- Mark Forsdike
Another Step Forward
The quest to try and find as many photographs of men of 1 Suffolk who served in north west Europe, took a step forward today when I received from a friend, the photograph below of Private Hammond, which he’d located online.
Russell Hammond came from Lowestoft and was called up in 1940 for active service. He received one of the last ‘regimental’ service numbers (5836892) before they changed to new eight-digit ‘general service’ numbers early the following year.
He landed on D-Day and served through the battle at the Chateau de la Londe before he was wounded by mortar fire at Tinchebray on 13 August 1944, and was evacuated home to Britain to recuperate.
In this photograph he wears the newly introduced ‘Minden Flash’ - a regimental flash of red and yellow cloth, but with the ‘arm of service’ strip worn high up on the sleeve. These strips were introduced in early 1941 to show from which branch of the services, the soldier belonged (red indicated infantry, red and blue indicated artillery and engineers, blue and white signals etc.) and in the case of 1 Suffolk, the were worn first high up on the sleeve almost at the base of the epaulette, but with the introduction of cloth shoulder titles a few months later, these were moved down to just above the regimental flash.
So, this photo is a good snapshot in time of a soldier of the Battalion from early 1941 and if I was a betting man, I’d say that the photograph was taken in Weymouth (as it was there that they were issued with the triangle patches of the 3rd Division, which he has yet to be issued and cannot be seen here).
Hammond was a member of the Lowestoft Branch of the Suffolk Regiment Old Comrades Association and attended many of its functions, and I believe he went to Normandy in 1994 as part of the fiftieth anniversary tour when they visited Tinchebrai in the hope of getting a memorial erected there, but sadly this never came to fruition.