- Mark Forsdike
August has been a hectic month in Regimental matters. With the 75th anniversary of VJ-Day, it’s been quite busy, but following the launch of the book, I decided to start to compile a list of known members of the 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment who served in NW Europe.
After transcribing the known casualty lists from the Regimental Gazettes of men wounded (published 1944-45), I then added known casualty lists from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database. The list at that point reached over 800 names - testament to the high proportion of wounded men suffered by the Battalion in action.
Then, a trawl through my files resulted in another few hundred names to be added, before a final check in the Regimental Magazines back to 1965, listed a few more. There were of course, those that I knew who had served, but who never joined the Old Comrades Association, nor subscribed to the Regimental Newsletter, these were the ‘invisible my ones. Many more were referenced in the personal accounts I used in the book and in the few newspaper articles written at the time, so that now a great piece of detective work has just begun, to start to piece it all together and try to get service numbers for as many as possible.
The list, which includes nicknames as well, contains at present, 1128 individual soliders known to have served in the Battalion between D-Day and VE-Day.
Common names with several men are of course ‘Smith’ and ‘Jones’ but ‘Davies’ and ‘Thompson’ come close behind (Mick Thompson and his brother both serving in the Battalion at the same time - one being a Pioneer and Battalion Boxer). There also the issue of just having a nickname to go by and trying to work out who they were and whether they’ve been duplicated elsewhere in the list. “Shagger” NuBn and “Dusty” Miller crop up a couple
of times and these may be the same men.
There are also interesting little snippets to be gained from letters to the Regimental Gazette that need recording as well. The cutting above from Harry Glibbery notes that he was wounded in the same mortar ‘stonk’ as Captain Archdall and CSM Broom at the Chateau de la Londe on 28th June 1944. All these will go on the list.
Now comes the challenge of trying to find photographs for as many of them as possible...