Fred, my grandfather, spent the First World War in the Army Cyclist Corps but, in truth, he was – at heart – a ‘Suffolk’. Before getting on his bike he spent nearly eight years as a regular soldier in the First Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment, preceded by a short spell in the 4th (Militia) Battalion. So you will understand why the Suffolk Regiment – especially 1/Suffolk – is of particular interest to me.
Suffolks in Salonika
It really is very convenient that 1/Suffolk were part of the BSF (28th Division, XVI Corps) as it means I can easily keep an eye on them, although I have yet to do the detailed research I have always promised myself. It was a pleasure, then, to hear from Carol Henwood of the Suffolk Record Office who is remembering the Battalion and its role in Macedonia and has researched some of those who still lie in northern Greece:
I must confess to having had this link for a while but today – Minden Day – seems an ideal occasion to share it. 1/Suffolk is descended from the 12th Foot – hence their nickname, ‘The Old Dozen’ – who played a distinguished part in the Battle of Minden in Germany in 1759, during the Seven Years War. This was celebrated ever after by the wearing of red and yellow roses in their headresses and on their colours and drums on 1st August, which became their regimental day.
It would be churlish not to mention the other five British regiments who share the battle honour and the custom of wearing roses (although RWF seem not to to) and the fact that all but the KOSB were represented in the British Salonika Force:
- Lancashire Fusiliers (20th Foot)
- Royal Welsh Fusiliers (23rd Foot)
- King’s Own Scottish Borderers (25th Foot)
- Hampshire Regiment (37th Foot)
- King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (51st)
It would be interesting to know how Minden Day was celebrated in Macedonia, if indeed it was. I find it hard to believe, though, that the two regular battalions of Minden regiments at least – 1/Suffolk and 1/KOYLI, both in 28th Division – would have let the day go unmarked. If you know, please get in touch.
Happy Minden Day!