26th AUGUST 1914

The 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment was part of 14th Brigade, 5th Division and based in the Curragh, Ireland, on the outbreak of war. It sailed from Dublin for Le Havre, and on arrival in France numbered 28 officers and 971 Other Ranks. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel C.A.H.Brett DSO, it moved up to take part in the Battle of Mons, where it had two companies in the line along the Mons-Conde canal. It the began the Retreat From Mons, reaching the Le Cateau by the 25th August. After bivouacking at the cross-roads west of Le Cateau, it moved to the high ground nearby on the 26th and came under repeated attacks, from infantry, shell fire and machine gun fire. During one bombardment Lieutenant Colonel Brett was mortally wounded. The Germans massed for a final attack at 2.30pm, and called upon the Suffolks to surrender. Attacks came from the front and right flanks, but the battalion was only finally overrun when the Germans worked their way round to the rear of the Suffolks positions. The survivors got away to Bohain, and mustered for a roll call in St Quentin which only showed 2 Officers and 111 Other Ranks left. The majority of the losses were men who were wounded and taken prisoner; it is estimated that more than 500 men from the battalion became prisoners of war in this action.

The Memorial was placed on the battlefield in the 1920s and is maintained by the CWGC on behalf of the Regiment. It is located where the last stand took place on 26th August 1914 and lists all the battalions fatal casualties, and those of other units attached to it for this battle.


ŠPaul Reed 2004

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