An exhibition charting the part residents of Hintlesham and Chattisham played in The Great War is displayed in St Nicholas Church, Hintlesham. Put together by Gerald Main, Jenny Cox and Audrey Lorford, it follows the time-line of the war, changing every month or so to mark different events and points in the four years this country was at war. If you have any objects, articles or memories you woulHd like to contribute to the exhibition, please do get in touch.
A copy of Gerald's introduction is also on the war memorial website Gerald has created which, amongst other things, tell the stories behind the names of those on our village memorial; to read more, or if you have anything to contribute to the website, please go to: War memorial
Hintlesham & Chattisham's Summer of the Somme 1916
The 1st July 1916 was the worst day in the history of the British Army. The series of attacks on that long bloody Saturday on the Somme cost the lives of 20,000 British soldiers with a further 40,000 wounded. The battle lasted 4 months before becoming literally stuck in the mud in November. By the "close of play" the British had suffered 420,000 casualties, the French 190,000 and the Germans 620,000.
Hintlesham's first fatality on the Somme was Pte. Horace Grant who died, aged 30, on 13th July 1916. He had married Ellen on Christmas Day 1912 in Hintlesham Church. She was left a widow with two children, Horace and Alice, who were under 3 years old. (Alice later became a victim of war when she was killed in an air raid on Elmsett in 1941).
Next was Pte. James Vince who had lived on Duke Street and died of his wounds on 8th August 1916 aged 28. He served with the 4th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment.
Ten days later, on 18th August 1916, Pte. Albert Game was killed in action fighting with the 4th Battalion. Albert was the son of a watchmaker and lived on George Street.
Hintlesham's fourth casualty of the Somme was Pte. Thomas Gant. He was just 19 years old when killed on 29th September 1916 and has no known grave. Thomas is therefore listed on the Thiepval Memorial which towers above the Somme ... along with 72,000 other names who shared his fate. Thomas' older brother, Jack, also died in the war serving with the Australian infantry.
The final local victim of the Somme was Pte. Percy Ellis, aged 21, who had lived on Back Road in the village. He was a farm labourer before enlisting in Ipswich. He was killed in action on 3rd November 1916 as the Battle of the Somme was drawing to a close.
It is much easier to trace the records of those killed on the Somme than those who fought and survived the summer of 1916. The truth is many more men survived the Great War than were killed, but their footprint in history is fading fast. One can only imagine what horrors those men returning to Suffolk had experienced and the painful memories they couldn't erase. Sadly, so many of them couldn't, or wouldn't, talk of their experiences. They too were victims of the Somme and deserving of our gratitude and recognition.
We shall remember them ... all of them.