Wimereux the same day and thence on to the No. 8 Clearing Hospital at Bailleul. On the 25th of April he was sent back to England on the hospital ship St. Patrick.
He remained in England recovering from his wounds until 3 October 1915 when he was transferred to the 9th Btn. Suffolk Regiment, 71st Brigade, 24th Infantry Division and returned to France.
On 25th of September the battalion had taken part the battle of Loos only twenty-five days after landing in France and had suffered heavy casualties. After the battle it was withdrawn to Proven to rest and reorganise. It was here that Clifford joined it on 4th of October 1915 as a replacement. The following day it marched with the 71st Brigade to Brandhoek where, on 11th of October, the brigade was transferred to 6th Division.
From October until the end of the year the battalion occupied the line at Forward Cottage trenches or at St. Jean. When not in the line it was ator near Poperinghe furnishing night time working parties. On 19th of December while in the trenches in front of St. Jean the battalion was subjected to a gas attack in the early hours of the morning followed by a very heavy bombardment which lasted 24 hours resulting in over eighty causalities. On 15 December Clifford had 1s 3d stopped from his pay for losing a clasp knife!
Christmas was spent resting at Poperinghe, moving back into camp behind Ypres on the 30th of December after a spell in the trenches at St. Jean.
The battalion remained in this sector until 5th of April 1916 went it moved back to Calais for R & R. It remained here for 10 days and was back in its old camp near Poperinghe and back in the front line around St. Jean and Forward Cottage. It came out of the line again on 18 May 1916 to a camp behind Ypres, returning to the trenches around Forward Cottage early in June. The end of the month saw the Battalion back in camp near Poperinghe until 3 July when it marched to Bollezeele, moving a few days later to Houtkerque for recuperation and training in open warfare. On July 22nd it took over billets in Ypres.
On 4th of August the battalion marched to Albert and took over trenches in front of Mailly-Maillett Wood where they were given the task of clearing the battlefield of the dead of the Ulster Division.
The 28th of August saw the battalion moving to Mericourt l'Abbe on the Ancre and thence into the Sandpit area on the south-eastern edge of Ginchy where on 11 September it took over the trenches of 4th Bn., Coldsteam Guards.
On 13th of September the battalion took part in the attack by the 6th Division on the Quadrilateral between Ginchy and Bouleux Wood but it was stopped by fierce German resistance. The attack recommenced on the 15 September, this time involving 11 British Divisions (including the 6th) during the attack the battalion suffered heavy casualties losing over 100 men dead or wounded and was withdrawn into the support trenches on 17 September. The Quadrilateral was captured by the 6th Division the following day but it had suffered over 3500 casulaties. On the 19th September the battalion marched to Ville-sur-Ancre.
Between 25th and 28th of September the battalion took part in the Battle of Morval when the villages of Morval, Gueudecourt and Les Boeufs were attacked, the latter being captured by the 6th and Guards Division.
From the 3rd of December 1916 to 22nd of December Clifford seems to have been at a Base Hospital in Boulogne. 26th of December 1916 he was in Beaumarais. On the 23rd of January 1917 he Rejoined his battalion in the field. On the 6th of May 1917 he was appointed acting Corporal. and on the 18th of July 1917 he was gazetteered for the Military Medal 16th of February 1918 he was posted to 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.
On 19th of February 1918: Canon Bignold writes "Corporal Clifford Bunn, M.M., has just been to see me and looks very well, but the drum of one ear is destroyed. He is off again for the Front this evening and is very cheery."
Clifford was Posted missing on the 21st of March 1918 and on the 17th of April 1918 his Father was notified that he had "died on or since 21 March 1918" His total service was reckoned to be 3 years 191 days and on the 19th of November 1918 his mother was granted a pension of 7s 6d to be paid from this date.Ivan Arthur William Bunn
Pte. George Thomas 12th Btn. Suffolk Regiment (d.12th April 1918)George Thomas was the youngest child of a family of 10 girls and 1 boy (George) from the cotton town of Blackburn in Lancashire. The family story was that George enlisted following pressures from other mill workers in 1917. He went to France and within a few weeks was in action in the last big German offensive, with the 12th Suffolks being engaged in bitter fighting around Nieppe on 11/4/1918. The unit then withdrew to La Creche and moved on to Strazelle where they dug in. George was killed on 12/4/1918 at the age of 19. The fighting flowed backwards and forwards and George was never recovered into a named grave and is now remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial. Sadly, his mother Edith never managed to travel to France to see that memorial.Howard Thomas
Pte. William Henry Brown 12th Btn. Suffolk Regiment (d.16th June 1917)William Brown was my great great uncle, brother to my great grandfather.Joshua Makoul
Cpl. Joseph Samuel Humphrey 11th Btn. Suffolk RegimentJoe Humphrey served in the 4th and 11th Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment. He survived the war but had a damaged arm from the Battle of Arras. He died aged 33. He did not marry.Pauline Dodd
Pte. Cecil Edward Hartley Suffolk RegimentMy Grandfather's brother, Cecil Hartley, served from 1914 to 1919. He earned the 1914 star and spent the rest of his life in Fulbourn Mental Hospital until he died in 1972 ....nobody ever spoke about him.... not the done thing.Shaun
Lt. Reginald Theobald MC 11th Btn., C Coy. Suffolk Regiment (d.10th Apr 1918)Reginald Theobald was my great uncle, the much loved older brother of my maternal grandmother, Kathleen Hilda Poles nee Theobald.
When war broke out he was about to go to Cambridge from Mill Hill School, on a Maths scholarship but never got there. He enlisted as Private 962 in the Royal Fusiliers and served in France and Flanders. He was a great sportsman, representing the school in cricket and hockey and being a good boxer. He also enjoyed joking and having fun with the family. He took a box brownie camera to the war (not allowed!) and I have an album of his photos of the time.
He was awarded his Military Cross in 1917 "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He did valuable work in cutting wire, and also carried out an important reconnaissance. Later, while mopping up, although badly wounded, he got his party together, regained his company, and went on to the final objective." He apparently held his post for 10 hours whilst wounded. He returned to England to be treated at St Marks College Hospital Chelsea in January 1915, for wounds received at Vimy Ridge. He also had Enteric Fever.
He died aged 23 at the Battle of Lys at Erquinghem sur Lys near Armentieres in France on 10th of April 1918, leaving behind a fiancee and recently widowed mother. The delightful museum in Erquinghem sur Lys has information and photos of him and the small CWG cemetery there at La Rolanderie Farm has his grave.Marilyn Longden
Pte. Benjamin Bullman 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment (d.16th Aug 1916)No Known Grave - The Story of Benjamin Bullman
When I was a small boy I remember being taken to the cemetery in Stretham, Cambridgeshire, to pay respects to ancestors who had been laid to rest there. The visit would always end by viewing the war memorial commemorating those who had fallen in the First and Second World Wars. On one face of the memorial is the name, Benjamin Bulman. I can't remember how old I was when my father produced a large bronze medal, The Memorial Plaque. And so for many years, as I grew up, I thought of what had happened to my Great Uncle, how he might have lived and died in the trenches.
I have read articles of many long lost heroes of the Great War, they all sport fantastic stories of fighter pilot aces, company commanders who lead their troops into battle and men decorated for their gallant acts in conditions that we can only try to image, along with pictures of them and their medals. So what of Benjamin Bullman, was he one of these few that have a story that can be collated and put in the history books? Starting with a name and date of death I set about the task of putting together his history. With the Internet at my fingertips I began my search, my first stop being the War Graves Commission where I found details of his regiment, battalion, service number and date of death.
Further searches turned up more references in his commemoration: Stretham Memorial in Cambridgeshire, Kenny Hill Memorial in Suffolk, Mildenhall Memorial in Suffolk and Thiepval Memorial in France.
So, he has been remembered in so many different places and remembered on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month ever since. I had found a wealth of new information including his regiment, battalion, serial number and how old he was when fell. But what of his history, when did he enlist, fight, die and where was he buried? There is No Known Grave.
Like millions of others who fought and died from all the nationalities in the First World War, Benjamin Bullman was not a fighter ace, a commander leading his troops into battle or a decorated hero. He was another ordinary man thrust into the horrors of modern warfare, the likes of which had never been seen before. Like millions of others there are no photographs, obituaries or personal details, just carvings of a name in stone.
Even so, here is his story from the records and accounts that are available. Benjamin Bullman was born in Kenny Hill, his birth and baptism in 1890 was recorded in Mildenhall, the son of Charles Bullman and Anne Maria Dorkings. The 1891 Census records Benjamin at the age of 1 year old living in Soham and the 1901 Census records him in Mildenhall in Suffolk. From my father's research into his family history I can presume that Benjamin would have led a humble life as his parents worked the land as farm workers.
At the outbreak of war Benjamin would have been 23 years old, and fighting commenced across France and Belgium as both sides dug in. It is impossible to date Benjamin's exact enlistment date due to 70% of the military records being destroyed in the blitz of the Second World War. Benjamin would have received basic training at the Suffolk's deport in Bury St. Edmunds. Although training times to moving to France could vary from regiment to regiment and the need for infantrymen during the war, the general opinion seems to be a basic training of 12 weeks, and a further 4 weeks before joining a battalion in France. As he was not awarded the 1914 - 15 Star which would indicate that he arrived in France after 1916, but the exact date is unknown.
The 2nd Battalion were part of the regular army which formed the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1914; The BEF was badly depleted in the Battles of Mons and The Marne so the volunteers of Kitchener's New Army were used to replenish their numbers. During 1916 the 2nd Suffolks took part in the actions of The Bluff in February and St Eloi Craters in March. The fighting was not only the familiar trench warfare of attacks and counter attacks, but mines and gas attacks too.
In March the 2nd Suffolks moved to The Somme. They were stationed at the depot at St Omer for training in open warfare in preparation for the Big Push of The Somme offensive. On July 1st, the first day of the battle, the 2nd Suffolks set out from St Omer for the Somme. They arrived at the front on July 8th, where they bivouacked in Carnoy (known as Death Valley) and were placed in reserve, and then on July 14th they were moved into the southern end of Caterpillar Valley, to the east of Albert.
Two companies of the 2nd Suffolks were sent to support the attack on Longueval and Delville Wood, the scene of many weeks of bitter fighting, attacks and counter attacks from both side. During this time the 2nd Suffolks took many casualties of which some are laid to rest at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval. This is also where the South African Memorial is located. Abandoned German trench in Delville Wood. The War Diary of the 2nd Suffolk Regiment notes there were around 30 casualties taken at this time.
On the 25th July they were relieved by the Staffordshire Regiment and they moved back to Mountauban, then Bois De Tallies on the 26th July and finally to Mericourt on the 28th July.
n early August the 2nd Suffolk Regiment undertook elementary training, route marches and made up working parties on the corps line between Montauban and Bernafay Wood. They left Mericourt on the 11th August for The Sandpits (near Meaulte), just south of Albert. Here they were reinforced with a draft of 116 O.R. (other ranks). The Regimental diary at this time states: Practiced company in extended order, & once in attack, their knowledge of either was practically nil.
On 14th of August they moved up the line through Bois De Talus, where they were shelled and took casualties, then probably through Chimpanzee Alley and into the front line trenches.
The Regimental diary states:
Relief completed by midnight and work carried on until Stand To at 3.30am, in widening and deepening trench, and connecting up the left of Shute and left of Assembly. Battalion was disposed as follows:-
- 2 Platoons of Z.Coy. in Shute Trench (left)
- 2 Platoons of Z.Coy. in Assembly Trench(left)
- 2 Platoons of Y.Coy. in Shute Trench (Right)
- 2 Platoons of Y.Coy. in Shute Trench (Right)
- W. Company in Duncan Alley
- 3 Squads of Bombers in Extension of Cochrane Alley
- H.Q. at junction of Maltz Horn and Duncan Alleys
During the 15th of August the Suffolks continued to improve the trenches under very difficult circumstances; Also the carrying of water and ratios and removing the dead and wounded was no easy matter. The officers surveyed the ground in front of the front trench to familiarised themselves with the ground for the attack and a patrol party was sent out to locate the German trench which was reported to be about 100 yards in front and to the left of Shute Trench.
16th August 1916. Dawn Attack.
Information from the Regimental Diary:
The battalion was deployed for the attack with two platoons each of the Z and Y companies in the front line, followed by a further two platoons 50 yards behind in support. X company were in the second line and W company, held in reserve, moved from Duncan Alley to Edward Trench. 3 squads of bombers were to rush the German block in Cochrane Alley and 2 squads were to move in support of the first line as clearing parties. Snipers were detailed to snipe at machine guns and the company Lewis guns were positioned on the flank to support the line. At zero hour the battalion moved forward closely following the barrage. Z company, on the left, progressed 120 yards but were met by machine gun fire and lost all its officers and platoon commanders; in total they lost 3 officers and 90 other ranks. The remainder of the company remained in shell holes and retired to Shute Trench after dark. The right company were also met with machine gun fire. One platoon of X company and one platoon of Y company were sent to connect up with the French down Cochrane Alley and they were able to dig a trench to the left of the French. The remainder of Y company fell back after dark to Cochrane Alley which was consolidated as a firing line. Y company casualties were 1 officer and 85 other ranks.
The gain of the attack was about 250 yards of Cochrane Alley and the capture of six Germans of the 124th Regiment.
Account from Wikipedia:
On 16 August the French 153rd Division advanced north-west of Maurepas and into Maurepas ravine, before being repulsed by a counter-attack at 10:30 p.m. The 3rd Division had relieved the 55th Division on the night of 14/15 August, ready to attack at 5:40 p.m. on 16 August, which dawned bright and hot. On the right of the 76th Brigade, a battalion quickly cleared Cochrane Alley to the Hardecourt to Guillemont road and took the trench along the road, despite machine-gun fire from Lonely Trench, which was too close to the British front line to be bombarded by artillery. A Stokes mortar bombardment on it failed and attacks by the left-hand battalion of the 76th Brigade and right-hand battalion of the 9th Brigade were defeated, despite several more attempts. The left-hand battalion of the 9th Brigade was also stopped soon after beginning its advance. After dark, the British withdrew on the right, only the ground in Cochrane Alley being retained.
At some point on the 16th August 1916 during this battle, Benjamin Bullman was killed. In early August 2016 we visited the site of the battle and surrounding area in memory of his loss. Longueval and Delville Wood
During the war the dead, if recovered, were buried in many small clusters of graves near to where they fell. After the war many of these graves were moved to larger, nearby cemeteries. Most of the dead found around the Guillemont area were relocated to the Guillemont Road Cemetery. In this cemetery are a few known men from the 2nd Suffolks who died on the 16th August 1916, but out of the 2,263 Commonwealth burials 1,523 of the burials are unidentified, some of them citing Suffolk Regiment on the headstone.
We placed a tribute of remembrance to Benjamin Bullman, 18966, 2nd Suffolk Regiment who was killed in action on the 16th August 1916, at the foot of the memorial in Guillemont Cemetery as he has no known grave.Ian Bullman
Lt.Col. George Pope Newstead attd. Sierra Leone Battalion. Suffolk Regiment (d.4th March 1915)Lieutenant Colonel Newstead was buried in the Douala Cemetery in the Cameroons.S Flynn
Sgt. Jeremiah "Victor" Podd MM. 4th Btn. Suffolk RegimentMy grandfather Jeremiah Podd, died the year before I was born, so I never knew him. Recently, I've done some research and managed to locate his final resting place, something which was unknown to the rest of my family.Nigel
Pte. Bertie Sumner Randall 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment (d.16th August 1915)Bertie Randall was buried in Spoilbank Cemetery, Ypres.Elaine Smith
Pte. Edgar Frederick Tompkins 11th (Cambridge) Btn. Suffolk RegimentFred Tompkins was born in Northampton in 1883 and moved with his parents George and Emily and his younger sister Harriet Emily to the village of Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, in around 1890. The 1901 census shows him living with his parents and working as a farm labourer. He married in 1905, Sarah Jane Norman from Swavesey; the couple had no known children and lived apart within a few years of their marriage sometime before the 1911 census, when Fred was again living with his parents and working as a farm labourer.
Fred joined the 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment as a volunteer on 5th October 1914. He served in the battalion until 5th February 1917, when he was discharged as medically unfit for service Wounds P. 392 (xvi) King's Regulation 1912. He was awarded the Victory Medal and Silver War Badge (No: 20272). No other details of his military service are known to me.
Following his discharge, Fred Tompkins returned to Swavesey and resumed his occupation locally as an agricultural labourer. Fred moved into Cambridge probably in the early/mid 1930s. He was employed by Chivers at Histon as an agricultural labourer. On the death of his estranged first wife, in 1955, Fred married his long-term partner Beatrice Odell. Fred died on 21 June 1961, leaving no known descendants. His spouse survived until 1976.Diane Bennett
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