No.41039, Private, Bertie PRENTICE
Aged 20

12th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly No.4612, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 22nd March 1918

Bertie Prentice was born in Shudy Camps (Linton Q2-1897 3B:492), baptised in Shudy Camps on 24th June 1897, son of Louisa PRENTICE.
His mother married William Rowlinson from Withersfield, in Shudy Camps, on 26th December 1898. It can be Rowlinson or Rawlinson

1901 census...None of them yet identified in this census.

1911 census...Aged 13, Berty Rawlinson was at Hill House, Castle Camps with his stepfather William RAWLINSON [42] born Withersfield, mother Louisa [44], sister Alice [10] and sister Beartha [9] born Castle Camps

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds, reverting to his legal surname of PRENTICE.

The war diary simply says continually in action from 21st to 25th March. Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment expands on this.
They were between St Leger and the Mory-Ecoust road, not even dug in. On the 2nd day of the Kaiserschlacht, the German Spring Offensive, the enemy were in great strength in front of the Brigade, pouring in on the left of the battalion with heavy fighting going on in the left rear. Lt Col Eardley-Wilmot and the artillery liaison officer went out at 6 am on reconnaissance and were soon riddled with bullets. The battalion suffered from hostile machine gun fire and their own artillery. The Germans made three attacks in the afternoon, all being repulsed with heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy. At 5:30 pm the unit on the right was forced back and the battalion together with HQ orderlies, the reserve platoon and some Lewis guns formed a defensive flank but to no avail and they were ordered to fall back. The order arrived too late and practically all of the three companies were either captured or killed. A position was improvised from the Army line in front of MORY COPSE to the sunken road to the rear of it. They soon had to retire behind the sunken road, occupying a trench at right angles to it. the occupiers facing both ways.

Such was the confusion at the time that dates of death are somewhat meaningless but CWGC have 8 killed on 22nd, 9 on the 24th and 20 on the 25th. The battalion was withdrawn on the 26th

photo: Rodney Gibson

Bertie Prentice is buried in Bac-du-Sud British Cemetery, Bailleuval, grave 1:A:16

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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