Unit History: Suffolk Regiment
The Regiment was first raised by the Duke of Norfolk in 1685. It was named The "Duke of Norfolk's Regiment of Foot", after the Colonel as was the tradition at the time. It was raised to support King James II during the Monmouth Rebellion, when James Scott the 1st Duke of Monmouth (the oldest illegitimate son of Charles II and the King’s nephew) unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the unpopular King James II. The Regiment went on to serve in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) and fought at the Battles of Dettingen (1743) and Fontenoy (1745). In 1751 the naming tradition of Regiments was simplified each being ranked by number, therefore the Regiment was re-titled as the 12th Regiment of Foot. The 12th also served in Germany during the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) and fought at The Battles of Minden, Warburg, Fellingshausen and Wilhelmstahl.
In 1782 all British Regiments without Royal titles were awarded county titles in order to aid recruitment from that region therefore after nearly 100 years of association with the county the Regiment was again re-titled as the 12th (the East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot. The 12th went on to serve in various foreign campaigns, in 1796 it set sail for India and fought in The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1798–1799) at the battle of Seringapatam (1799) and remained in India until 1809. In 1810, the Regiment also took part in the capture of Mauritius and the lle de Bourbon (now Reunion Island) and remained in those islands until 1818. In 1851 The Regiment took part in the Cape Frontier Wars (1811-1858) in South Africa, when the native Xhosa tribes became armed and rebelled against continuing European rule. The Regiment gained enduring admiration in 1852, when the First Battalion on board the shipwrecked HMS Birkenhead, paraded on deck while the women and children were put into the lifeboats. A memorial to the 55 men of the Regiment who drowned is maintained at St Mary's Church, Bury St Edmunds.
The Regiment embarked for Australia in 1854 and did not return until 1867. While there it was involved in the suppressions on the gold miners' revolt at the Eureka Stockade. In 1860, it moved to New Zealand to help contain the rebelling Maoris during the New Zealand Wars (1845–72) and also served in India for 40 years between 1864 to 1907 and the Second Afghan War (1879-81).
In 1881, as part of the Childers Reforms the Regiment was merged with The West Suffolk Militia and The Cambridgeshire Militia and became The Suffolk Regiment. The Childers Reforms restructured the British army infantry into a network of multi-battalion Regiments each having two regular and two militia battalions. The newly named Regiment went on to serve in the Second Boer War (1899-1902) at the Battle of Colesberg (1900) as well as two World Wars. In 1959 it was amalgamated with the Royal Norfolk Regiment and became the 1st East Anglian Regiment (Royal Norfolk and Suffolk). Further amalgamations followed in 1964 when the Regiment was merged with The Duchess of Gloucester's Own Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire Regiment and The Royal Leicestershire Regiment to form the Royal Anglian Regiment.
Suffolk Regiment during WW1
Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph's the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.
The Regiment raise a total of 23 Battalions during the course of the First World War and was awarded two Victoria Crosses.
04.08.1914 Stationed at Khartoum, Sudan at the outbreak of war.
23.10.1914 Returned to the UK landing at Liverpool and then moved to Lichfield.
17.11.1914 Moved to Felixstowe and then on to Winchester to join the 84th Brigade of the 28th Division.
18.01.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Second Battle of Ypres and The Battle of Loos. The Battalion suffered over 400 casualties at the Battle of Ypres.
24.10.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles via Alexandria and the Division was engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
The occupation of Mazirko, The capture of Barakli Jum'a.
The capture of Ferdie and Essex Trenches, The capture of Barakli and Kumli.
The Battle of Doiran, The pursuit to the Strumica valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war in Macedonia, north of Lake Doiran.
04.08.1914 Stationed at Curragh, Ireland as part of the 14th Brigade of the 5th Division.
17.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in action at The Battle of Mons and subsequent retreat, and The Battle of Le Cateau where the Battalion suffered over 700 casualties.
30.09.1914 Moved to G.H.Q.
25.10.1914 Transferred to the 8th Brigade of the 3rd Division
Winter Operations 1914-15, The First Attack on Bellewaarde, The Actions of Hooge, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
22.10.1915 Transferred to the 76th Brigade of the 3rd Division
The Actions of the Bluff and St Eloi Craters, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre.
The First, Second and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Cambrai 1917.
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bethune, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, La longueville east of Bavai.
3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Bury St. Edmunds and then moved to Felixstowe where it remained.
1/4th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Ipswich as part of the Norfolk & Suffolk Brigade of the East Anglian Division.
06.08.1914 Moved to Felixstowe and then Sheffield and Colchester.
09.11.1914 Mobilise for war and landed at Havre and transferred to the Jullundur Brigade of the Lahore Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Battle of La Bassee, The First Battle of Messines and The Battle of Armentieres.
15.11.1915 Transferred to the 46th Brigade of the 15th Division.
27.02.1916 Transferred to the 98th Brigade of the 33rd Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, Operations on the Flanders coast, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood.
15.02.1918 Transferred to the 58th Division as a Pioneer Battalion and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of the Avre, The Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Epehy, The general final advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Wiers west of Peruwelz.
1/5th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Bury St. Edmunds as part of the Norfolk & Suffolk Brigade of the East Anglian Division.
Aug 1914 Moved to Felixstowe and then Mile End and Colchester.
18.05.1915 Moved to Watford and the formation became the 163rd Brigade of the 54th Division.
30.07.1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Liverpool via Mudros and Imbros.
10.08.1915 Landed at Suvla Bay and engaged in various actions against the Ottoman Empire.
07.12.1915 Evacuated to Mudros due heavy casualties from combat, disease and severe weather.
19.12.1915 Moved to Alexandria and took over defence of a section of the Suez Canal.
The First, Second and Third Battles of Gaza, The Battle of Jaffa.
The fight at Ras el'Ain, The operations at Berukin, The battle of Sharon.
31.10.1918 Ended the war in Palestine near Beirut.
1/6th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Ipswich and the moved to Saxmundham.
1914-15 Attached to the 1st Mounted Division
1917 Attached to the 68th Division
1918 Attached to the 227th Brigade.
2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 Formed at Ipswich and then moved to Peterborough as part of the 208th Brigade of the 69th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Cambridge and then Bury St. Edmunds.
Dec 1915 Disbanded.
2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 Formed at Bury St. Edmunds and then moved to Peterborough to join the 208th Brigade of the 69th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Cambridge and then back to Bury St. Edmunds.
July 1916 Moved to Harrogate and then on to Doncaster.
April 1917 Moved to Thoresby Park and then Canterbury and transferred to the 202nd Brigade of the 67th Division.
April 1918 Disbanded
2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Ipswich and then moved to Louth, Lincs.
Early 1915 until the end of the war stationed at various locations between Skegness and Sutton-on-Sea.
3/4th and 3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
April 1915 Formed at Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds and then moved to Windsor Great Park, and then Halton Park, Tring.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th and 5th Reserve Battalions.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the 5th battalion as part of the East Anglian Reserve Brigade.
23.07.1917 Absorbed the 1st Reserve Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Regiment and became the Cambridge and Suffolk Reserve Battalion
Autumn 1917 Moved to Crowborough and then Hastings.
3/6th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
May 1915 Formed at Ipswich.
Mar 1916 Disbanded.
7th (Service) Battalion
20.08.1914 Formed at Bury St. Edmunds as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Shorncliffe to join the 35th Brigade of the 12th Division.
Feb 1915 Moved to Aldershot.
30.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Loos, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Le Transloy.
The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Cambrai operations.
The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras.
19.05.1918 Reduced to training cadre with 11 Officers and 408 men transferred to the 1/1st Cambridge battalion.
24.05.1918 Remaining cadre transferred to the 39th Division.
16.08.1918 Transferred to the 66th Division.
20.09.1918 Moved to defend the lines of communication as part of the 197th Brigade.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Haudricourt south of Aumale.
8th (Service) Battalion
09.09.1914 Formed at Bury St. Edmunds as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Shorncliffe to join the 53rd Brigade of the 18th Division.
Oct 1914 Moved to Colchester.
May 1915 Moved to Codford, Salisbury Plain.
25.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Thiepval Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
Operations on the Ancre, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.
07.02.1918 Disbanded in France and remaining personnel transferred to the 2nd 4th and 7th Battalions.
9th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Bury St. Edmunds as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Shoreham to join the 71st Brigade of the 24th Division.
Oct 1914 Moved to Brighton and then back to Shoreham and then Blackdown.
30.08.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Battle of Loos.
11.10.1915 Transferred to the 71st Brigade of the 6th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
The Battle of Hill 70, The Cambrai operations.
16.02.1918 Disbanded in France at Courcelles-le-Comte.
10th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Felixstowe as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) as part of the 94th Brigade of the 31st Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Bury St. Edmunds.
10.04.1915 Became a 2nd Reserve Battalion of the 6th Reserve Brigade and then moved to Colchester and on to Harwich.
01.09.1916 Became the 26th Training Reserve Battalion.
11th (Service) Battalion (Cambridgeshire)
25.09.1914 Formed at Cambridge by the Isle of Ely Territorial Force Association.
May 1915 Moved to Ripon and joined the 101st Brigade of the 34th Divsion.01.07.1915 Taken over by the War Office and moved to Perham Down and later Warminster.
09.01.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge.
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The fighting at Hargicourt, The Third Battles of Ypres.
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle for Kemmel Ridge.
26.05.1918 Transferred to the 183rd Brigade of the 61st Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Bermerain.
12th (Service) Battalion (East Anglian)
July 1915 Formed at Bury St. Edmunds as a bantam battalion and then moved to Bordon and joined the 121st Brigade of the 40th Division and then moved to Pirbright.
06.06.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of the Ancre.
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie, The Cambrai Operations.
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck.
06.05.1918 Reduced to cadre.
16.06.1918 Transferred to the 14th Division.
17.06.1918 Returned to England and moved to Pirbright to reconstitute with the 16th Battalion and join the 43rd Brigade.
05.07.1918 Returned to France and landed at Boulogne and once again engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Battle of Ypres 1918.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Molembaix north of Tournai.
13th (Reserve) Battalion (Cambridgeshire)
Sept 1915 Formed as a local reserve battalion from the depot company of the 11th Battalion, then moved to Trowbridge.
Feb 1916 Moved to Leamington and then Richmond Park.
01.09.1916 became the 108th Training Reserve Battalion of the 26th Reserve Brigade in Wimbledon.
14th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed from the 64th Provisional Battalion (previously the home service personnel of the Territorial Force) at Weybourne as part of the 223rd Brigade.
July 1915 moved to Sheringham and then Holt.
Nov 1918 Moved to Cley.
15th (Suffolk Yeomanry) Battalion Territorial Force
05.01.1917 Formed in Egypt from the dismounted Suffolk Yeomanry as part of the 230th Brigade of the 74th Division.
The Second and Third Battles of Gaza, the Capture of Beersheba and Sheria Position, The capture of Jerusalem, The Defence of Jerusalem.
The Battle of Tell'Asur.
May 1918 Moved to France and landed at Marseilles and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Second Battles of the Somme, The Battles of the Hindenburg Line, The Final Advance in Artois and Flanders.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Tournai.
1st (Reserve) Garrison Battalion
14.03.1916 Formed at Gravesend and remained at Tilbury until the end of the war.
2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion
05.05.1916 Formed at Harwich.
Early 1917 Moved to Felixstowe and then became the 6th Battalion of the Royal Defence Corps.
Suffolk Regiment during WW2
WW2 Battalions fo the Suffolk Regiment1st Battalion:
September 1939: On the outbreak of war the Battalion was based in Devonport. It was part of 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division.
October 1939: They went to France.
May/June 1940: The Battalion were evacuated from Dunkirk and returned to the UK.
June 1944: The Battalion landed in Normandy (D Day). From then on was engaged in the North Western Europe campaign. 2nd Battalion:
September 1939: On the outbreak of war the Battalion was in India and at Mhow.
November 1939: It moved up North Western Frontier to the Razmak. For three years they were engaged against the tribesmen in the Tochi Valley and in internal security.
October 1943: The Battalion joined 123rd Indian Infantry Brigade and took part in the Burma campaign including the Arakan and Imphal.4th and 5th Battalions:
The Battalions were attached to the 18th East Anglian Division.
15 February 1942: After the fall of Singapore, approximately 620 of the Battalions were taken POW and later mostly died on the Burma-Thailand Railway.7th Battalion:
November 1941: The Battalion was converted to a regiment in the Royal Armoured Corps. It became 142nd Regiment RAC. It served in North Africa and Italy.
1943: It landed at Algiers equipped with Churchill tanks.
April 1943: In action at the Battle of Medjez-el Bab in Tunisia.
1944: It landed at Naples for the Italian campaign.
January 1945: Whilst in Northern Italy it disbanded.6th, 8th, 9th, 30th, 31st and 70th Battalions:
The Battalions were second line battalions none of which went overseas during the war.
Memories of Suffolk Regiment
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
Suffolk Regiment, NICOSIA CYPRUS in 1958
Written by DEREK CHILVERS
PATROLLING THE STREETS AND LANES OF NICOSIA CYPRUS AFTER A SHOOTING OR SOMETHING OF THAT KIND LEADING TO A CURFEW BEING ENFORCED LEAVING EVERYWHERE DARK AND VERY QUIET BROKEN ONLY BY THE SOUND OF YOURS AND THE REST OF THE PATROLS FOOTSTEPS AND ANY SOUND OTHER THAN THAT TICKLING THE HAIRS ON THE BACK OF YOUR NECK UNTIL THE CHALLENGE CAME AND YOU WERE MET BY ANOTHER PATROL DOING THE SAME AS YOU. ALL VERY EERIE BUT THAT WAS ARMY LIFE THEN.
Suffolk Regiment, NICOSIA CYPRUS in 1958
Written by DEREK CHILVERS
ON A MORE HAPPY NOTE THAN MY PREVIOUS MEMORY BRINGS ME TO THOSE WONDERFUL HAM SALAD ROLLS BOUGHT FROM A CYPRIOT MAN WHO OWNED A SMALL KIOSK IN LUNAR PARK WHICH WAS SOMETIMES OUR BASE FOR PATROLLING THE CITY. VERY TASTY AND VERY FILLING IN CONTRAST TO HAVING THIRTY OR MORE OF US OPENING COLD HARD BOILED EGGS WHICH MADE THE ROOM WE LIVED RATHER SMELLY AND TO THIS DAY I STILL DISLIKE BEING ANY WHERE NEAR TO WHERE BOILED AGGS ARE.
Suffolk Regiment CYPRUS in 1958
Written by DEREK CHILVERS