The Suffolk Regiment Museum, in Bury St Edmunds, launched a special Great War Centenary display on Wednesday.
It is staging a five-year-long, changing exhibit telling the story of the Regiment’s actions during the First World War.
A figure, dressed accurately in the uniform of the particular Battalion involved in each battle will accompany a panel which sets out the background and detail of the unit and the battle.
The first figure represents a Reservist called back to the Regiment on August, 5 1914. He is wearing a brand new uniform and equipment which would have been issued 100 years earlier in the very building which houses the display.
Taff Gillingham said: The Reservists were men who had served with the Regiment and then spent several years on the Army Reserve. When war broke out they were all recalled to their former regiments.
“The Suffolk Regiment Reservists were sent to the 2nd Battalion which was stationed near Dublin as it prepared for war. All had been recalled, equipped, armed and arrived at Curragh Camp, Dublin, within 48 hours of war being declared.
Within three weeks 2nd Suffolk were heavily involved in the Battle of Le Cateau (August, 26, 1914). After a nine hour battle the Battalion was overrun, with the majority killed or wounded and captured. A small minority were able to get away to reform and fight another day.
“It is a remarkable story which deserves to be told.”
The Suffolk Regiment Museum is the very last survivor of its kind - a proper ‘old style’ regimental museum containing thousands of fascinating artefacts. Based in Newmarket Road, it is open on the first and third Wednesday each month, and on the first Sunday.
Future figures will include:
1/4th (Territorial Force) Battalion at Neuve Chapelle (March, 1915)
1/5th (Territorial Force) Battalion at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli (August, 1915)
7th (Service) Battalion, Loos (October, 1915)
1st Battalion, Salonika (February, 1916)
11th (Service) Battalion, First Day on the Somme (July, 1916)
9th (Service) Battalion, nearing the end of the Somme Campaign (September, 1916)
2nd Battalion, Arras (April, 1917)
8th (Service) Battalion, Passchendaele (July, 1917)
12th (Service) Battalion, Cambrai (November, 1917)
2nd Battalion, Wancourt (March, 1918)
15th (Yeomanry) Battalion, Battle of the 100 Days (September, 1918)
1/4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, Army of Occupation, Rhineland (June, 1919)